Leeds City Council’s significant overspend on Adult and Children’s Services last year has continued into the first four months of the current financial year and is rising month on month, according to figures released in a report by the Council’s auditors KPMG.
KPMG said that while its survey of 2010-11 had not identified any areas of the Council’s finances that gave cause for major concern “the scale of the challenge ahead is not to be underestimated and key to this will be managing the overspends in Adults and Children’s which as at month 4 of 2011/12 are showing overspends of £10.6m”.
Adult and Children’s services were largely responsible for a £10.3m overspend by Council directorates in 2010-11, an overspend that was offset by savings of £23.8m.
Figures for the first three months of the year showed the Council heading for an £8.2m overspend for the year with Children’s Services running £5m over budget and Adult social care £2.3m.
“Financial performance to date in 2011/12 demonstrates the continued pressures within Adults and Children’s and the management of these pressures will be critical in the future financial standing of the Authority,” KPMG said.
1,159 jobs lost to 31st March 2011
The KPMG report said the Council was seeking to lose (or save, as KPMG put it) a further 350-400 jobs “in the current financial period” to add to the 1,159 it had lost by 31st March 2011. Of those, 890 had been achieved through voluntary redundancy or early retirement (the Council’s “Early Leavers Initiative” ELI), the rest through not filling vacant posts.
Given that the Council is looking to lose 3,000 jobs in four years, there’s obviously plenty more job losses/savings ahead. It is, in KPMG-speak, “a continual journey”.
“Going forward, due to the continual improvements in service planning the Authority plan to move to an approach whereby the resourcing team will look at the future delivery method of the services and use this to identify the future structure of the directorates,” the report said.
“This method will be utilised as a tool to identify the target numbers for staffing numbers within the Authority based on the most effective, efficient method of service delivery.”
The KPMG report is to be discussed at a meeting of the Council’s Corporate Governance and Audit Committee on Friday 30th September.