Council overspend by £2.5 million but 'we're doing a pretty good job', says finance officer

editorial image

Doncaster Council has overspent by £2.5 million but the local authority is doing a 'pretty good job', according to its chief finance officer.

Doncaster Council has overspent by £2.5 million but the local authority is doing a 'pretty good job', according to its chief finance officer.

Finance boss Steve Mawson was reacting to their end of quarter report which lays out the state of the council's finances.

Doncaster Children's Services Trust makes up the bulk of the overspend at £3.1 million, adult social care went over by £600,000 and children and education by £400,000.

Figures also show the regeneration and environment team spent £800,000 more than they should have done - mainly down to the new waste contract.

But the council saw underspend in corporate resources saving £1.3 million and a further £1.1 million 'other council-wide' services.

Mr Mawson said the reasons why DCST had overspent was down to a 'general increase in the cost and number' of placing children with 'very complex needs' outside of council care in some cases, in different local authority areas and in private provision.

He said: "Around 80 per cent of local authorities in terms of their children's social care budgets are seeing overspends - no matter how much money you're spending, it's never enough.

"We're working with the trust on these issues but there is no easy solution to these problems."

The council also saved £820,000 by replacing authority-owned vehicles.

The report also states the council has reserves of £12.3 million.

Mr Mawson added: "It we were expecting to overspend by £3.8 million at the forecast at the end of quarter three.

"We've managed to bring that down to £2.5 million - it does look quite negative from the first look, but it's a reflection of the tough times we're in. We have got services to deliver and we've got to face some tough funding reductions from Government.

"I'm quite positive about the picture going forward - we've got less resources to manage but we're doing a pretty good job. We have a budget of £500 million and an overspend of £2.5 million isn't too bad."