Health and social care finances back in the black

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The body responsible for health and social care services in Argyll and Bute has provisionally ended the financial year with a surplus of nearly £700,000 and with reserves of £21.2million.

The Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) report states that the end of the 2021/22 year arrived with an underspend of £682,000.

The report says the HSCP no longer has any liability for debt, as it has now fully honoured its repayment to Argyll and Bute Council for social care services.

Members of the HSCP’s integration joint board (IJB)  discussed the contents of the report at its last meeting before the summer council recess on Wednesday May 25.

The HSCP’s head of finance and transformation James Orr said: ‘The revenue position for the year is a favourable one.

‘The HSCP expects to be reporting that it operated within the resources available to it and that all of its outstanding debt to Argyll and Bute Council was repaid.

‘Additionally, the HSCP expects to be reporting a small surplus, totalling £682,000 for the year, which it intends to carry forward for use in future years to facilitate service transformation.

‘In respect of reserve balances, the HSCP will also be reporting a significant increase in its earmarked reserves. This is due to additional funding announced late in the year and some slippage on projects due to the pandemic.

‘These reserves – totalling £21.2m – are being carried forward for specific purposes.’

Mr Orr added: ‘Members will be aware that the HSCP has owed a substantial balance to Argyll and Bute Council. This debt related to the council having to fund overspending by the HSCP in previous years.

‘A significant repayment was made during 2020/21 and the remaining balance has been cleared during 2021/22.

‘This has been possible due to non-recurring underspends against budget and as a result of the Scottish Government providing funding for slippage against the savings programme.

‘The HSCP sought to manage its year-end position carefully in the context of increased in-year funding and non-recurring savings.

‘The settlement of the debt in full now enables the HSCP to establish its own general reserves going forward. It also means that the HSCP has no longer term balance sheet liabilities to report.’

Mr Orr added that the process of the HSCP’s finance and policy committee meeting monthly may be reviewed as a result of the improved financial position.