Concerns over a £2.9m overspend


FINANCE chiefs say Doncaster Council’s current position is not “affordable or sustainable” after a report forecasts a £2.9 million overspend.

The report published this week predicts the huge overspend on the authority’s projected budget for this year - with the biggest overspend in children and young people services.

Major concerns are raised about the department’s “management of financial resources” with fears that the position could worsen further as the year progresses - and eventually impact on other council services.

A net overspend of £3.9 million was reported within CYPS after a 11 per cent increase in the number of children taken into care in the first quarter of this year.

In the Finance and Performance Improvement report, finance director Simon Wiles said: “The council cannot afford the level of overspend in CYPS and solutions will need to be developed and embedded during 2012/13, otherwise they will have a severe impact on the budget setting for 2013/14, which will then impact on all services.

“Robust actions are being put in place including additional efficiencies which will be reviewed before the end of quarter two.”

The report describes a “marked increase” in the number of children placed in care, with 507 at the end of last year increasing to 523 children in the most recent figures.

Mr Wiles added: “Work has already started on significant plans to manage the council’s finances to ensure this overspend is brought back in line.”

Additional costs have also been forecast after a 60 per cent increase in cases referred to childrens’ services, with 33 more agency workers taken on than were included in the budget.

Across other departments, spending is “broadly on target” though there are areas where the report concludes that improvements need to be made, including reduction in staff sickness.

The report will go before the council cabinet at a meeting at the Mansion House on August 29.