Council plans to avert £5.7m care overspend

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SHEFFIELD Council is putting contingency plans in place as it predicts overspending by £5.7 million on adult social care services.

The authority says the problem is down to a 27 per cent increase in demand from patients leaving hospital, which could lead to the overspend by the end of 2012/13.

Coun Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for finance, said: “We are working hard to balance our budget so we can ensure that people who need care from us continue to receive it. These are often vulnerable people and we can assure them that we can find money from elsewhere in the budget to meet this need.

“Looking ahead we face more challenges to budgets from April onwards, but we are working with our colleagues in the Health Service to find a more sustainable solution to this issue.”

The current budget for adult social care is just under £122 million.

The biggest area of spend are the packages of care for individuals which cost almost £90 million each year.

In 2011/12 there were nearly 13,500 adults in the city receiving care and support services provided or arranged by the council.

Just over 6,800 of them were provided with a ‘personal budget’ – giving them choice and control of their own care and support.

During 2011/12, just over 2,600 people were supported in residential or nursing care with a further 5,800 receiving support at home, arranged by the council.

Sheffield Council said it is having to take on 70 new patients each week, up from 55 each week in previous years.

A report presented to the council’s Cabinet this week covered spending on capital projects.

The authority said the paper included a number of improvements, including upgrades to footpaths in Crookes Valley Park, where new play and outdoor gym equipment will be installed.

The development of Manor Fields, next to City Road, will continue with a new play area for toddlers, an informal football area, a small BMX dirt track and the creation of a community allotment.

Driver training schools aimed at reducing accident rates among young people will be also be funded, and the Lower Don Valley Cycle Route will be upgraded to create a complete tarmac route from Sheffield city centre to Rotherham.

Small and medium sized companies will be able to borrow electric vehicles, the report said, to gauge how cutting the amount of carbon emissions can help their business, and 90 electric vehicle charging points also being installed.

But the document also pressed ahead with cuts to services such as the city’s library facilities.