MORE than £21 million has been slashed from spending at Worcestershire County Council in just nine months - despite bosses admitting they may miss their targets.

A new report on the finances at County Hall has revealed that £21.7 million was saved between April and December under the controversial 'FutureFit' plan.

But a target to plug a gap of £27.5 million for the entire 2015/16 financial year, which ends in three weeks, is likely to be missed.

The new report says "around half" of the remaining cuts target "is at greater risk of not being delivered".

Directors across the board have now been told to restrain as many costs as possible or even raid their reserve funds if needed to ensure the budget stands up.

The savings requirement is around £25 million for the 2016/17 financial year but for 2017/18 it is forecast to rise to £34 million.

The report also reveals how the general revenue budget of £326 million could spill £500,000 into the red, but the figure is only 0.2 per cent of the total.

The biggest pressure is still the 700-plus children in care, a record tally, which means spending on children's services is still on track to balloon £5.8 million over the previously-set budget.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader, said: "Broadly, we're heading for an (end of year) within the cash limits set at the start.

"Obviously there are still pressures around children's services, but it's swings and roundabouts."

Back in May 2014 the Conservative leadership launched a new operating model aimed at commissioning around 85 per cent of services to new providers by 2018, with around 1,500 full-time equivalent in-house jobs going.

The work so far includes Babcock International taking over school support, with 391 jobs being transferred over and private company Jacobs UK winning the deal for the property design unit, with 30 in-house roles going.

Hewlett Packard now does the IT, with 46 jobs transferring over and 19 redundancies made, while a firm called Liberata has taken over finance, admin and HR work, affecting 106 positions.

The Babcock deal has proved the most controversial, with the company telling staff around 103 jobs would need to go three weeks after the contract started.