Finance chiefs at Hertfordshire County Council are forecasting an overspend of £15.7m by the end of the financial year (23/24).

Officers had previously been forecasting an overspend of £13.4m by the end of 2023/24.

But on Thursday (February 8) the council’s resources and performance cabinet panel were told that that estimate had now increased by £2.3m.

Increasing demand for services and escalating costs teamed with the impact of inflation are said to have had an impact on council spending.

Cost-saving measures brought in earlier this year – including a freeze on recruitment to all non-essential posts – have not been sufficient.

According to a report presented to councillors, over the three months between the end of September and the end of December, children service’s spending increased by £2.8m and adult care services by £1.3m.

That means that over the course of the full financial year children’s services are now expected to have overspent their £233m budget by almost £19m.

Overall the county council has an annual revenue budget that is just over £1bn.

Meanwhile it was also reported to the panel that schools’ budgets were now forecast to overspend by £7.3m – with an overspend of £10.3m forecast on the High Needs lock, which provides SEND support.