Issue - meetings

Budget monitoring

Meeting: 14/03/2023 - Children, Education and Families Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee (Item 67)

67 Budget Monitoring 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 337 KB

Additional documents:


Report CEF23013


The report presented the budget monitoring position for the 2022/23 financial year which showed an overspend of £8,933k based on activity to 31 December 2022.


A Member expressed concern regarding the overspend.  The Head of Children, Education and Families Finance advised that since the 2022/23 budget had been agreed there had been significant increases in service delivery costs and demand for services, particularly at the higher end of need.  Another Member suggested that an increased proportion of permanent staff would help contain costs and requested a comparison of permanent pay against Agency rates be provided.  In responding to a question on the increasing deficit within the Dedicated Schools Grant, the Head of Children, Education and Families Finance explained that this was a national issue caused by growing pressures within the High Needs Funding Block.  The Local Authority had developed a robust Deficit Recovery Management Plan in consultation with the Department for Education to help contain and ultimately recover the deficit and was continuing to work to identify best practice in this area.  As an interim measure the Government had put a Financial Disregard in place which meant that such deficits did not have to be counted within the reserves of local authorities.


In response to a question, the Head of Children, Education and Families Finance confirmed that recharges were made to Adult Social Care to cover costs related to young people who had transitioned to adult services.  On a related note, the Integrated Commissioning Board was approached to fund the health needs of children and young people, including the medical element of any individual care packages.  A Member queried references within the budget report to the under collection of income and the Head of Children, Education and Families Finance clarified that this related to sold services where it had not been possible to achieve the anticipated income due to staff shortages or a change in demand or behaviour post-COVID.  This included Adult Education where the number of learners had not yet recovered to pre-COVID levels.  A Member asked a question around the increase in demand for services supporting children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs during the COVID-period.  The Director of Children, Education and Families advised that whilst there was still significant demand for such services, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services had reported a recent reduction in the number of children and young people presenting with acute need.


RESOLVED: That the Portfolio Holder be recommended to:


1)  Note the latest projected overspend of £8,933,000 forecast on the controllable budget based on information as at December 2022; and,


2)  Recommend the Council’s Executive agree the release of funds from the Central Contingency and from the Reserves as set out in Section 5 of Report CEF23013.