Powys Council is to use money from its reserves to pay for a shortfall in the spiralling cost of Children's Social Services in the county.

The budget for children's services is running more than £1.8 million above its £26 million budget, according to the council's quarter two financial report, and now the portfolio holder Cllr Rachel Powell said that a new report has shown the extent of the issues.

Head of children’s social services Jan Coles explained that her department were requesting the funds be available at the end of the year so that they can “remain within financial regulations and respond in the right way” to children and their families.

Chairman of the Health and Care scrutiny committee Cllr Amanda Jenner told the cabinet that in a confidential meeting with children’s service chiefs her committee had been briefed on the situation. 

Cllr Jenner said:  “I can confirm the committee were informed of a small number of children with the most complex of needs.”

Cllr Jenner told cabinet that the children’s team had tried to find “suitable and affordable” placements for these children, but it had been “impossible.”

Cllr Jenner said: “In addition we were made aware that all local authorities are competing for the same type of placements and provision."

She explained that on a national scale – there aren’t enough places to cope with the demand.

Cllr Jenner said that councillors had been “shocked” by the case backgrounds and the levels of costs involved.

According to Cllr Jenner the scrutiny committee were also “surprised” that the health board was not helping pay for these mental health care costs.

Cllr Jenner added that she would be inviting representatives of Powys Teaching Health Board to a future committee meeting to discuss “collaborative working” and the mental health support that’s provided to children in the county.

“It’s unquestionable not to provide the support needed, it’s court endorsed and needed to keep some of our most vulnerable children safe,” said Cllr Jenner

Powys’ head of finance, Jane Thomas said: “It’s important to note that when a budget is set at the beginning of the year it is an estimate of where we expect things to be, but they do change."

Ms Thomas said if or when that money is released will be reviewed later in the financial year.

The decision was approved unanimously by cabinet and the funding transfers up to a maximum of £1.854 million from the council's budget management reserve, will be go to a full council meeting to be decided.

A spokesman for Powys Teaching Health Board said: “We continue to work with in partnership with PCC so that together, we ensure that children and young people in Powys receive care that is safe and effective.”