CUTS to services in Ceredigion under the community well-being umbrella totalling £375,000 across four service areas have been accepted by scrutiny committee members.

The budgets of Porth Cymorth Cynnar, Porth Cynnal, Porth Gofal and the policy, performance and partnerships and public protection were discussed at the county council's healthier communities on Thursday, February 18.

Public protection must find £10,500 in savings and the same in policy, performance and partnerships, £104,000 has to be found from the Porth Gofal budget, including housing, £216,000 from Proth Cynnal and £34,000 from Porth Cymorth Cynnar.

The overall budget for 2021-22 identified for the integrated services of Porth Cymorth Cynnar is proposed to be set a £3.467million which includes cost pressures of around £165,000 requiring funding.

A report to the committee adds that current savings proposals include £29,000 from staffing changes and £5,000 savings from contracts.

A “recruitment lag” and not always filling vacant posts would make savings with council leader Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn adding she did not foresee any job losses.

Porth Cynnal’s proposed budget is £23.763million with £2.511million of cost pressures facing the specialist social care service with funding required for out of county placements for mental health support, looked after children placements and increased independent sector bed placements.

Savings of £26,000 are proposed through a review of contracts, £50,000 via a reduction in care and support packages, and £140,000 through a reduction in cost of looked after children support as numbers decline.

Head of service Sian Howys said the savings proposed protected the “main aim to put the vulnerable people and children at the centre and that they don’t have to suffer from the cuts.”

A “central pot” would be available in case of extra funding needs in a service that has a “volatility” the committee was told, reducing the risk of the service having to absorb increases.

Porth Gofal will make savings through a review of contracts, developing an in-house model for direct payments and a reduction of staff travelling expenses.

Costs pressures requiring funding include additional resources for local authority homes and support for the Camu Mlaen service, caring for adults with learning difficulties.

Questions were raised about staffing levels, how savings could be made by providing more services ‘in-house’, the protection of frontline services for vulnerable people along with community warder provision and pay rises.

Cllr Keith Evans asked why there was a pay award when there was an understanding of a public sector pay freeze across the UK wit the committee being told a one percent pay rise was being proposed across the board, with an extra £250 for those earning below £24,000 a year.

This was down to a view that “public sector workers should be awarded for what gone on in the crisis,” balanced with affordability, which is currently based on assumptions while national union discussions take place, finance officer Duncan Hall said.

The committee gave its backing to the council’s draft budget, including a 3.5 per cent council tax rise, as well as signing off proposed fee increases.

These include increases to dog breeding licences, which Cllr Bryan Davies proposed be raised by six per cent across the “range of dog breeding licences” due to an increased workload and the industry being under scrutiny.

This change was approved six votes to four, with one abstention.