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Children's services will escape cash axe for two years

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

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CHILREN'S services have been protected from major budget cuts for the next two years.

But despite some £3million more having been pumped in this year, the service still faces an overspend, councillors will be told.

The council overall is facing an overspend of £1.4million after the first six months, down by a £1million on its first quarter. Councillors will be told due to the ongoing pressures, a special reserve of £1million has been used up as well as £2million extra added to the budget last year.

A number of other services have made significant cuts to counter this.

Children's Service has a recovery plan and spending is closely monitored.

But members will be told the director believes it will be 'extremely challenging' for children's services to reduce or remove the projected overspend.

Steve Parrock (pictured), chief executive, said though there is a legal requirement to provide much of the service, it was one the administration was determined to protect. It is already being reorganised and has made improvements.

He said: "We are determined to maintain our quality thresholds in the service and for that we need to fully fund it."

Among the cuts proposed are: reviewing day and domiciliary care service, reviewing care received against the criteria, and review of specialist services for children with disabilities. This would save £176,000. There is the potential some families will no longer receive some services and service providers will have grants cut.

Overall the service is expected to save £2.5million on a current budget of £28million next year and £615,000 the year after. Other services are facing cuts of around 25 per cent.

Commissioning out the Nest Neighbourhood Nursery in Brixham to the private sector or volunteers could save £45,000 by September, 2014.

Other measures:

Restructuring the Early Years Service saving £625,000 next year and £369,000 in 2014/15.

Reducing the Action for Children contract by 10 per cent each year saving £100,000 each year.

Efficiencies within school transport could save £12,000 next year and £26,000 in 2014/15.

Halving the grant for the Citizens Advice Bureau, saving £75,000 next year.

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