Issue - meetings
Revenue budget monitoring 2020/21 (month 10)
(a) That having considered the Revenue Budget Monitoring 2020/21 Month 10 report, the Committee confirms that there are no specific matters to be reported to Cabinet; and
(b) That the Committee consider how the difference between the BCUHB expected and actual contribution for joint funded packages has arisen as soon as possible.
The Finance Manager presented a report on the revenue budget monitoring position for the Council Fund and Housing Revenue Account (HRA) at Month 10 prior to consideration by Cabinet. The report reflected the budget position at the close of the financial year if all things remained unchanged and took into account the latest position on Welsh Government (WG) Emergency Grant funding announcements.
On the Council Fund, the projected year-end position - without new actions to reduce cost pressures and improve the yield on efficiency planning - was an operating surplus of £0.924m, leaving a projected contingency reserve balance of £2.339 at the end of the financial year. This projection excluded the impact of the pay award to be met by reserves. The main reasons for the favourable movement of £0.552m from month 9 were set out in the report.
An update was provided on the key financial risks and additional risks on free school meals and severe weather impact, together with the position on the achievement of planned in-year efficiencies as detailed in the report. On un-earmarked reserves, it was noted that negotiations with WG were ongoing on the eligibility of some grant funding claims.
On the HRA, a projected underspend of £1.642m would leave a closing un-earmarked balance of £3.651m, which was above the recommended guidelines on spend.
Councillor Richard Jones raised concerns about the implications of the lesser contribution by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) towards joint-funded care packages; he said that agreements should be challenged to avoid the Council identifying mitigating measures to accommodate such losses. The Finance Manager described the process for agreeing joint funding arrangements and the challenges on accurate projections for budget purposes. The Corporate Finance Manager said that more information on the reason for the difference could be determined and shared at the next meeting.
On significant movements, Councillor Jones asked that Hardship Fund claims in Streetscene & Transportation be separated for future reports. He also asked about the perceived increase in risk which had led to an additional contribution for corporate bad debt provision. The Chief Officer (Governance) explained that the position had been impacted by decisions taken on the safety of debt enforcement due to the national emergency. The Corporate Finance Manager said that it was prudent for the Council to set aside sufficient contributions as part of the year-end accounting process.
Speaking in support of Councillor Jones’ concerns on joint-funded care packages, Councillor Ian Roberts cited increased costs of care providers as a factor. He suggested that the Committee may wish to request a more detailed report on the matter.
The Chairman suggested that it was appropriate to refer the topic to the Social & Health Care Overview & Scrutiny Committee.
Councillor Banks thanked officers for the positive report. On the requests for carry forward of funding, he commended the work of the teams in Revenues and Internal Audit throughout the emergency situation.
The Chief Officer (Governance) also paid tribute to those involved in ensuring a positive year-end outturn on the budget, ... view the full minutes text for item 70