Community Services Overview / Scrutiny

Committee Minutes

Thu Jan 18 2007

Related Documents:
agenda for these minutes

Present

Councillors Mrs Channon (Chairman), Bray, Button, Croad, Date, Haywood, Lee, Newcombe, Pennington, Mrs Spence, Mrs Turner and Mrs Wragg

Apologies for Absence

Mrs Day, Dr Eade and Councillor Mrs Fry

*77 Children and Young People s Services Directorate

Adult Services Directorate: Draft Budgets 2007/08

The Committee considered the joint reports of the Director of Finance IT and Trading; the Director of Children s and Young People s Services (FI/07/3 - pdf FI/07/3) and Director of Finance IT and Trading; and Director of Adult and Community Services (FI/07/4 - pdf FI/07/4) on budget proposals to meet Executive targets set for Revenue Budgets for each Directorate for 2007/08.

The targets incorporated financial commitments, for example, arising from inflation and any transfers of funding between Directorates and central and local government. They also incorporated reductions in planned spending across all directorates. The Executive was asking Directorates to consider if they could find further efficiency savings. There were still uncertainties to be resolved over the next few weeks before consideration could be given to the level of Council Tax to be set by the Council.

Members noted that the Medium Term financial strategy targets for the financial years 2008/09 and 2009/10 for each Directorate would be considered the Executive at its budget meeting on 6 February 2007.

The Committee considered detailed draft budget booklets for the Children s and Young People s Services and Adult and Community Services and also received short presentations on the draft Revenue Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy for each Directorate.

(a) Children s and Young People s Services

(Councillor Mrs Spence declared a personal interest in view of her involvement with the Ellen Tinkham School as an LA appointed Governor)

(Councillor Bray declared a personal interest in view of his spouse s involvement with the private foster care sector and as an education visitor)

The Committee considered the major changes contained within the draft Revenue Budget for 2007/08. Total commitments and Medium Term Plan Priorities and other changes including provision for inflation and reductions to meet the target set by the Executive amounted to 90.697m.

Members' discussions with the Assistant Director (Policy and Strategy), Head of Resources Strategies and Principal Finance Manager included:

the phased changes with the establishment of the new Children and Young People s Directorate in 2006 and associated consolidation of budgets combined with efficiency savings

work involving disinvestment and reinvestment into priority areas which was difficult and complex

the implications of the JAR in terms of both work load during reorganisation and financial in meeting the resulting recommendations, the Executive had recently agreed to support the recommendations with additional funding of approximately 1m

joint work with statutory and other duty to co-operate partners under the Education and Inspection Act 2006 involving joint commissioning arrangements where Devon was recognised as a national leader

the 1.5% efficiency savings incorporated within the budget proposals

the demand led spending pressures particularly within the independent school fees and other local authority placement budgets

work to enhance internal County Council provision for children with statements and special educational needs

priority work and funding in respect of Looked After Children

the Dedicated Schools Grant of 335.339m, with 327m for individual school and the remainder centrally held where there were particular budgetary spending pressures which would need to be carefully managed. Unlike the Schools element any overspends could not be carried forward

with falling rolls there was a 5.7% increase for schools

with the JE implications for Schools there was an overall 3m deficit which would need to managed by the Schools over a number of years

additional funding for new eligibility criteria for children s services arising from the JAR necessitating additional social workers

new arrangements involving the Children s Trust with funding from the Council and other partners

the difficulties and inherent risks in achieving the targets in respect of all non Direct School funded budgets.

Councillor Mrs Channon MOVED, seconded by Councillor Bray and

RESOLVED

(i) that the draft budget proposals for 2007/08 as detailed in the reports to be submitted to the Executive be noted;

(ii) that additional information be made available to this Committee in respect of the following: Transport (within the Stay Safe element); Healthy Eating in Schools (subsidy for primary schools); reasons for the decrease in the Behaviour Support Services (1.3.2 (page 14); and explanation of Direct Payments within the Stay Safe element;

(iii) that further presentational changes be considered to show clearly the impact of staff transfers between directorates and clearer explanation of Direct Payments ; and clearer delineation of individual budget lines.

(b) Briefing Paper by the Director of Adult and Community Services: Adult and Community Services Directorate: Draft Revenue Budget 2007/08

(Councillor Mrs Spence declared a Personal interest in so far as this item related to care services by virtue of relatives in receipt of such services)

(Councillor Mrs Channon declared a personal interest in so far as this item related to the LSC of which she is a regional member)

The Committee considered the major changes contained within the draft Revenue Budget for 2007/08. Total commitments and Medium Term Plan Priorities and other changes included in the 2007/08 draft budget amounted to 146.374m in accordance with the target set by the Executive.

Members' discussions with the Assistant Director and the Principal Finance Manager included:

The challenges and themes within the budget which covered modernisation proposals to meet national and local requirements and manage demographic trends, notably persistent increases in demand led services for older people and adults with learning disabilities

the modernisation programme with the County Council acting as commissioner of services, including emphasis on community care and away from more institutional settings where appropriate; and related work with statutory and independent partners

the inflationary pressures on social care costs over and above the inflation index used by government; these inflationary costs and other factors such as demographic trends had been conveyed to government via the CNN, Local Government Association and via special delegations from the County Council to Ministers

the need to promote Adult and Community Learning for the mental and physical well being of Older People and noting there has been a transfer of resources to accredited level 1 and 2 courses to improve basic skill levels of younger adults and away from the more recreational courses which were also valued, as implemented via LSC funding for local authorities (and other bodies) in accordance with government policy

the excellent increase in the number of clients using the Direct Payment system for purchase of services improving their independence and choice

the need for a clearer explanation within the budget proposals that resource services for older people and adults with disabilities was increasing.

Councillor Mrs Channon MOVED, seconded by Councillor Bray and

RESOLVED

(i) that the draft budget proposals for 2007/08 as detailed in the reports to be submitted to the Executive be noted;

(ii) that the Adult and Community Services Directorate be commended for the encouraging take up of the Direct Payments system which is expected to be within the top 10 of all local authorities;

(iii) that the Executive be asked to consider initiatives with the voluntary sector to encourage older people about to retire to enter voluntary service, for their physical and mental well being;

(iv) that the Executive be asked to consider how the County Council can improve Adult and Community Learning provision for Older People, within existing resources, and with the assistance of voluntary and independent providers;

(v) that the Executive be asked to encourage continued dialogue with the public to highlight the issues relating to the differential inflationary rates and demographic and demand led pressures within the care services and accordingly urge central government (with the assistance of the LGA and CCN) to ensure improved resourcing for these services for vulnerable older people and younger adults in need of support.

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*DENOTES DELEGATED MATTER WITH POWER TO ACT

The meeting started at 10 am and finished at 1.30 p.m.

The Minutes of the Committee are published on the County Council s Website at: :

Date Published: Fri Feb 16 2007