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Royal Borough cabinet to consider finance update and biodiversity

Spiralling costs in part of the council’s care services are ‘levelling off’, according to a report sent out ahead of a Royal Borough cabinet meeting.

Documents published online in advance of Thursday’s meeting include a financial update, with the council facing a £4,179,000 overspend as forecast in August.

The update says the main areas of ‘pressure’ – domiciliary care and placements for people using adult services – have been put under recovery plans and ‘the action is having an impact, with costs levelling off’.

If the overspend is not managed, the update says the borough’s financial reserves will end up being reduced to '£5,992,000, marginally above the minimum level set at council of £5,810,000'.

A focus on tighter management controls and reviews at Optalis, the council’s part-owned adult services provider, is underway, while the ‘severity and urgency’ of the situation is ‘now an agenda item at every board meeting’ at Optalis.

Overspending areas include the forecast £771,000 extra spent on nursing placements, £656,000 to support 44 older people at home and £175,000 from provider price rises.

Other overspends have come from children’s services, while the council is making less money from parking fees and fines that it expected.

The cabinet will be asked to approve £15,000 of money paid by developers as a condition of their schemes gaining planning permission to improve biodiversity.

If approved, the council will undertake a review of the mowing and cutting regime for highway verges with maintenance contractor Tivoli.

Verges are cut to maintain visibility on roads but keeping grass longer improves biodiversity.

“Appropriate roadside signage will be displayed in relevant areas to explain the reasons why verges are being managed in this way,” a document sent to cabinet members states.

Wildflowers will be planted in verges identified for a pilot project.

Cabinet will also decide whether to put in motion a referendum on the Horton and Wraysbury Neighbourhood Plan.

The meeting will take place at York House in Windsor on Thursday from 7pm.

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