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Rotherham social care spend creates £30m black hole

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Rotherham MBC has warned the next few years will be “very challenging” as spending on adult and children’s social care services has left a £30m black hole in its finances.

A report to the council’s cabinet and commissioners said the 2018-19 budget was focused on protecting the most vulnerable children and adults, but added no additional money was available for these service areas.

It added: “The budget recognises the ongoing demand pressures on both children’s and adult social care services but also that to continue to spend at current levels on these services is unaffordable in the long term.”

The report, presented to members on February 19, said demand pressures are to be managed within the council’s overall resources “until such time as the costs can be reduced to levels more representative of other authorities”.

It added the social care precept, a general council tax rise and the allowable flexibilities in the use of capital receipts to support the revenue budget, had all been “maximised” to minimise the impact on services.

The report said the budget had been “exceptionally challenging” because of the requirement to save £162m since 2011-12.

It added: “Given that over half of the council’s budget is spent on children’s and adults’ services with increasing demand nationally in these services, the need to eliminate the current overspends in these areas and to find a further £30m over the following two years, the next few years will prove very challenging for the council.”

Rotherham children’s services were rated ‘good’ in January for the first time since the child sexual exploitation scandal in the town.

The council has been subject to government intervention since February 2015, after an independent review by Dame Louise Casey found the council needed to undergo “fundamental change” after at least 1,400 children were abused.

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