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Council expected to bail out Doncaster Children’s Services Trust to bridge their increasing multi-million pound black hole 

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Doncaster Council is expected to bail out the borough’s children’s services body to bridge their multi-million pound overspend. 

Doncaster Children’s Services Trust – an ‘arms-length management organisation’ (ALMO) – has a £6 million budget deficit and cites rising demand for the overspend increase. 

Documents show DCST had a £5.2 million deficit at the end of quarter one in June but latest figures show this rose by £800,000 in just two months to August.

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones has previously said children’s services is the ‘biggest financial pressure’ on the council. 

The Trust said it is anticipating it will have to support ‘60 more young people’ than was assumed.

The forecast shows they expect to help 1,119 young people but have budgeted for 1,059. 

A report seen by councillors shows the council has already taken ‘urgent action’ to avert the ‘impending pressure on the Trust’s cash flow’.

This includes providing a £1 million loan and ‘delaying payments’ the council were set to receive from the Trust. 

Payment targets of around £2 million worth of savings has also been deferred. 

The ‘risk share agreement' has also been scrapped. Doncaster Council was reliable for 70 per cent of the costs and the Trust 30 per cent. 

If passed, a lump sum of £3.7 million will be handed to the Trust with the remaining £2.3 million being paid in monthly installments.  

The council will use an underspend of £2.1m of prepayment on the pension deficit and future service rates and £3.9 million on funding released for a ‘capital programme’. 

Aaron Bathgate, finance manager at Doncaster Council, said: “The council has statutory responsibility for children's social services, and the Trust do not have any reserves, therefore do not have the funds to cover any of the forecast variance to the contract. It is prudent to provide adequate funding for this overspend. 

“We have a statutory requirement to provide children’s social services, the council is recommended to provide one off funding of £6.0m to the Trust based on the current forecast position.”

Council bosses are recommending cabinet members agree to sign off the payment at a meeting next week.