Agenda item

Draft Council Fund Revenue Budget 2015/16


As detailed in the recommendation.


The Chief Executive delivered a presentation on the draft 2015/16 Council Fund Revenue Budget which covered the following areas:


·         National Overview

·         Local Overview

·         The Budget ‘gap’ explained

·         Our Budget Strategy

·         The Building Blocks

·         Big Budget Conversation

·         Make-up of the Council Budget

·         Breakdown of Current Budget

·         Tough Choices

·         Moving to a Final Budget

·         What Happens Next


He explained that following the announcement of the Final Settlement on 10 December there had been a nominal change from the Draft Settlement with the outcome being as expected.  There had been a National discussion over the consequentials of the Chancellor’s recent budget statement however he advised that the Council’s budget should be based on the Final Settlement.


The Corporate Finance Manager detailed the draft revenue budget proposals for the Council Fund for 2015/16 for approval as the basis for formal consultation with the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, and for public information and consultation where specified.  The report highlighted the level of budget deficit ‘gap’ which remained, over and above the sum of the proposals and provided details of the ongoing work to offer further proposals. 


The Chief Officer (People and Resources) highlighted the table in paragraph 4.02 of the report which provided details of the remaining budget gap on the recurring base budget of £1.760m.  Ongoing work on options to close the working gap which remained included further workforce efficiency options, other corporate financing options and further options in cost reduction in services.  Further details and assumptions made were highlighted in paragraphs 4.03 – 4.17 of the report. 


The Corporate Finance Manager provided details on the ‘Big Budget Conversation’ which had taken place earlier in the year as a way of raising awareness of the budget situation and the significant financial challenges facing the Council and to gauge the level of public acceptance of some of the difficult decisions ahead.  A summary report on the outcome of the first stage of the Big Budget Conversation was attached as Appendix A to the report.


The specific grants figure of £35,141m was provisional, with Welsh Government (WG) yet to advise of the 2015/16 level for a number of grants. 


A critical element of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) was inevitably the forecasting of future year settlements from WG.  However, the Provisional Local Government Settlement received in October 2014 provided no indication of funding for future years which highlighted the difficulties of local financial planning in such an uncertain environment.  Based on that, the annual reductions in resources needed to be assumed for the foreseeable future.  To address the financial challenges work was already underway through Portfolio Business Plans on sustainable savings options in each portfolio budget up to 2017/18.


The Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance said that in order to meet the objectives of the Cabinet, services would be defended wherever possible.  This was in addition to the meeting the Improvement Objectives outlined in the Council’s Improvement Plan.  He stressed the importance of all political groups working together during this time of austerity and welcomed notions from the forthcoming Overview and Scrutiny Committee budget meetings that could assist in protecting services.   He added that a strong as case as possible should be made for receiving consequential funding, with the emphasis being on the preventative services provided by the authority for the health and wellbeing of local residents.


The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment said Flintshire had not adopted a ‘slash and burn’ approach and closed care homes and libraries as had other local authorities.  He encouraged Cabinet Members to lobby Ministers, AM’s and MP’s for them to listen to the plight of local authorities and he thanked Cabinet Members and officers for their work on this. 


Cabinet Members concurred with the views of the Leader and Deputy Leader.




That the initial budget proposals and ongoing work to close the budget gap be endorsed, and that the proposals be referred to Overview and Scrutiny Committees for consideration.

Supporting documents: