Issue - meetings
Budget 2019/20 Stage 2 Proposals
(a) That the Committee supports the portfolio efficiency options, as shown in the report; and
(b) That Members agree to seek to raisepublic awareness about the implications of the current financial challenges for services.
The Chief Officer introduced the report on the stage 2 budget proposals for the Education & Youth Portfolio for 2019/20. She provided background information and referred to the financial forecast and stage 1 proposals and the Welsh Local Government Provisional Settlement which advised of a 1% reduction and said that this would impact negatively on the forecast gap for 2019/20. The Chief Officer commented on the latest budget statement which was announced by the Chancellor this week and the potential for additional funding to be made available to local authorities by the Welsh Government (WG).
The Chief Officerinvited the Finance Manager to report on the risks and resilience levels of service areas within the Education portfolio. The Finance Manager commented on the detailed resilience statements which had been prepared for each service area during the Summer and said this had confirmed that there was limited scope for any further operational efficiencies with the portfolio. She explained that the Authority currently faced a 1% (£1.9m) reduction in funding allocation from the WG and as a result there was no additionality for any budget pressures, including the teachers’ pay award.
The Chief Officer and Finance Manager referred to the main considerations, as detailed in the report, and reported on portfolio pressures and investments, teachers pay award, teacher pensions, and portfolio business planning efficiencies.
Following the comments from members thanking the Education & Youth Team for their hard work during the financial challenges, the Chief Officer agreed to pass the comments on following the meeting.
Councillor Kevin Hughes asked if the Authority worked collaboratively with other local authorities to achieve savings on out of county placements. The Chief Officer said that the cost of out of county placements was a national issue and explained that discussions were taking place at a regional level around the possibility of creating regional provision. She commented that the main area of challenge was around emotional and challenging behaviour and referred to the cost of staffing levels required to provide one to one support and 24 hour care. During discussion the Chief Officer said that prevention and intervention was key and referred to the work undertaken to support schools around early identification and intervention. She also referred to the role of the Pupil Referral Unit and the outreach work which was undertaken.
Councillor Ian Roberts commented on the impact of cuts in funding which meant there were less resources available to provide support to schools. He also commented on the pressure on teachers who had to deal with the challenging behaviour of some pupils on a daily basis.
Referring to the cost of out of county placements Councillor Paul Cunningham suggested that the WG be asked to put a financial cap on providers of out of county placements. The Chief Officer suggested that the Head of Inclusion Service raise this suggestion during the next regional meeting with neighbouring authority colleagues and WG representatives.
Mrs Rebecca Stark asked if there was evidence of a correlation between an increase in the ... view the full minutes text for item 23