The Labour Group on Dumfries and Galloway Council have hit out at the news that the council’s Social Work Department is facing yet another overspend- only a month after the department's budget for the forthcoming year was agreed.
In a report being presented to next meeting of the Council’s Social Work Committee (Thursday 22 August) councillors are informed of an “unbudgeted pressure” of £165,000 on the department’s budget for 2013/14, primarily as a result of a projected overspend of £211,000 in Children and Families Services. Other projected overspends include £45,000 in the budget for people with physical/learning disabilities and £37,000 in other services, although the overspends are partly reduced as a result of a projected under spend of £128,000 in the older people’s budget.
The overspend for 2013/14 follows on from several overspends during 2012/13, and the department is still working to find cuts of £1.1m over and above the latest overspend, to bring the budget under control.
The Social Work budget for the year ahead was only agreed by Councillors at the Social Work Committee meeting on 15 July.
Labour Group Social Work spokesperson David McKie said, “It seems to be a case of another month, another Social Work overspend. Everyone recognises that Social Work is very much a demand led service, and predicting demand isn’t easy, so budgets will change throughout the year. However, it’s just a month since the department’s budget was agreed and we are being told that for one service, the Children’s and Families Service, the budget is already wrong by £211,000. The public will rightly ask why this wasn’t predicted when the budget was set recently? The financial chaos without this department has been ongoing since last year, with the council still battling to make cuts of £1.1 million to deal with last year’s overspend. The council coalition don’t seem to know what Social Work is spending it’s money on from one week to the next, yet no one in the Tory SNP coalition is taking any responsibility and they just stumble along from one crisis to the next”.