Councillors to consider remedial action for Social Work overspend (03/08/09)

A report will be discussed at The Highland Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee on Wednesday 5 August which projects a £3.437 million overspend following the first three months of the financial year 2009/10.

The report suggests an extremely serious financial outlook for the Service budget which despite pressures came under budget by £70,000 in financial year 2008/09.

Members will hear that in the first quarter of the 2009/10 budget pressures relate in the main to:
• managing delayed discharge and maintaining zero targets while stifling managers' attempts to reduce number of admissions;
• double the running costs in learning disability and the need for strategic change to maintain traditional services at the same time as meeting requests for more individualised packages;
• slower progress than anticipated being made in the modernisation of home care and staff slippage in children’s services;
• the increased acute need and demand on the service, specifically across all community care groups which is being driven by demographic changes; and
• increased and higher public expectations of public sector service  delivery and provision.

The report outlines management actions being taken to address the financial situation including: cessation all non essential expenditure and compilation of a budget recovery plan.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chair of The Highland Council’s Housing and social Work Committee said: “Our projections show us significant increase in demand across services for older people, learning disability, mental health services and people with physical disabilities. We have picked these trends up early in the year and I will be asking the Director and her managers to bring back a robust action plan for recovering the budget.”

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