DOWN to the bone Herefordshire Council will have to save at least another £10 million over the next 12 months under the government’s austerity plan.

The council's capacity to cope - and the expectation of further cuts to come - has prompted a plea for help to the county’s two MPs.

Funding fears will be outlined at the first meeting of the new council on Friday.

Leader-elect Councillor Tony Johnson has warned Jesse Norman and Bill Wiggin that “enough is enough”.

“They can’t play a get out of jail free card, they have to use their influence at Westminster to work for change, because we simply cannot sustain the current savings model,” said Cllr Johnson.

With £34 million saved since 2011, the council is on target to save £15 million more in the current financial year against reductions in grants from central government, increases in demand for council services and increassing costs to the council.

The difference between the authority’s costs and income has risen to £15 million a year and expected to rise by a further £8 million.

Social care demand continues to be a key issue as the county’s ageing population rises faster than the national average and specific inequalities continue to emerge amongst families and young people.

Cllr Johnson says care funding should be the starting point for change.

“There has to be a case for combining health and care budgets – a case we need

our MPs to make. We simply can’t be left with the budget we’ve got and keep

cutting,” he said.

A 2015/16 budget agreed in February saw spending on adult social services slashed by £5.5 million, children’s wellbeing by £1.1 million and on other services by £3.6 million.

The council believes the majority of savings required this year can be found through ongoing “efficiency measures” such as the improved use of technology rather than cutting back on already strapped frontline services.

Although the council is on target to deliver within its overall budget in 2014/15, there is slippage in some savings and aditional pressures identified in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 that have been mitigated by alternative savings and the use of contingencies.

The latest forecast shows

£18 million of savings will be required over 2015-17, of which £10 million has to be

found over the current financial year.

A  total savings plan for the financial period 2011/12-2016/17 has accounted for as much as £67 million.



Adults Wellbeing - £53,243,000 (down £1,680,000 from £54,923,000 in 2014/15)

Children’s Wellbeing - £22,137 million (up £895,000 from £21,242,000 in 2014/15)

Economies, Communities and Corporate - £50,535,000 (down £2,530,000 from £53,065,000 in 2014/15)




An overspend of around £613,000 is expected by the end of the last financial year, compared to previously projected figures of close to £1 million.

The forecast overspend within adult social care client groups has stabilised despite a significant increase in demand, particularly for nursing care, due to pressures in the hospital system.

This has been achieved by a more proactive approach  to managing placements with the costing of all new placements - as well as current high cost packages - subject to challenge.

The council is working on the assumption that any further demand pressures can be managed with new services such as re-ablement and tele-care – fully operational from November – are starting to make an impact on demand growth.

Revised plans show that the directorate has to save £7,823,000 between 2015/17.


The projected overspend is £498,000 with the cost of agency staff a particular pressure on the safeguarding budget.

Savings are starting to emerge from the successful recruitment of permanent social workers.

But the number of agency staff employed to assist children with disabilities has increased  to deal with a back log and address a service design planned planned for the coming financial year.

This pressure has been eased by bringing forward funding from reserves.

There has been increase in the  number of claims for the 16+ care leavers grant, due to a rise in the number of young people presenting as homeless.

The impact of this on future funding is already being examined.