Coun­cil ser­vices set to over­spend

‘Un­ex­pected’ de­mands on de­part­ments

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jo-Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­

OVER­SPEND­ING by mil­lions of pounds is ex­pected in two de­part­ments ded­i­cated to car­ing for the el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble in Bucks.

Chil­dren’s ser­vices, which was deemed ‘in­ad­e­quate’ by Of­sted last year, has an over­spend of £1.3m, which will re­duce to £1.1m af­ter an ac­tion plan is put in place, ac­cord­ing to a county re­port.

Chil­dren’s ser­vices is not the only depart­ment strug­gling to make its bud­get, as health and well­be­ing warned of a £1m short­fall – a £300,000 in­crease of what was ex­pected.

How­ever, the lat­ter has said it ex­pected to be able to meet the cost, by us­ing re­serves if needed.

Cabi­net mem­ber Pa­tri­cia Birch­ley said there is an in­creas­ing de­mand for care, which is ex­pected to reach its peak in 2017.

The over­spend was due in part to in­creas­ing pres­sure in ser­vices, she added, but also Stoke Man­dev­ille Hos­pi­tal go­ing on ‘black alert’ on De­cem­ber 17.

This meant the hos­pi­tal was 101 beds short and an emer­gency team had to be brought in.

“I thought they coped very well,” she said.

“That team worked over Christ­mas, long hours to help.

“While we are plan­ning ahead, of course there are cases like this that we can­not an­tic­i­pate.”

Sim­i­larly, the over­spend for chil­dren’s ser­vices was put down to ‘un­ex­pected’ de­mands, such as asy­lum seek­ers and fam­i­lies mov­ing to the area that need the county’s help.

Cabi­net mem­ber Lin Hazel said: “It’s th­ese un­forseen cases, where peo­ple move to the area, that we can’t plan for. The planned changes we are get­ting on top of, but you can’t plan for ev­ery­thing.”

The re­port to cabi­net also warns there are ‘limited op­tions’ and re­cruit­ing per­ma­nent staff could im­prove the sit­u­a­tion but may be ‘dif­fi­cult to achieve’.

Ms Hazel added: “The other cost to us is the high amount of agency staff we have, we need to make it more at­trac­tive to work in Bucks and to have more per­ma­nent staff.

“I think it’s an ex­cit­ing time for so­cial work­ers if they re­ally want to make a dif­fer­ence. Bucks is a great place to work and they can be part of that.”

Both cases are be­ing mon­i­tored by the county coun­cil.

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