Decision Maker: Adults and Health Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
All Committees were being asked to provide
feedback in relation to their financial responsibilities as
identified within the Constitution and linked to the budget
alignment approved by the Finance Sub-Committee in March 2023.
Responses to the consultation would be reported to the Corporate
Policy Committee to support that Committee in making
recommendations to Council on changes to the current financial
The Committee received a report on the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for 2024/25 – 2027/28 and the revenue and capital proposals contained within the MTFS relating to the Committee’s responsibilities. As part of the consultation process the Committee was asked to provide comments and feedback to the Corporate Policy Committee on proposals related to the responsibilities of the committee.
It was reported that the High-Level Business Cases would be presented at the Corporate Policy Committee on the 13 of February.
The Committee asked questions and provided comments in relation to the proposals, summarised below:
· Pay Inflation – The Committee noted that a 3% increase had been used for the 2024/25 forecast compared to 2023/24 where a 5% figure had been forecasted. It was stated that the final pay award allocated for 2023/24 was 7.5%. Officers confirmed that the 3% increase had been agreed across all Service Committees.
· National Minimum Wage –members queried if enough growth had been invested into the service as the impact of national living wage increase would particularly impact the staff within the Adults and Health Committee remit. Officers reported that around £2.5m growth would be available to cover unexpected pricing expenditure during 2024/25, however the estimated costs of implementing the national minimum wage across the Directorate was £5-7m.
· Risk Management - Members acknowledged the precarious financial position of the local authority and queried what the major risks facing the service were. Officers stated that the key risks included: implementation of the national minimum wage, the number of young people transitioning from children’s to adults through the SEND process, and the increasing activity taking place in the NHS and the subsequent impact this had on adult social care.
· Members noted that the service provision responsibilities placed upon the Adults and Childrens Committees significantly impacted individuals across the borough. Members queried whether there had been adequate encouragement across all committees for savings to be identified that related to more generic services, that did not specifically impact on individuals. Officers confirmed that the Corporate Leadership Team, through CEBERT, were taking all necessary steps to identify savings across all committees.
A list of additional budget proposals put forward by the Conservative Group were circulated to the Committee. The proposals included:
(ai) Identify and evaluate Cheshire East Council assets and their potential as short, medium and longer-term care provisions to reduce the Borough’s dependency on out of area providers for high-cost adult social care and health provisions. This dovetailed with similar proposals discussed with the Children and Families Committee on 31.01.24.
(aii) High Level Business Cases (HLBC) should be developed to progress activity for future provision.
(aiii) A clear schedule for the short, medium and longer-term development of appropriate sites must be included in the Work Programme for Economy and Growth, Adult Social Care and Health Committees, with clear KPIs and Project Management oversight throughout the life of the projects.
(bi) That the committee requests that the Corporate Policy Committee work collaboratively with the Adults and Health Committee to explore the establishment of a Cheshire East Social Workers / Care Workers Agency to be included under the Workforce Strategy (Retention and Recruitment).
(bii) To provide a cost savings analysis over 2024/25 with a view to bring forward for consideration as part of the 2025/26 MTFS proposals.
It was proposed and seconded that the proposals in Appendix 1 and the Conservative Group proposals be recommended to the Corporate Policy Committee for inclusion in the Council’s budget for 2024/25.
RESOLVED: (By Majority)
That the Adults and Health Committee
Report author: Honor Field
Publication date: 06/02/2024
Date of decision: 02/02/2024
Decided at meeting: 02/02/2024 - Adults and Health Committee