To consider the Finance Report Quarter 2 2019/20 as presented to Cabinet on 5 November 2019.
The committee reviewed the Quarter 2 Finance Report, which had been presented to Cabinet on 5 November 2019.
As requested by the committee, the Executive Director of People - Children and Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help attended the meeting to answer questions in respect of the Budget for Children’s Services:
· Where possible, children would be placed with an appropriate guardian including with other family members
· There was a cost pressure associated with securing accommodation and an issue with capacity. Cabinet had recently agreed to re-establish a children’s hub and suitable properties were being looked for
· Demand in this area was high and liaison was being undertaken with the Government as to how they were able to influence national issues in this area
· Areas for focus included the development of a residential hub, training and support for foster parents, preventative work and providing the best service possible where provision was out of county. Work had started but would take time
· The Executive Director confirmed that there had been involvement and support from portfolio holders, Cabinet and Council for work in this area
· In terms of forecasting for future budgets, there would always be an element of being led by demand, however there was recognition that more control could be achieved if the right level of edge of care services were in place
· Part of the Blueprint for Change consultation was about locality area partnership working and working more closely with the community in order to safeguard children
· The Executive Director of Corporate Development noted that part of building the budget for the following year was about trying to anticipate the level of demand on the service. There was a model but it was recognised that some factors could not be anticipated and this needed to be built into the budget
· Reference was made to the disposal of children’s homes by the former Dorset County Council and the background to this was discussed. The Executive Director of People, Children, noted that the provision currently being considered by the council was different to what had been in place before. Areas currently being explored included the provision of supported lodgings for 16 to 18 year olds and in particular, a model including partner involvement and contributions and potential income
· In response to a question, the Executive Director of Corporate Development noted that a number of factors were taken into account when setting the budget and this included using market intelligence to understand likely inflationary pressures
· Consideration was given to the number of looked after children in the council area and the budget forecast for the next financial quarter
· The impact of the recent tranche 2 restructure on finance team support for Children’s Services was raised and it was noted that moving forward, the model was to have a central corporate finance team in place with business partners allocated to each service area. The level of resource and expertise required for Children’s Services was recognised and would be in place moving forward ... view the full minutes text for item 53