Agenda and minutes

Special - GF Budget, Children, Young People and Schools Scrutiny Commission - Tuesday, 28 January 2020 5:30 pm

Venue: Meeting Room G.01, Ground Floor, City Hall, 115 Charles Street, Leicester, LE1 1FZ

Contact: Jerry Connolly, Scrutiny Support Officer, tel: 0116 454 6343  Jason Tyler, Democratic Support Officer, tel: 0116 454 6359

Items
No. Item

51.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Carolyn Lewis (Church of England Diocese).

 

 

52.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members are asked to declare any interests they may have in the business to be discussed.

 

Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest.

 

53.

GENERAL FUND REVENUE BUDGET 2020/21 TO 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 638 KB

The Director of Finance submits a report setting out the City Mayor’s proposed budget for 2020/21 to 2021/22.

 

The Commission is recommended to consider and comment on the Children, Young People and Schools element of the budget. The Commissions comments will be forwarded to the Overview Select Committee as part of its consideration of the report before it is presented to the Council meeting on 19 February 2020.

 

Minutes:

The Chair referred to the draft report due to be considered by Council on 19 February 2020 which outlined the City Mayor’s proposed budget for 2020/2021 and invited the Deputy City Mayor (Social Care and Anti-Poverty) to introduce the item.

 

It was noted that an expected overspend had been identified due to the requirement to ensure the correct and appropriate levels of care services were in place.  The Deputy City Mayor (Social Care and Anti-Poverty) advised that the safety and protection of children was an absolute priority of the Council as it was for all other local authorities.

 

To supplement the information in the report, data was also circulated which explained the pressures on the service, principally arising from increased costs of external care provision.  The importance and impact of the early-help service to provide care and protection was recognised.  The need to challenge placement companies in terms of their charging structures and competition policies was highlighted.  It was accepted that this issue could not be tackled locally but required a national campaign and lobbying.

 

The Director of Finance then submitted the draft report due to be considered by Council and clarified that the proposed budget was for one year, as significant changes to local government finance were expected.  The impact of delayed decisions concerning the extent of future Business Rates retention and the Fair Funding Review, due to pressures including Brexit and the General Election were reported and noted.

 

It was clarified that there would be a recommendation to allow a rise in Council Tax and that a proposed use of reserves would be effected to ensure that the overall funding gap could be filled, at least in part.  In respect of the information circulated showing a summary of the situation, the Commission noted the impact of the spending review programme and the savings expected from revisions to services such as Connexions and the Educational Welfare Service were explained.

 

In response to data from comparable neighbouring authorities and the position nationally, the number of looked after children (LAC) was noted and it was recognised that the type and suitability of provision was the principal influencing factor in terms of overall cost.  It was reported that numbers of new LAC entering the system was difficult to predict with any certainty and therefore some assumptions on likely trends had to be made.  The Director of Social Care and Early Help commented on the monitoring of LAC as a cohort and advised of the work undertaken to ensure that suitable placement arrangements could be made, including family placements and increased delivery of fostering and adoption options.  The internal monitoring efforts and the value of the work of the Placement Sufficiency Board in this regard were reported and recognised.

 

The proportions of cost by type of provision compared the proportion of LAC in those provisions was highlighted, and in response to a question from the Vice-Chair it was accepted that the internal placement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

54.

ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS

Minutes:

Strategic Director – Social Care and Education

 

The Chair requested an update to a future meeting of the Commission on the progress to fill the vacancy of Strategic Director - Social Care and Education.

 

55.

CLOSE OF MEETING

Minutes:

The meeting closed at 6.55pm.