BRADFORD Council is set to overspend by £3.2million in running costs this year, with the children's services department the most over budget.

Council financial chiefs have released the latest forecast for this financial year, which ends in a matter of days. What the latest figures reveal is that the authority is expected to spend £3.2m over its net revenue budget of £385.4m - although this is less than the £5.5m over forecast from six months ago.

The document outlines how despite a total of around £85m of Covid-related funding already being taken into account, the hardest hit departments are: Children's Services (£15.6m over) and Health and Wellbeing (£1.1m over).

In Children's Services the overspend is primarily due to an increasing number of children requiring care and support as well as the impact of agency staff costs.

Measures are being put in place to address this including a review of high cost placements and a recruitment campaign to cut the percentage of agency workers in social services - which is currently over 40 per cent of the staffing budget.

Within Health and Wellbeing a delay to implementing savings in adult social care has accounted for the forecast overspend. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the learning disability team unable to carry out face to face reviews and the costs of supporting people at home due to day care closures has been higher too.

The report further details how the combined budget savings of £14.3m in 2021/22 bring the total savings the Council has had to approve in the eight years following the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review to £304m.

Chris Chapman, Bradford Council’s director of finance, said: “Despite the intensive pressures we have faced in responding to the pandemic, which have included an increased demand for services, and the impact of rising inflation, staff have worked hard to deliver services during a period of rising demand, within available budgets.”

The report itself will go before Bradford Council’s decision-making executive on Tuesday, April 5.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The impact of Covid is outlined in the Council's latest financial reportThe impact of Covid is outlined in the Council's latest financial report

It also outlines how Covid-19 remains a challenge for the district describing the pandemic's financial impact as "vast". It goes on to say that costs and income losses to the Council have so far been covered by additional funding from the Government and some limited use of reserves.

"However, it should be noted that there remains significant uncertainty about how long Covid will continue to impact for, and hence how long the additional funding lasts," it adds.

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