Young offenders adding to Sheffield council budget woes

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LARGER numbers of young offenders being remanded in local authority care are giving Sheffield Council an unexpected financial headache.

Officials are battling to make £50 million of cuts in 2012/13 and to tackle a £4.9m overspend which has been forecast. Efficiency savings have seen the forecast overspend reduced to £1.799m.

But director of finance Eugene Walker says in a report to today’s Sheffield Council cabinet meeting: “The Children, Young People and Families department is forecasting an adverse movement of £171,000 due to higher costs and the increasing number of people remanded into local authority care with the Youth Justice Service.”

Sheffield Council said the costs of remands for young people are currently met jointly by the council and Youth Justice Board.

Coun Jackie Drayton, Sheffield Council cabinet member for children, young people and families, said that further pressure was also being placed on the council because the Youth Justice Board’s funding is being cut.

The council is now forecast to overspend its £489m budget for 2012/13 by £1.799m.

Mr Walker said savings are being made by keeping job positions vacant. A £2.2m rebate from the Government has helped cover the cost of care for people with learning difficulties. And £500,000 has been recouped from a decrease in interest payments.

Capital projects are to be delayed, with several to be completed in 2013/14 rather than 2012/13, such as remaining renovations for council houses, the £2.6m revamp of the Town Hall and vehicle replacement.

Some overspends are still forecast, of £330,000 due to delays in a new computer system and £124,000 of extra property management costs.

May’s elections cost £204,000 more than expected. A £492,000 grant to Museums Sheffield must also be recouped.