NEW fears have been raised over the turmoil in York's adult social care services.
A report by external auditors Mazars for City of York Council said the service was not responding quickly enough to the budget pressures it faces and the challenge of dealing with an ageing population.
It is the latest of a series of concerns to have been raised about the department with recent financial reports showing the health & wellbeing department has overspent by £1.391 million.
The auditors said: “Our view is that financial management and commissioning in the adult social care service needs to improve and this service has not responded quickly and effectively enough to the challenges that it faces.
“If the underlying financial pressures are not robustly addressed and actions to secure significant future base budget reductions are not effective, there is a risk that the council will not be in a position to deliver the best possible value for money in adult social care service.”
The Mazars report, due to go before the audit and governance committee next Wednesday, has outlined an “urgent” need to improve financial management and the information it obtains about performance, and to work with partners to reduce bed blocking in York Hospital. – when people are ready to leave but do not have the support to be discharged or have nowhere suitable to go.
The report notes that chief executive of the council, Kersten England, has recognised there is “insufficient progress” and has instituted an urgent recovery process.
In recent times there have been serious concerns flagged up about the department. In June two interim assistant directors on salaries of more than £750 a day were brought in following the departure of Kathy Clark and Graham Terry, who have resigned as assistant directors in adult social care. Around the same time, Cllr Linsay Cunningham-Cross took over cabinet member responsibility for health, replacing Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing.
Concerns have also been expressed about apparent delays and secrecy surrounding plans for multi-million pound super care homes due to be built on the Lowfield and Burnholme school sites.
The report will be considered by the council's audit and governance committee on July 30.