Torfaen could have £4m care shortfall

TORFAEN council is forecasting a shortfall of almost £4million in this year’s social care and housing budget.

A report warns of a £3.9million shortfall for 2011/12 and suggests ways to balance the budget, save £300,000 and reduce costs.

The report, by Joanne Kirrane, group manager of Community Care, said recommendations agreed by the cabinet earlier this year include cutting staff and reducing services. Significant savings of more than £1million have already been secured through voluntary redundancies.

Of the £40million-plus social care budget, £33million is spent on purchasing care and support services from outside organisations, and this has been identified as the largest potential area to reduce costs.

A dedicated working group, which included officers from Aneurin Bevan Health Board, Social Care Planning and Finance and Performance, reviewed all service contracts such as domicillary care, in which it will reduce hourly rates and adult placement costs.

The report warns that the decision to cut funding for a large number of providers could impact on vulnerable people in Torfaen but does say that the council will try to meet the needs of service users through other options.

In February members approved a decision to reduce service contracts by £300,000 and earmarked potential savings of £271,392.