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Telford & Wrekin Council fails to hit £1.6 million saving target

Telford | News | Published:

Telford & Wrekin Council failed to make more than £1.6 million of planned savings in adult care services over the past year, a new report has revealed.

A cost improvement plan will be put before the council's health and adult care scrutiny committee on Tuesday outlining how the council has attempted to make savings and its future plans.

  • Telford & Wrekin Council anticipated saving £116,000 in 2016/17 by implementing housing cost savings, but managed to save just £17,000. People using current services are being reviewed and moved where appropriate. There had been an expectation to save £1m by reducing spending for adults with learning difficulties, physical sensory disabilities and mental health care in 2016/17. The council made actual savings of £171,000. Negotiations are taking place between the council and care suppliers. As part of the savings made, seven residents were moved out of Ellen Court care home, in Wellington, which closed and the property was handed back to the landlord.
  • £364,000 had expected to be saved by reducing spend on personal care in 2016/17. No savings were made in this area.
  • Telford & Wrekin Council has decided to extend its scheme where people needing care are given a personal budget to recruit their own personal assistants.
  • The authority also intends to extend and grow its shared lives project, a fostering programme for adults in need of care.
  • The council intended to save £270,000 in 2016/17 by changing its transport policy, but only achieved £37,000 in savings.
  • The authority is exploring ways to use its own vehicles more efficiently and reduce the use of taxis.

The council had £42.7m available to fund early help and support services in 2016/17, which has risen to £44m for the current financial year.

However, the council says the figure does not currently reflect the adult social care additional funding of £3.5m received by the authority as part of the spring budget.

According to the report, £364,000 had intended to be saved in 2016/17 by reducing spending on personal care, although no actual savings were made.

Ways in which the council intended to manage spending was in "identifying creative solutions in the community".

A sample of data from the council's social care finance system, for clients who were in care from 2015 to 2017, has been analysed and suggested that overall costs of care packages rose in the last financial year.

But the report said the cost of a number of care packages had actually reduced.

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It added: "Further work will now ensue to determine the activity and actions that have resulted in these reduced costs in order to learn what is effective and implement further cost saving initiatives."

The authority also planned to save £1m in 2016/17 by reducing spends for adults with learning disabilities, physical sensory disabilities and mental health care. But the authority saved less than a fifth of its target, achieving savings of £171,000 instead.

Housing cost savings were also expected to amount to £116,000 in the last financial year, but in fact savings of £17,000 were made, with current services under review.

The council saved £37,000 in 2016/17 by making changes to its transport policy, looking at how it could use its vehicles more efficiently and reduce the use of taxis. It was less than the figure of £270,000 which the authority had intended to save in this area.

Jonathan Eatough, Telford & Wrekin Council's assistant director of governance, procurement and commissioning, said there had not been enough time given to achieve the level of planned savings required.

But he said where savings hadn't been achieved over the past year, the authority would try to make the savings this year.

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