Agenda item



            That the report be received and noted. 



The Finance Manager introduced a report to provide members with the Revenue Budget Monitoring 2015/16 (Month 2) information for the Council Fund and Housing Revenue account (HRA) which was being submitted to Cabinet on 14 July 2015.   


                        As in previous years, during the early part of the 2015/16 financial year Corporate Finance resources had been dedicated to the closure of the accounts for 2014/15 to ensure that the statutory deadline for completion of the draft Statement of Accounts by the end of June was achieved.  The draft Statement of Accounts was to be presented to Audit Committee on 15 July 2015.  The Finance Manager explained that the 2015/16 budget included £12.874m of efficiencies relating to Business Planning and Corporate Financing efficiencies across Portfolios.  Programme Boards had been established for each Portfolio which were attended by both Officers and Members, with the remit of tracking efficiencies and highlighting risks and mitigating actions in relation to the achievement of the 2015/16 efficiencies.  Paragraphs 3.06 to 3.22 highlighted the risks identified through the work on efficiencies and budget forecasting.  There was a projected underspend of £0.300m against a new pressure of £0.338m in respect of the transfer of the responsibility for the former Independent Living Fund from UK Government to devolved administrations and because of a delay in the increase in planning fees by Welsh Government which will not now take place until 1 October 2015.  The Finance Manager commented on fluctuating recycle sale values and the volatility in demand for Out of County Placements which could not be predicted with any certainty.  The final level of Council Fund Contingency Reserve brought forward into 2015/16 was £4.745m subject to Audit.  There were no significant variances identified at this stage within the Housing Revenue Account (HRA).     


                        In response to a query from Councillor Ron Hampson about Out of County Placements, the Chief Executive indicated that the area would continue to be monitored but added that as the service was demand led, costs on the service could not be predicted. 


                        Councillor Arnold Woolley referred to the issue of recycling and said that pressures on the service had been mitigated by an increase in the recycling rates to 58% and the work undertaken by Streetscene, which he felt should be commended.  He suggested that this could have a positive effect on the pressure.  The Chief Executive explained that some of the markets for the sale of recyclables had variable performance.


                        Councillor Nigel Steele-Mortimer raised concern that the efficiency of £0.203m for funding for Voluntary Sector Organisations would not be achieved as the payments were in the control of the Council.  In response, the Corporate Finance Manager said that there had been an error in the 2015/16 budget as the figure should have been for a period of three years not for one year. 


                        On the projected overspend of £0.170m for Children’s Services (Family Placement), Councillor Andy Dunbobbin felt that this figure would increase due to the cuts to benefits such as Tax Credits.  The Chief Executive said that the service had been under significant pressure due to the number of referrals and added that the full outcome of the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) report was still awaited.


                        Councillor Marion Bateman sought clarification on the projected shortfall in income of £0.150m from the gas engines at Brookhill and Standard Landfill Sites due to issues with the electrical equipment.  It was agreed that the Corporate Finance Manager would provide a written response.  The Chief Executive said that a plan for more efficient machinery had been agreed. 




            That the report be received and noted. 


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