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Agenda item

Budget Monitoring

[Report of the Interim Chief Finance Officer. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Health.] Cabinet  to consider Quarter 1 budget monitoring report which will provide forcast spend against budget and consideration of any proposed budget virements.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Health introduced the report which set out the 2017/18 Quarter 1 (Q1) financial position; including Revenue, Capital, Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).

The report highlighted the continuing budget challenges for the Council with increased demand for services and the impact of austerity. There was a £6.2m overspend in the General fund and £0.4 overspend in the HRA.

The overspend in Children’s Service would need to be considered in the context of the recent LGA report, which described the budget challenges and pressure in Children’s Services across the country. Nonetheless, the Council were working hard to address the challenges.

The Cabinet Member had further asked the interim CFO to include more detail on how the council addresses the overall budget overspend, in the next budget monitoring report.

There were questions from Councillor Brabazon, Engert and Morris and the following information noted.

 

  • The Cabinet Member for Finance and Health offered to provide Cllr Brabazon with further details around the withdrawal of the childcare subsidy funding and a meeting if necessary.

 

·         In relation to paragraph 7.9, which set out the increased cost for care packages for younger adults with special educational needs, this overspend was connected with issues concerning trajectories and estimates instead of the choice around how the service was being delivered. The key aim was to provide outcomes that were sustainable and this principal would be followed when considering how the service will be delivered.

 

  • With regard to the underestimation of residential placements units by Children’s Services and suggestion for increased funding of the service, the Council had previously increased funding to the Children’s Service by £3m in 2016/17. The challenges being faced by Children’s Services were similar to those of other boroughs and the Council would continue to monitor the budget situation.

 

  • In relation to the voluntary sector savings, the Cabinet Member had always been clear that this saving was, as with all other savings, RAG rated, to monitor impact. The Cabinet Member agreed that this sector’s support was critical to enabling the outcomes the Council want to see across other services. The Council would constantly review savings plans, including those associated with the Voluntary Sector, and where the saving is not considered possible, examine alternative savings

 

  • There were currently seven Property Service valuers, and this team would reduce significantly, in staff number, as properties transfer to the HDV. Agreed that the interim CFO provide details of the current staffing cost of this team to Cllr Engert.

 

  • With regard to the savings estimates associated with the redundancy campaign last year, the revised savings figure was £450k.There were now safeguards to ensure that future savings estimates are put forward following a voluntary redundancy campaign and following applications being made to mitigate double counting.

 

RESOLVED

  1. To note the Q1 forecast revenue outturn for the General Fund of £6.2m overspend, including corporate items. (Section 6, Table 1 and Appendix 1);

 

  1. To note the net HRA forecast position of £0.4m overspend. (Section 7, Table 2 and Appendix 2);

 

  1. To note the latest capital position with forecast capital expenditure of £66.5m in 2017/18. (Section 9, Table 3);

 

  1. To note the risks and mitigating actions identified in the report in the context of the Council’s on-going budget management responsibilities/savings, as detailed in Appendices 3 (a) (g);

 

  1. To endorse the measures in place to reduce overspend in service areas; and

 

  1. To approve budget virements set out in section 11 and Appendix 4 of the attached report.

 

Reason for Decision

A strong financial management framework, including oversight by Members and senior management, is an essential part of delivering the Council’s priorities and statutory duties.

 

Alternative Options Considered

This is the 2017/18 Quarter 1 budget monitoring financial report. As such, there are no alternative options

 

Supporting documents: