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Growing Demand Could See Social Care Services In Wigan Overspend by £5m

Growing demand on Wigan council’s social care services could lead to a £5 million overspend within the department by the end of the year. 

Looking after children in care and securing costly residential placements for those with complex needs are the main pressures being placed on care budgets.

Plans to overhaul three areas of the children’s social care department, which could save the authority £2.6 million and help balance future budgets, have been delayed.

‘Little’ progress has also been made on a wider review of the authority’s education services, where a ‘significant’ number of schools are reporting deficit positions next year.

The service was in the red by £4.9 million at the end of 2018/19, and it is ‘unlikely’ the current financial position will improve by the end of 2019/20.

A report due to be presented to cabinet members says: “The most significant financial pressure remains within social care and in particular costs related to our looked after children and placement costs.

“The financial analysis of placements looked positive but we have seen an increase in residential costs and semi-independent provision.

“It must be recognised that this is a volatile area and there are significant financial risks due to the rising demand which needs to be carefully managed.”

As of June, Wigan council reported a total revenue budget overspend of £4.9 million, which is mainly due to pressures within children’s services.

But a drop in income collected from parking fees and fines, as well as rent from market traders, has also seen contributed by overspending its combined budgets by £500k.

The council’s waste department has also been hit by higher fees when collecting and disposing of rubbish. 

“This is mainly due to transport costs being higher than expected, which can be attributed to the growth in round size as more house building takes place across the borough,” says the report.

Home to school transport has also overspent its budget as more people need support across the borough.

Cabinet members will consider the report on Thursday.

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