- Director of Finance to report.
Councillor S. Currie, Chair of the Self-Regulation Select Commission, introduced Stuart Booth, Director of Finance, Joanne Robertson, CYPS and Schools’ Finance Manager (Financial Services, Resources Directorate), and Paul Dempsey, Service Manager for Family Placements and Residential (Safeguarding Children and Families’ Services, Children and Young People’s Services Directorate).
The Director of Finance presented the submitted report on budget monitoring information for the period ending 31st August, 2014, for the first five months of the 2014/2015 financial year. This had been considered at the Cabinet Meeting that had been held on 15th October, 2014 (Minute No. C73 refers).
Overall, the Council was forecast to over-spend on the 2014/2015 Revenue Budget by £3.105millions. This represented an increase of 1.5% against the total budget. The main reasons for the overspend related to continuing service demand and cost pressures for safeguarding vulnerable children and young people across the Borough, cost pressures relating from some schools converting to academies, income pressures within the Economic and Development Services Directorate and ICT department, and demand pressures for Direct Payments within older people and physical and sensory disability clients.
Other information included: -
· 44 employees had been approved to access voluntary early retirement/voluntary severance, and 34 applications were currently being considered. Savings arising from the approved applications had been reflected in the forecast outturn position;
· The Chief Executive had used his delegated authority to implement a moratorium on non-essential spend;
· There were a small number of historic recurrent budget pressures across the Council where permission had been sought for a permanent budget virement to address these;
· Revenue staff savings from the day of industrial action that had taken place on 10th July, 2014, had amounted to £86,000 and had been used to reduce staff cost pressures;
· Continued close management of spend remained essential if the Council was to deliver a balanced outturn, in-year financial performance and overall financial resilience;
· It was forecast that the budgeted levels of Council Tax and Business rates would be achieved;
· The agency, consultancy and non-contractual overtime costs for each Directorate were considered at their outturn for the 2013/2014 financial year, and a comparison of spend at August 2013 and August 2014 was supplied. Overall, all spends as at August 2014 were lower than the same point in 2013.
The submitted report provided information about the annual budget allocation for 2014/2015 for each Directorate/Service and the Housing Revenue Account, their projected outturn and the forecast variation after actions. A commentary was also provided that outlined the reasons for the variations against annual budget at appendix one.
The submitted report outlined the proposals that the Cabinet had accepted to allow the £1.4 million under-spend from the voluntary early retirement and voluntary severance budget. The virements to Services were outlined along with why they were necessary: -
· £700k recurrent ICT income pressure;
· £97k to address the forecast recurrent income pressure in Parking Services;
· £437k to address the non-delivery of corporate commissioning savings targets set in the previous years;
· £166k to address previous years’ unrealisable ... view the full minutes text for item 33
- Director of Finance to report.
Councillor Hoddinott, Deputy Leader, introduced a report by the Director of Finance which provided details of progress for the first five months of this financial year. It was currently forecast that the Council would overspend against its Budget by £3.105m (+1.5%).
The main reasons for the forecast overspend were:-
· The continuing service demand and cost pressures for safeguarding vulnerable children across the Borough.
· Cost pressures arising from some schools converting to academies.
· Income pressures within Environment and Development Services and ICT.
· Demand pressures for Direct Payments within Older People and Physical and Sensory Disability clients.
Following Cabinet’s approval to provide a window of opportunity for Voluntary Early Retirement/Voluntary Severance (VER/VS) permission had been given for forty-four employees to leave the Council and decisions regarding thirty-four applications were pending. Savings arising from these staff releases were reflected in the forecast outturn position.
Members were asked to note that on 2nd September, 2014 the Chief Executive used his delegated authority (Cabinet Minute No. C24 6th August, 2014) to implement a moratorium on non-essential spend. This would assist with reducing the forecast overspend.
There were a small number of historic, recurrent budget pressures across the Council. Approval was requested within this report for a permanent budget virement (realignment of budget) to address these, which related to:-
· £700k recurrent ICT income pressure due to the renegotiated prices charged to Schools for the Rotherham Grid for Learning and a number of schools leaving the service (£387k) and recurrent unachievable income targets due to reduced headcount across the Council and reduced customer ICT development spend (£313k). It should be noted that this income pressure exists despite a significant reduction in staff and other related costs within the ICT service over the last 3 years.
· £97k to address the forecast recurrent income pressure in Parking Services due to the likely impact of the new Tesco store.
· £437k to address the non-delivery of the corporate commissioning savings target set in previous years. Members should note that current directorate commissioning savings targets are being delivered.
· £166k to address a previous year’s unrealisable income targets associated with proposed Housing related Customer services developments.
Additionally, Cabinet was asked to formally approve virement of the uncommitted balance of the Central Services Local Investment Budget (£120k) to provide additional support services for victims, families and those affected by Child Sexual Exploitation as announced by the Leader of the Council.
Revenue staff savings from the day of industrial action (10th July, 2014) amounted to £86k. Cabinet was asked to support a recommendation that these savings be utilised to reduce staff cost pressures contained within Appendix 1 which were part of the overall forecast Council overspend.
Continued close management of spend remained essential if the Council was to deliver a balanced outturn and preserve its successful track record in managing both its in year financial performance and its overall financial resilience.
It was also suggested that the continuing service demand and cost pressures for safeguarding vulnerable children across the Borough ... view the full minutes text for item 73