“the service was not responding quickly enough or effectively enough to the challenges it faced” – Auditors
The Council has now published an outline of how it intends to recover from the Social Care budget deficit discovered by Auditors.
The Auditors identified a budget pressure of £2.5 on this year’s budget together with outstanding actions needed to secure budgeted savings of £1.4 million.
In a separate report the Auditors they say
“Our view is that financial management and commissioning in the adult social care service needs to improve and this service has not responded quickly and effectively enough to the challenges that it faces.
If the underlying financial pressures are not robustly addressed and actions to secure significant future base budget reductions are not effective, there is a risk that the Council will not be in a position to deliver the best possible value for money in adult social care services.
Of critical importance to the delivery of sustained improvement is a review of existing contracts and a new commissioning approach that secures the required services at an affordable price”.
The crisis had led to the demotion of the Cabinet member, who had responsibility for the department, earlier in the year with several senior staff following her out of the door last month.
A summary of the action that the Council intends to take can be read here
10 substantial issues, raised by the Auditors, are addressed. They include:
- Producing a clear and unambiguous budget for the current year which eliminates overspends
- Improved accountability for senior officials
- More delegation of responsibility
- Improvements in the budget build process for next and subsequent years
- A clear savings plan
- Improved management information systems and IT
Challenged on the problems at the last Council meeting, the Leader declined to say why he had not taken action last year to address the emerging issues.
Council officials had earlier declined to say why one of the savings projects – the opening of a new “super care village” at Lowfields – was running 3 years behind schedule.