Cabinet Portfolio: - Corporate Services and Finance
Strategic Directorate: - Finance and Customer Services
Consideration was given to a report that was submitted for pre-decision scrutiny ahead of the Cabinet meeting scheduled for 25 January 2021 that set out the financial position of the Council as at the end of November 2020. The Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Finance, the Strategic Director - Finance and Customer Services and the Head of Corporate Finance attended the meeting to present the report.
The Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services advised that the report was the latest in a series of financial monitoring reports and noted that the current report detailed the Council’s the financial position as at the end of November 2020. The Cabinet Member stated that as at November 2020, the Council had a forecast year-end overspend of £23.6m on the General Fund, this however was mitigated in part by the Governments provision of COVID-19 emergency support grant and a Sales, Fees and Charges Income Compensation scheme that meant that the net forecast budget outturn was showing a £0.9m overspend was being forecast.
The report provided a full and detailed analysis on the current budget position (as at November 2020) for each of the Council’s directorates as well as current information regarding the Council’s Housing Revenue Account and Capital Programme.
The Strategic Director – Finance and Customer Services assured members that despite the current projected overspend of £0.9m, that there was high confidence that there would be a balanced budget position by the end of the financial year.
The Chair noted the delayed implementation of the savings that had been detailed in the budget and asked what activity was taking place with directorates to ensure that the required savings that had been deferred until next year would be delivered. The Strategic Director advised that work was ongoing with directorates to ensure that the required savings were delivered and assured members that directorates understood clearly that it was essential that the savings that had been deferred to next year were delivered.
Members noted how well, in comparison to many other local authorities that the Council was managing the financial challenges created by the pandemic.
Members asked whether the recent bad winter weather, that had included several weeks of sub-zero night-time temperatures, snow and heavy rain would create any difficulties for the budget with regards to winter maintenance. The Strategic Director advised that the work had been carried out over recent years to realign budgets and to ensure that directorate budgets were realistic would ensure that the winter maintenance budget would be able to cover the demands of the recent bad weather. The Strategic Director - Regeneration and Environment who was in attendance at the meeting advised that while extra winter maintenance activity was budgeted for it would possibly have an impact on the delivery of other services due to staff being redeployed to work on winter maintenance activities and away from other activities. The Strategic Director also assured the Chair that staffing costs were as expected and that there were no concerns related to the cost of agency staff.
The Chair thanked the Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Finance, the Strategic Director - Finance and Customer Services and the Head of Corporate Finance for attending the meeting and answering members’ questions.
That Cabinet be advised that the recommendations be supported.