Six months into the year and the council is looking at a deteriorating situation, with a projected £8.6m overspend for 2014-15. So it has introduced a three-month embargo on all overtime, external recruitment and the appointment of new agency staff.
Spending on outside training and building maintenance (apart from essential health and safety work) has also been stopped; services have been asked to maximise the number of staff leaving the council by the end of the year under its Early Leaver Initiative; and directorates have been asked to look at the possibility of increasing fees and charges from the beginning of 2015.
A report going to a meeting of council bosses next week (Wednesday 19th November) says the measures could be relaxed if the outlook improves, but warns that the overspend in key areas – adult social care, children in care and community care packages – could increase further during the rest of the year.
The measures come as the council is seeking to achieve spending cuts of over £47m during the current financial year.
What happens if they can’t pull it back?
“Failure to do so will result in the call upon reserves being greater than budgeted for, with a resultant impact upon the financial strategy for 2015/16 and 2016/17,” the report says.
Watch this space.