Issue - meetings

2021/22 budget setting

Meeting: 13/01/2021 - Adults and wellbeing scrutiny committee (Item 25)

25 2021/22 budget setting pdf icon PDF 231 KB

To seek the views of the adults and wellbeing scrutiny committee on the budget proposals for 2021/22 as they relate to the remit of the committee.

Additional documents:


The chairperson explained that the three scrutiny committees were reviewing the budget proposals in sequence and this agenda item sought views on the budget proposals for 2021/22 as they related to the remit of this committee.


The cabinet member - health and wellbeing reported that, due to a recent High Court judgement regarding the treatment of benefit income in social care charging policies and its impact for severely disabled people, £330k of the £520k proposed savings for ‘Implementing changes to client charging policy and income disregards’ was at risk.  As a consequence, the proposed policy changes would be put on hold and a further review of charging policy for 2021/22 would be undertaken once the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) position on the judgement was known.  The committee was advised that the adults and communities directorate was working on alternative savings proposals.


An updated appendix to the report, Appendix A ‘savings proposals’, had been circulated before the meeting and this was displayed.


The chief finance officer drew attention to: the proposed council tax increase of 4.99%, inclusive of a 3% adult social care precept; the lower council tax base, largely due to pressures that were coming through from the Covid-19 pandemic; and made reference to a supplementary paper on Covid-19 related grants to be received by the general scrutiny committee on 15 January 2021.


The director for adults and communities provided an update on existing capital investment schemes, including Hillside, super hubs, and technology enabled communities.  The savings proposals for 2021/22, as shown in Appendix A, were summarised:


·           Modernising assessment, commissioning and services delivery for learning disability clients (£1.5m)

The assistant director all ages commissioning added that strengths based and technology driven approaches would be utilised to deliver better outcomes and reduce expenditure.

·           Targeted review of complex cases followed by system challenge (£1.25m)

The assistant director for adult social care operations added that a key driver was developing Herefordshire services, thereby minimising out of area placements.

·           Implementing changes to client charging policy and income disregards

It was reiterated that £330k of the £520k proposed savings was at risk and alternative savings proposals were being prepared.

The director for adults and communities said that the proposals had been developed in the context of the principles of equity and fairness, the need for culture and practice change, and would build upon the strengths based model.

The chairperson acknowledged the extraordinary times, pressures and unknowns which made forecasting difficult in both financial and service delivery terms.  It was noted that the strengths based approach was about working smarter and doing more with less.  In response to questions, the head of corporate finance provided an overview of the ‘adult social care precept explanation’ slide, as included in the updated appendix, and the chief finance officer commented on the impact of the precept on the overall financial position of the council.  The chairperson recommended that a plain English narrative on the precept be prepared in order to aid public understanding.  In response to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25