Dumfries and Galloway social services new deficit found

Social work services in Dumfries and Galloway are facing another potential overspend just days after securing emergency funding of £600,000.

The department’s latest financial report warns of a fresh possible deficit of a little more than £500,000.

The figures will be presented to members of the social services committee later this week.

Chairman Andy Fergusson said new financial monitoring systems had flagged up the potential budget issue.

The latest projected overspend facing social work has been revealed at a time when the department’s spending is under increased scrutiny.

Last month, the local authority’s external auditors reported that they had uncovered shortcomings in the financial management of the service, but no further details have so far been disclosed.

The department has also had to seek £617,000 from the council’s central reserves to tackle a deficit blamed on the increasing cost of delivering home care services.

Despite securing the additional funding earlier this month, a further £537,000 overspend is now being forecast in the latest budget monitoring report.

Mr Fergusson said a new financial monitoring system was designed to provide an early warning of budget problems.

He said there was still plenty of time for the department to balance its books but admitted the social work budget would always be vulnerable to such overspends.