Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council are set to object to the Conservative elected Mayor's budget this Thursday, the 7th February. Their motion demands a plan to turn round Children’s Services. The service, which is now managed by Plymouth City Council following two failed OFSTED inspections, is set to overspend by more than four million pounds by the end of the current financial year.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, Cllr Steve Darling, said: “We usually put a number of objections forward at budget time but we felt the crucial issue for the local authority is to tackle the continuing challenges that Torbay faces in Children’s Services. We have the second highest number of children taken into care in the UK, here in Torbay. The Council needs to turn the tide on poverty in the Bay by improving this service and ensuring that, whatever activity Torbay is undertaking, it considers how it could be reducing poverty.”
The proposer of the motion, the Torquay Liberal Democrat councillor Nick Pentney, said: “Foster carers are the backbone of the service and we need to ensure that more of our children in care are supported by Torbay foster carers. We can do this by adequately supporting them every hour of every week.. We also need to ensure that that there is a clear retention and recruitment strategy for social workers. By getting this budget properly managed Torbay can help those most in need in our community and stop the need for financial freezes to the whole Council budget resulting in Torbay becoming even more tired and neglected.”
The motion is as follows -
That the Council formally objects to the elected Mayor’s revenue budget proposals on the basis that:
There are serious issues facing our communities in Torbay; the levels of poverty in Torbay continue to increase significantly, Torbay has the second highest number of children who are looked after in the country (per head of population), our Children’s Services is set to incur a 4 million poundoverspend in the current year which has resulted in a spending freeze on other services across Torbay, so that our built environment and public open space has become even more tired and neglected. Furthermore, the Elected Mayor has failed to identify a clear strategy to stabilise the overspend of the service.
The service particularly needs additional wrap around support for foster carers and an improved strategy for the retention and recruitment of social workers. Therefore, Council object to the Elected Mayor’s budget on the basis that it should identify funding of a minimum £150,000 to support working on these specific areas.
In accordance with the Constitution at F2.9, the Council therefore requires the elected Mayor to consider this objection by 14 February 2019 and either:
a) submit a revision of the estimates or amounts, as amended by the elected Mayor with the reasons for any amendments made to the estimates or amounts, to the Council for its consideration; or
b) inform the Council of any disagreement that the elected Mayor has with any of the Council’s objections and the elected Mayor’s reasons for any such disagreement.
Proposed by Councillor Pentney
Seconded by Councillor Darling (S)