Sheffield care spending spirals by £11m

Coun Mary Lea
Coun Mary Lea
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Council chiefs are taking ‘urgent action’ to tackle an £11.5 million overspend on adult social care - and a consultation is being launched to decide where the service’s budget should be spent.

Sheffield Council’s quarterly budget figures show the authority is currently overspending by £9.1m on care and support for people with learning disabilities and care for the elderly.

There is also a £2.5m overspend on services for people with mental health problems.

Josie Bennett, head of the council’s adult learning disabilities service, is currently suspended from her work with the council while an investigation is under way into a £6.5m overspend in her department, which has a budget of £35m.

Richard Webb, the council’s executive director of communities, said he could not comment while a ‘live management investigation’ was under way.

Coun Mary Lea, the council’s cabinet member for health, care and independent living, said: “Urgent action is being taken to pull us back on track financially, but in tough financial circumstances we need to prioritise budgets as fairly as we can. We also need to ensure that we look again at how we run services to target council funding in the most effective and fairest way.”

Coun Lea said the situation had been made worse by the £36.5m in cuts to adult social care that the council has had to make. She blamed the overspend on a rising demand on services.

Mr Webb added that there has been an increase in people needing support for mental health issues and disabilities.

“The hospitals are also facing a lot of pressure, to get people out of hospital and into the community, which is having a knock-on effect,” he added.

Work to deal with the overspending includes restrictions on recruitment, and cuts to management and administration costs.

Cabinet members will consider a report on spending levels at a Town Hall meeting next Wednesday.