Issue - meetings

National Budgets Update; Implications and Updated Local Forecast

Meeting: 15/11/2018 - Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 56)

National Budgets Update; Implications and Updated Local Forecast


(a)       That the Committee supports the Stages 1 and 2 budget proposals as detailed in agenda items 6-9 for recommendation to Cabinet and Council;


(b)       That the Committee notes the recommendations from the five other Overview & Scrutiny committees;


(c)       That the Committee fully supports the #BacktheAsk strategy; and


(d)       That the Committee accepts that the questions on transport costs will need to be addressed outside of the meeting before a response can be made, and notes that further work will be done on transport anomalies to establish whether the efficiency amount can be improved.








The Chief Executive and Corporate Finance Manager gave a joint presentation on the staged annual budget process which covered the following:


·         Introduction and purpose of budget reports

·         Stage 1 of 2019/20 Budget

o   Corporate budget solutions

·         Stage 2 of 2019/20 Budget

o   Summary of portfolio business plan proposals

o   Corporate Services business plan proposals

·         Update on national budget position

·         Chancellor’s UK Budget Statement

·         Updated local budget forecast 2019/20

·         Strategic choices and options

o   Summary of Welsh budget position

o   Workforce sessions feedback

o   #BacktheAsk - campaigning position and public debate

o   #OurDay 20 November

·         Next steps and timelines


Stage 1, which had been concluded, comprised solutions for corporate finance and the costs of the whole of the organisation as detailed in the report.  Built into the £7.937m total was a minimum Council Tax rise of 4.5% which at this stage was for illustrative purposes only, net of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.  The reductions for Alternative Delivery Model (ADM) subsidies had been built into the business plans of those organisations.  Supporting method statements were shared for each proposal, with the exception of the reduction in corporate management posts and new income streams where work was ongoing, and the transport anomalies review which reflected the outcomes of previous decisions on transport entitlement.


Stage 2 proposals comprised the resolutions from each of the Overview & Scrutiny committees reviewing their respective portfolios.  These cost pressures, investments and efficiencies were to be recommended for adoption without exception.  With income and workforce/targeted post reduction cost efficiencies accounted for elsewhere in the strategy, the total business plan portfolio efficiency proposals would contribute £0.630m to the projected budget gap.  This included a total of £0.360m for Corporate Services for which the Chief Executive and Chief Officer (Governance) summarised their respective areas.


It was explained that any feedback from the Committee would be passed to Cabinet in considering the adoption of proposals for Stages 1 and 2, prior to submission to County Council.


During an update on the national budget position from the Chief Executive, Members were reminded that the Provisional Local Government Settlement indicated a 1% reduction in Aggregate External Finance (AEF) for Flintshire which equated to £1.897m when adjusted for transfers towards the national teachers’ pay award and increased demand for free school meals.


Since the projected £13.7m budget gap reported in September, a number of changes to pressures and additional pressures had resulted in a revised budget gap of £13.9m.  The impact of the cash reduction in AEF and implementation of Stage 1 and 2 proposals would leave a projected budget gap of £6.7m for 2019/20.


The Chief Executive advised that all Overview & Scrutiny committees had agreed that there was no scope for further major efficiencies beyond those already identified.  The only options for addressing the remaining budget gap were changes in Welsh Government (WG) funding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56