Vale of Glamorgan Council Faces Financial Pressure as Key Services Struggle
A first look at Vale of Glamorgan Council’s financial position going into this financial year shows that some of the local authority’s key services are under significant pressure.
Vale of Glamorgan Council scrutiny committees were busy this week discussing reports which show the council’s current position in the first quarter of the financial year and what position it could be in when the local authority comes to setting its budget next year.
A report on the council’s financial strategy for 2024/25 shows that its funding gap for next year could be £6.4m and council tax could increase by 3.9%.
When the council set its budget this year, it said that it would have to bridge a funding gap of £9.7m and council tax went up by 4.9%.
A report presented to the council’s healthy living and social care scrutiny committee on Tuesday, September 12, also shows that there is an increase in demand in respect of children’s and adults social care and significant increases in the cost of placements and care packages.
The report, which focuses on the revenue monitoring position for the first quarter of the financial year, adds that support for additional learning needs continues to be an area of significant pressure.
It adds that there was a net overspend of £1m for social services between April and June this year.
The council’s operational manager for accountancy at Vale of Glamorgan Council, Gemma Jones, said this was after a significant draw down from reserves.
Projected overspend for social services in this period was £4m, but £3m is expected to be offset by a use of reserves and £1m from underspend.
Ms Jones said: “That is off the back of significant spend around domiciliary care, nursing and residential placements, but also an overspend in residential homes.”
Ms Jones did add that the council was on track to achieve the planned savings in year for social services, but that this would need to be reviewed in the autumn.
Ms Jones said: “We have a significant pressure in respect of placements for children’s care and legal costs which we have seen in previous years and also a pressure in respect of staffing costs and residential homes.
“We are seeing some offsetting of that through reductions in costs, staff vacancies and some grant income, but given some of the overspends that are being reported across the public sector in Wales I think in the past our out-turn has been masked to a certain extent by additional grants and I am not sure we will grant in that same way in this financial year.”
The reports on the council’s financial strategy for 2024/25 and the first quarter of the financial year will be brought before cabinet members at a meeting on Thursday, September 21.
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