HSPC con­tin­ued over­spend crit­i­cised

Campbeltown Courier - - NEWS - Sandy Neil ed­i­tor@camp­bel­town­courier.co.uk

A coun­cil­lor has com­pared the fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion at Ar­gyll and Bute’s health and so­cial care part­ner­ship to ‘a child run­ning away with a credit card’. Gary Mul­vaney’s scathing crit­i­cism came as a key Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil com­mit­tee con­sid­ered a re­port pre­dict­ing a £2.8 mil­lion over­spend in the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s bud­get – £2.4m of which is fore­cast to come from so­cial work ser­vices. The coun­cil’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Kirsty Flana­gan told the au­thor­ity’s pol­icy and re­sources com­mit­tee the to­tal pro­jected over­spend has now been re­duced to £2.4m. But Coun­cil­lor Mul­vaney, who is vice-chair­man of the com­mit­tee and sits on the HSCP’s in­te­gra­tion joint board, warned of tough fi­nan­cial times ahead. He said: ‘I think the pa­per is in line with a com­ment at the last meet­ing whereby a child has run off with a credit card. We have got to be fo­cused on the over­spend, of which £2.4m is down to the HSCP be­ing the child run­ning off with the card. ‘It is a stark re­al­ity check for the coun­cil – how­ever well we man­age our re­sources. Dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions have to be taken in terms of ser­vice choices and bud­get chal­lenges. We have to work to see how we can rem­edy that po­si­tion. ‘When a re­port comes back to us in Oc­to­ber, we should be ask­ing that our of­fi­cer has dis­cus­sions with the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of the part­ner­ship on how the over­spend will be man­aged.’ Coun­cil­lor Robin Cur­rie said at the meet­ing: ‘If the health and so­cial care part­ner­ship was a child, we would have some sym­pa­thy and give them a hand, but the harsh re­al­ity is it is a grown-up.’ An­other part of the pro­jected over­spend was £350,000 of ex­tra fund­ing to­wards ad­di­tional sup­port needs for school pupils. A spokesman for the HSCP said: ‘The HSCP con­tin­ues to face in­creas­ing de­mand and cost pres­sures across both health and so­cial care and we are work­ing hard to­wards achiev­ing a bal­anced bud­get through our qual­ity and fi­nance plan which has iden­ti­fied sav­ings of £10.6m against an ex­ist­ing bud­get gap of £12.2m. ‘We are also un­der­tak­ing a fo­cused re­view of bud­gets to iden­tify fur­ther sav­ings to ad­dress the re­main­ing £1.6m. ‘At the same time, even with these fi­nan­cial pres­sures, we are con­tin­u­ing to meet our com­mit­ment of en­sur­ing the de­liv­ery of high qual­ity, safe and sus­tain­able health and so­cial care ser­vices for the peo­ple of Ar­gyll and Bute.’

Coun­cil­lor Gary Mul­vaney is scathing about the HSPC.

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