Agenda item

Flintshire Financial Sustainability Assessment Final report


That the Committee notes the report and confirms that there are no issues to be brought to the attention of Cabinet.


The Chief Executive introduced the report on the findings of the Council’s Financial Sustainability Assessment by Audit Wales following a review of all Councils across Wales.  The report - which acknowledged the Council’s strengths in financial planning and delivery of efficiencies - had been well received by the Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet.


A formal response was not required as the report presented a fair reflection of the Council’s financial position with no new issues raised.  In recognising the scale of the anticipated financial challenge moving forward and reliance on fairer funding from Welsh Government (WG), the report would form part of a collective evidenced case by all Councils in Wales on the budget requirement for 2022/23.


Councillor Paul Johnson said that this was an important report which accurately reflected actions being taken by the Council to improve financial resilience through a robust strategy including the use of reserves.


Whilst finding financial management actions reassuring, Sally Ellis noted that reliance on an improved Settlement from WG was described as a high-risk approach.  She asked Audit Wales colleagues for their view on what Councils could do differently to address this.


Gwilym Bury considered engagement with WG to be a reasonable step which had proved beneficial in the past and he commended the Council’s strategic planning to identify significant budgetary pressures in high-risk areas such as Social Services which were national issues.  He also noted that the Council’s position on reserves had been impacted positively by WG emergency funding during the period.  It was noted that reports for all Councils in Wales were being published on the Audit Wales website.


The Chief Executive said that a clear financial strategy communicated as part of the budget-setting process for 2022/23 was being supported by Overview & Scrutiny Committees.  There was positive engagement with WG through the Welsh Local Government Association to make the collective case for an uplift in Revenue Support Grant, which reflected an equal position of risk across Wales.


In welcoming the report with no formal recommendations, Allan Rainford noted the level of usable reserves compared with other Councils and asked whether Council Tax collection projections presented a potential risk.


In response, Matt Edwards said that the challenging position on reserves was captured in the report and was acknowledged by the Council, whilst Gwilym Bury spoke about the Council’s good track record on Council Tax collection.


The Corporate Finance Manager gave an update on improvement in Council Tax collection levels, as recently reported to Cabinet, which remained an area of focus.


The Chief Executive said that Council Tax collection forecasting for 2022/23 had been subject to robust risk assessments and could be shared privately on request.


Councillor Ian Roberts spoke about strong ongoing engagement between WG and Councils in Wales throughout the emergency.  On Council Tax collection, he welcomed the shift in approach during the emergency to support residents in need.


The recommendation was moved by Councillor Joe Johnson and seconded by Sally Ellis.




That the Committee notes the report and confirms that there are no issues to be brought to the attention of Cabinet.

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