Councils reeling as service costs rocket

The spiralling costs of supporting looked-after children and
organising more intensive domiciliary care for older people have
sent two councils plunging into the red.

Birmingham Council is projecting an overspend of £20m this
financial year in social services, largely because of the number of
out-of-authority placements for looked-after children and the
higher costs of investing in children’s homes and foster carers.

Peter Hay, strategic director of social care and health, said
agency recruitment was on hold and savings were being sought.

Leeds Council is also looking at cutting costs after it projected
an £18m overspend in social services, but John England, deputy
social services director, said no immediate service cuts were

England said the deficit was mainly due to a doubling in the number
of older people receiving intensive home care packages, a 20 per
cent rise in residential and nursing home fees and an increase in
wages to try to improve retention.

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