Agenda item

Revenue Budget Monitoring – Final Outturn 2019/20


As detailed in the recommendations.


Councillor Banks introduced the Revenue Budget Monitoring – Final Outturn 2019/20 report which provided the outturn position for the Council Fund and Housing Revenue Account.


            The Statement of Accounts would be subject to audit over the summer and the final audited accounts would be presented to Audit Committee in September for formal approval.


            As had been reported previously, specific areas were under tactical review to further reduce the overspend position, with the outcome of those not being fully known until late in the accounts closedown programme.  The main areas under review were the final outcome of the Single Person Discount Scheme and the ongoing review of the complex Central Loans and Investment Account.


            Measures had been introduced to review and challenge non-essential spend and recruitment to vacancies with the aim of reducing in-year expenditure to ‘dampen’ the projected overspend at that time.  That work had resulted in a positive impact on the outturn position.


            The response to the emergency situation with Covid-19 was immediate with impacts on Council services.  Reductions in projected expenditure no longer required in mid-late March, as some services were adjusted in response, also had a positive effect on the outturn position.


            The Corporate Finance Manager added that, as in previous years, there were late awards of grant from Welsh Government (WG), the Health Board and other third parties.  The positive movements for items under review and additional grant funding totalled £1.108M.  The cumulative effect of other movements was a further positive impact of £0.855M on the outturn position.


            The final year end position was:


            Council Fund


·         An operating surplus of £0.439M (£1.524M deficit at Month 11)

·         A Contingency Reserve balance as at 31st March 2020 of £2.370M


Housing Revenue Account (HRA)


·         Net in year expenditure was £0.686M lower than budget

·         A closing un-earmarked balance as at 31st March 2020 of £2.008M


When considering the final year end position, it was acknowledged that there had been a significant movement from Month 10. However, as a proportion, the positive movement of £1.963M from Month 10 to year end was only 0.72% of the Annual Budget of £271.350M. There were a number of factors influencing the movement and they were detailed in the report.


The Chief Executive added that it was important to note that the majority of the positive budget movements gave only a one-off benefit and would not have been material to the budget-setting process for 2020/21.  Had those movements been known at the time of budget-setting then Council would have been advised to increase the Contingency Reserve to safeguard against the significant open risks that were reported at the time.


The Corporate Finance Manager highlighted areas of the report: the overall position; significant movements; achievement of planned in-year efficiencies; reserves and balances; and council fund earmarked reserves 2019/20.


Councillor Carver, as Chair of Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee made the following comments:


“In these difficult and demanding times, Council staff are to be congratulated on their financial achievements in keeping on top of COVID-19 challenges which six months ago were unexpected.


However, I am concerned that the Annual Variance for Transportation is 11.35% of the Approved Budget.


With regard to Out of County Placements, it is still my view as suggested previously, that costs for Out of County Placements, which are so unpredictable, should be serviced from a central Welsh Government budget, rather than from a Council's resources. That would of course obviously require a change in Welsh Government policy/legislation”.




(a)       That the overall report and the Council Fund contingency sum as at 31st March 2020 be noted; and


(b)       That the final level of balances on the Housing Revenue Account as at 31st March 2020 be noted.

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