Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
To provide Members with the latest financial
monitoring information for the year relating to: the revenue
budget, capital programme and income collection.
Key Decision identified as Financial Management Report 2019/20 in the Notice of Key Decisions published on 22 January 2020.
Councillor L D Carter, Cabinet Member: Finance, Commercial Services & Economic Development, presented the report of the Director: Finance & Human Resources (Chief Financial Officer).
The Service & Financial Planning Strategy, also considered at this meeting, set the context of the continuing and prolonged financial challenges facing the Council in the medium term due to significant reductions in Government funding and increased demand for services, such as care for vulnerable adults and children, inflation and other pressures. It also emphasised the high degree of uncertainty over future funding beyond next year. The projected year-end position for 2019/20 was that spend would be within budget with £1.1m unused contingency funds estimated to be available at the end of the year. The final outturn would depend on the level of any unexpected pressures in the last couple of months of the year, for example additional social care costs or road gritting costs should the weather over the remaining winter period be particularly severe.
This placed the Council in a robust position as it moved into 2020/21 and demonstrated a continuation of the Council’s long track record of active and effective financial management despite the severe financial challenges that the Council had faced. The Council continued to exercise a high degree of financial control through active budget management by Cabinet Members, Senior Managers and budget holders across the organisation. The Council’s aim was to sustain this position over the final few weeks of the year but also to look to make further improvements, as in previous years, where possible in order to maximise the outturn position for 2020/21.
Children’s Safeguarding and Family Support continued to be a key area of pressure with additional investment of £3.320m required, an increase of £0.249m since the last report and had a cost improvement plan in place to reduce costs and deliver savings. The plan was monitored on a regular basis both by senior managers and Cabinet Members.
Adult Social Care required additional investment of £1.945m, an increase of £0.904m since the last report, which related to purchasing care packages. A cost improvement plan was in place which was regularly monitored.
Education & Corporate Parenting was also under pressure with a projected overspend of £0.429m, a reduction of £0.049m since the last report. This was largely due to additional costs for school transport for pupils with high needs. Work to mitigate the pressures was ongoing.
The capital programme totalled £53.1m for 2019/20 which included all approvals since the budget was set. At the time that the report was compiled, projected spend was 85.8% of the budget allocation.
Income collection in relation to Business Rates was ahead of target, while collection for Council Tax and Sales Ledger income were slightly behind target.
RESOLVED – that
(a) it be noted that 2019/20 revenue spending is currently projected to be within budget and that SMT will continue to work to sustain this position and the use of contingency detailed in section 5 of the associated report be approved;
(b) the position in relation to capital spend be noted; and
(c) the collection rates for NNDR, council tax and sales ledger be noted.
Report author: Ken Clarke
Publication date: 26/02/2020
Date of decision: 20/02/2020
Decided at meeting: 20/02/2020 - Cabinet