Issue - meetings

Revenue Budget Monitoring Reports 2019/20 (Month 8)

Meeting: 16/01/2020 - Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 74)

74 Revenue Budget Monitoring 2019/20 (Month 8) pdf icon PDF 75 KB

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That having considered the Revenue Budget Monitoring 2019/20 (Month 8) report, the Committee confirms that there are no specific matters which it wishes to have reported to the Cabinet.


The Corporate Finance Manager presented a report on the revenue budget monitoring position for the Council Fund and Housing Revenue Account (HRA) as at Month 8 prior to consideration by Cabinet.  This reflected the budget position at the close of the financial year if all things remained unchanged.


The operating deficit of £1.892m was a positive movement of £0.301m compared with the previous month.  The major variances were the £2.080m overspend on Out of County Placements and the ongoing review on single person Council Tax discount entitlement which had so far generated £0.227m.  The most significant overspends were for Out of County Placements and Streetscene & Transportation, as previously reported to the Committee, and any recurring impacts had been built into the 2020/21 budget.  Having reviewed the position, the Chief Officer team had set a target to reduce the overspend position to £1.500m-1.750m by the end of the financial year.


On the tracking of planned in-year efficiencies, 91% had been achieved and this was expected to remain unchanged at year end.


On the Medium Term Financial Strategy, the implications of the Provisional Settlement received in December were currently being analysed and the findings would be reported to Council later in the month.


On Reserves and Balances, the projected year-end balance on Contingency Reserves was £2.977m.


On the HRA, a projected overspend of £0.131m would leave a closing un-earmarked balance of £1.192m, which was above the recommended guidelines on spend.


The Chief Executive said that whilst progress had been made on the overspend position, this remained a concern due to changes in demand for Out of County Placements.  Whilst significant work had been undertaken to reduce non-essential spend across portfolios, good progress was also being made on reducing school transport costs and the review of single person Council Tax discount.  Opportunities on specific grants continued to be explored and the impact of weather conditions on the winter maintenance budget was noted.  Whilst pressures had been factored into the 2020/21 budget, Out of County Placements continued to be the most significant issue, despite the positive impact of local creative solutions.


In response to Councillor Heesom’s question on school balances, the Corporate Finance Manager said that the projection was based on the expectation for late notification of specific grants towards the end of the financial year.  On another question, the Chief Executive provided information on the level of resources in the Internal Audit team.


Councillor Woolley raised his concerns at an inaccurate date quoted in the covering report and various discrepancies in figures.  He also questioned which items of non-essential spend had been deferred so that the impact of those decisions could be considered.  On the latter point, the Chief Executive said that suppression of such spend was an expectation and had been summarised in reports.  The Corporate Finance Manager said that the discrepancies in the report were due to the necessary rounding of quoted figures and he would check on this for the next monthly report.


Councillor Roberts asked that issues identified in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74