Balancing the Budget

One of the main issues facing Swnsea Council, like many other public sector organisations across the country is its budget and trying to afford to pay for all the services that it provides.  A vital provision undertaken by the Council is helping children and their families.  The Council introduced a specific overview and scrutiny board to address this area and the Child & Family Services Overview & Scrutiny Board recently won the Team of the Year award from the Centre for Public Scrutiny

The Performance & Finance Overview & Scrutiny Board has recently held a joint meeting with the Child & Family Services Overview & Scrutiny Board to look at expenditure in Child & Family Services for 2010/11 and examine the financial recovery plan.  This is the first in a series of meetings, with the next one likely to be held in September.  From this first meeting the key issues arising from the discussion are:

  • Perception of inefficient budget forcasting
  • Delays in reporting key budgetary information
  • Lessons learned and changes in procedures
  • Confidence in the ability to acurately forecast and monitor
  • Increasded confidence in savings measures
  • The unpredictability of service demand balanced against the controllability of costs
  • The knock on effect of overspending in relation to other council services
  • Social Services use of the council’s contngency fund
  • Senario planning and the need to work with ‘worst’ rather than ‘best’ case senarios
  • Virement between budgets within Social Services; and
  • The review of Foster Swansea

Bringing the overspend down in this area is vital for the Council going forward and monitoring the plans in place to do it will be one of the main focuses of the Performance & Finance Overview & Scrutiny Board this coming year.

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