Issue - meetings

BUDGET MONITORING 2021/22

Meeting: 14/09/2021 - Children, Education and Families PDS Committee (Item 20)

20 BUDGET MONITORING 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 324 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report CEF21026

 

The report provided the budget monitoring position for 2021/22 based on activity up to the end of May 2021.

 

In response to a question regarding the overspend in SEN Transport, the Director of Education confirmed that as part of the Gateway process a range of options were explored including a commissioned service. The outcome of the Gateway process was that a framework contract was deemed to be the best option and subsequently agreed by Members.  Members noticed that authorities across London, indeed nationally, were experiencing the same pressures with SEN Transport.

 

The Committee noted that there would be continuous review of the ongoing budget pressures.  Use of grants would be reviewed and there would need to be ongoing flexibility.  The use of grants would be agreed as part of the Executive budget setting process.  It was acknowledged that it would be difficult to address the budget gap in the future and this would need to be reviewed as part of the Council’s medium term financial strategy.  As part of the Covid recovery process a prudent approach to financial management would need to be taken and emerging gaps would need to be addressed through the Council’s programme of service transformation and through greater efficiencies.

 

Members noted that additional resources from Covid grants had been directed towards early intervention for mental health services.  In order to respond to increasing demand, early intervention services had pivoted, and shortened assessments had been undertaken in order to ensure that contact was made with families.

 

In response to a question, the Director of Education reported that there were three Education Psychologist vacancies filled by locums, although this did fluctuate.  The Department would be bringing forward proposals to secure more Education Psychologist posts although it was important to note that there was a national shortage of this area of expertise and this presented further challenges.

 

Recognising that the report covered the period up to May 2021, Members noted that there were currently no early indications of anything to suggest a major difference in the position due to be reported in the September monitoring.  There may be some changes in response to the work that had undertaken in respect of SEN Transport.  The budget for the Children, Education and Families Portfolio would continue to be volatile.  The Director of Children’s Services reiterated that there were a number of children awaiting decisions from the Courts.  It was anticipated that these decisions would lead to better outcomes for the children whilst also easing the pressure on the budget.

 

RESOLVED: That the Portfolio Holder be recommended to note that the latest projected overspend of £1,706,000 is forecast on the controllable budget, based on information as at May 2021.


 

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