Agenda item



Report FSD23023


The Committee considered a report providing the budget monitoring position for 2022/23 for the Adult Care and Health Portfolio, based on activity up to the end of December 2022.


The Head of Finance for Adults, Health and Housing advised that an underspend of £57k on the controllable budget was currently projected, which was similar to the figure projected in the last quarter. Key variations were highlighted in Appendix 1B of the report and provided explanatory notes on the movements in each service. Within Assessment and Care Management there had been gross overspend of £174k. This was mainly due to overspends on care packages; there had not been any significant increase in client numbers, so this was mainly related to increased costs, particularly the provision of 1-2-1 support following hospital discharges. Placements that were above the Council’s guide rates were another factor that had contributed towards the overspend.


The Head of Finance for Adults, Health and Housing highlighted that, although there had been some significant increases in the spend on care packages, additional funding, specifically for hospital discharges, had been received from the government which had helped to offset this. It was noted that, arising from this, there were potential pressures going into the new financial year, but there were plans to further improve the hospital discharge process and reduce these costs. A Member asked if information on mitigations going into the new financial year could be provided. The Head of Finance for Adults, Health and Housing said that work had been undertaken to look at the single point of access (SPA), and processes were in place to reduce the amount of time spent carrying out Care Act and financial assessments post-discharge. It was suggested that further information could be provided in a future budget monitoring report.


A Member commented that a projected underspend of £57k on the controllable budget was highly commendable. It was noted that the Portfolio had benefitted from funding (£2,314k) from central government, which had helped but, with the additional pressure faced, it was considered that all those involved with achieving this position should be congratulated.


In response to questions regarding the Shared Lives project, the Director of Adult Social Care advised that there had been a number of issues related to staffing within the service. However, there were a number of new placements available, and work was being undertaken to look at how these should be prioritised. Assurance was given that, for every package that went through the funding panel, the opportunity for the Shared Lives project was considered. They were also considering extending the use of the Shared Lives project for people placed outside of the borough. It was recognised that the Shared Lives project was a very good scheme, and it was hoped that it would gather pace with a new manager, and team, in place and new families looking to enter the scheme. Members were advised that further support was also being received from the national programme, Shared Lives Plus.


A Member noted the reference made in the report regarding the Integrated Commissioning Service having a projected underspend of £24k, which was partly due to staffing vacancies. Reassurance was sought in terms of the estimated time for appointing staff to these posts. The Director of Adult Social Care advised that one of the vacancies being carried was due to a member of staff taking on a new role to lead the work around adult social care reforms. The Assistant Director for Integrated Commissioning noted that the issued had been related to the turnover of staff – some had left their posts and there also been some parental leave. Vacancies were never open for more than a month or so, and they looked to fill posts as quickly as they could.


The Chairman congratulated the Head of Finance for Adults, Health and Housing on his recent appointment to Head of Corporate Finance and Accounting – thanks were extended on behalf of the Committee for all of the work he had undertaken.


RESOLVED that the Portfolio Holder be recommended to:


i.)  Note the projected net underspend of £57k on controllable expenditure based on information as at December 2022; and,


ii.)  Recommend that Executive agree the release of funds from the Central Contingency as set out in section 3.6 of the report.

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