INCREASED pressure in adult social care and education – combined with escalating legal costs – are among the reasons West Berkshire Council is predicting to spend £698,000 more than it budgeted this year.
Adult social care is forecasting an overspend of £451,000 at the end of the current financial year against a net revenue budget of £37.3m.
The overspend is as a result of an increase in client numbers and complexity of need, together with a rise in the cost of commissioning services in respect of nursing and residential care.
The change in the forecast from quarter one is the result of fluctuations in new and existing care packages with a number of high-cost packages coming to an end during quarter two.
Legal services is forecasting an overspend of £260,000 against a net revenue budget of £952,000, which remains unchanged from the forecast at quarter one.
This pressure relates to costs arising from the London Road Industrial Estate procurement challenge in the High Court and fee income pressures within the service.
Some of this pressure, the council says, may be offset if it is successful in reclaiming these costs through the judicial review process.
The forecast pressure against legal services is being partially offset through a forecast underspend in strategic support of £72,000 and minor underspends in other services.
Pressure across these services of £994,000 is being partially offset through forecast underspends for planning and countryside (£133,000), highways and transport (£97,000), strategic support (£72,000) and various other small underspends (£44,000).
The education service is forecasting a £183,000 overspend against a net revenue budget of £9.3m.
This overspend has been generated through pressure on home to school transport budgets (£101,000), and the educational psychologist service (£95,000).
Pressure on the educational psychologist service is primarily the result of a member decision not to go ahead with a proposed redundancy and restructure.
The highways and transport service is forecasting an underspend of £97,000 which is due to increased parking income. The planning and countryside service is forecasting a £133,000 underspend.