Mid-year financial report

Article dated Monday Oct 30, 2017 at 02:49 PM

This financial year’s projected budget overspend by Bradford Council is now £3.8 million, down from £10.5m earlier this year. The improved position is reported by Council finance chiefs in the Mid-Year Finance and Performance Statement to the Council’s Executive.

Although many indicators show that the Local Authority is performing well in delivering the required outcomes outlined in the Council Plan, leaders remain concerned by the funding of adult and children’s social care against a background of Government budget reductions and rising demand.

Despite financial pressures there are many areas where the Council is making significant improvements. The proportion of adults with mental health disabilities in paid employment has increased, delayed transfers of people from hospital to social care has gone down.

Councils across England will have dealt with £16 billion of government cuts to their grant funding by the end of this decade, according to the Local Government Association (LGA). The LGA says local services across the country face a funding gap of at least £5.8 billion by 2019/20, with an immediate £1.3 billion pressure to stabilise the adult social care provider market.

In this context of government cuts and rising demand for services, Bradford Council has repeatedly asked government to deliver a national plan to fund social care fairly and sustainably.

At 89 per cent, Bradford Council is one of the best performers in the region in the number of adults with a learning disability living independent lives, as is the number of people with mental health disabilities living independently at 69 per cent.

Bradford Council also reached a figure of 99.9 per cent of Child Protection reviews on time and the target of 87 per cent of care leavers aged 16 to 18 in employment, education or training was exceeded at 93 per cent.

The report says: “Despite the positive direction of travel, the Council is still forecast to overspend overall with significant overspends in Health and Wellbeing (£5.4 million) and Children’s Services (£4.4 million).

“Current performance information identifies that performance in many key areas is improving and remains on target, although there continues to be areas where the district faces significant challenges.”

Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council Leader said: “It has been a huge effort since the last quarter’s figures to reduce this projected overspend down to a more manageable number. Whilst I’m pleased with the results of these efforts, clearly we still have much work to do. Unlike national Government, local Government is not allowed to go into deficit.

“However, the main concern for everyone is the increasing demand for adult and children’s social care resources at the time of drastic Government grant reductions, with the grant disappearing totally by 2020.

“We will continue to press the Government to come up with a sustainable funding solution. It’s not right that council taxpayers are being left to wholly fund elderly care. This is an issue which affects all Councils across the country. We are forced to cut other services that people use just so that we can sustain adult and children’s social care. It’s unjust”.  

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