Time is ‘running out’ for financially squeezed Powys County Council to deliver a package of cost savings designed to reduce its deficit, according to a report put before cabinet this week.

The financial overview report by finance portfolio holder Aled Davies stated that the authority is struggling to meet aggressive ‘deficit reduction plan’ targets, leaving the council with a projected overspend of £4.469m by the turn of the financial year.

The council has slashed £7m in efficiency savings from its budget over the past three years but still needs to find a further £4.1m by the end of the financial year in order to hit current targets.

“There has been no significant improvement on the November position. We will have updates for December but time is now running out to make these savings,” Cllr Davies told the meeting of Powys County Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, January 9.

In the report, Cllr Davies says: “It is of concern that savings delivery is becoming increasingly difficult. This raises concerns about the anticipated year end position.

“The risk within children’s services is of particular concern and in addition to the non-delivery of savings, the overspend in this service continues to rise and is the main contributor to the overall deficit position.”

The Children’s Services portfolio has seen costs spiral by £458k to a projected overspend of over £4m due in part to the delivery of improvements to children’s services under the Children’s Improvement Plan, which was implemented as the result of an inspection by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales last October, which found the council were failing to meet safe-guarding standards in several key areas. According to the report, the costs of delivering the Children’s Improvement Plan are expected to rise to over £900k over the remainder of the financial year.

The Adult Social Care budget has seen improvements of £194k to its budget position since November after the department was able to find cost savings by reducing home care packages offered as part of its Reablement scheme, a support service for people who have been ill or suffered serious injury.

Cllr Davies added: “If all the savings were delivered, based on the current service projections an overall budget out turn of £245k would be achieved.

"A number of savings continue to be reported as red and as the year progresses there is an increased risk that these will fail to be delivered.

”All services must aim to deliver their targets in order to achieve a balanced budget by year end.”