Cllr L D Carter
Key Decision identified as Financial Management 2019/20 in the Notice of Key Decisions published on 4 December 2019.
Reserved for Council.
Councillor L D Carter, Cabinet Member for Finance, Commercial Services and the Economy presented the report of the Assistant Director: Finance & Human Resources, Chief Finance Officer.
Cabinet Members noted that the net outturn position for 2019/20 was currently projected to be within budget at year end after applying funding from the Council’s contingency. The centrally held contingency was available to meet funding pressures and any unforeseen costs with any balance remaining at year-end used to support the medium term service and financial planning strategy in future years. The current projection was that £2.0m of the contingency would still be available at year-end, reduction of £0.3m since the last report mainly due to increasedpressures in Children’s Safeguarding
This was a positive position as £6.1m savings were required to balance the 2019/20 budget although significant pressures were being experienced in a number of service areas. The aim was to reduce the impact of those pressures and improve the overall position further during the remainder of the year.
Adult Social Care currently required an investment of £1.041m, a small increase of £0.058m since the last report, due to the cost of purchasing care packages. A cost improvement plan was in place and being closely monitored. Children’s Safeguarding & Family Support continued to be a key pressure area with additional investment of £3.072m required (an increase of £0.993m since the last report), mainly due to the cost of placements for Looked after Children. This position was after applying £1.647m one off balances and contingencies, set aside at last year end to support the delivery of the cost improvement plan. The cost improvement plan in place is designed to deliver efficiencies over the remainder of the year and medium term. Education & Corporate Parenting was also under pressure with a projected overspend of £0.478m (a reduction of £0.289m since the last report), largely due to additional costs for school transport for pupils with high needs. Work to mitigate the pressures was ongoing and it was noted that there may be further opportunities for additional savings once the current review of Home to school transport is completed.
There were a number of variations from the approved budget, including some beneficial variances as set out in the report.
The funding outlook for the medium term was still very uncertain. The Government was proposing major changes to the local government finance system which were scheduled for implementation in April 2021. More detail on the medium term position was set out in the separate Service and Financial Planning Strategy report.
The Capital programme totalled £53.1m which included all approvals since the budget was set. Projected spend was 95.5% of the budget allocation. There were a number of new allocations and slippage which required approval and these were listed in Appendix 3 to the report.
The Income monitoring position was noted; sales ledger and business rate collection were ahead of target, but council tax collection was slightly behind target.
Councillor Carter commended the efforts of the Chief Financial Officer and all Council teams delivering services to the people of Telford & Wrekin.
(a) that it be noted that 2019/20 revenue spending is currently projected to be within budget and work will continue with SMT to sustain this position;
(b) the position in relation to capital spend be noted and to RECOMMEND TO COUNCIL that the changes to the capital programme detailed in Appendix 3 of the report be approved; and
(c) the collection rates for NNDR, council tax and sales ledger be noted.