Health and social care overspend ‘concerning’

Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership.
Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership HSCP

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Health and social care officials in Argyll and Bute have admitted their ‘concern’ at the prospect of a nearly £1 million overspend on services for the current financial year.

A report that went before the area’s health and social care partnership (HSCP) board says that by the end of July, the partnership had already overspent by just over £100,000 – and had a forecast overspend for the year of £1.4 million.

The latter figure has since fallen to £800,000, but the report states that ‘action is now being taken to manage the delivery of services’ to bring the estimated overspend down further.

The HSCP’s integration joint board (IJB) discussed the contents of the report on Wednesday.

‘The position for the first four months of the year is a small year-to-date overspend totalling £0.1 million,’ said James Gow, the HSCP’s head of finance and transformation.

‘The overall position consists of overspending totalling £105,000 relating to social work budgets and £42,000 relating to health budgets.

‘As normal, it should be noted that the social work figures are prepared on a cash basis, whilst the health figures are prepared on a full accruals accounting basis.

‘The forecast position for the current year is more concerning. A forecast overspend totalling £1.4 million was reported as at July 31, 2021. Much of the forecast overspend relates to social work budgets.

‘Subsequent detailed analysis has taken place in respect of social work budgets and the forecast has been updated during August. A £0.8 million overall overspend is currently forecast.

‘At this stage in the year, the forecast is based on a significant number of assumptions and therefore there are material risks associated with it.

‘However, the forecast overspend position is of concern, and action is now being taken to seek to manage the delivery of services and the savings programme within the envelope of resources available in 2021/22.

‘There is sufficient time left in the current year for the position to be recovered by the year end, as outlined in the financial recovery plan.’

Mr Gow added: ‘The financial position is now a standing item on the senior leadership team agenda, and is reported and discussed in detail every month, in addition to the routine monitoring carried out by service managers in partnership with the finance and service improvement teams.’