The Director of Finance will submit a report (Document “AB”) which provides Members with an overview of the forecast financial position of the Council for 2018-19.
It examines the latest spend against revenue and capital budgets and forecasts the financial position at the year end. It states the Council’s current balances and reserves and forecasts school balances for the year.
That the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee review and comment on the Qtr 3 Finance Position Statement for 2018-19.
(Andrew Cross - 01274 436823)
The Director of Finance submitted a report (Document “AB”) which provided Members with an overview of the forecast financial position of the Council for 2018-19.
It examined the latest spend against revenue and capital budgets and forecasted the financial position at the year end. It stated the Council’s current balances and reserves and forecasted school balances for the year.
Based on the 31 December 2018 projection, the Council was forecasted to overspend the £358.1m net budget by £0.4m. The overspend related primarily to the area of Adults and Children’s Social Care and in the Department of Place.
It was stressed that more work needed to be done to close the budget gap going forward for 2020/21 and therefore there was a need to plan for the future, and in addition protect the reserves position.
During the discussion Members asked a number of questions on the Quarter 3 position statement, the questions together with the responses are detailed below:
A Member raised concerns around the overspend in the Department of Place and the missed targets in a number of the waste related areas. In response it was stated that mitigation measures had been put into the budget when the Council moved from weekly to fortnightly waste collection, and despite a number of initial setbacks, contamination was lessening and recycling rates were steadily improving.
The Member also raised a concern around the £0.6m overspend within Sports and Leisure which was primarily related to the use of casual staff and allowances, and he urged that the staffing costs should be brought under control as this was a significant overspend in the context of reduced Council funding.
The £200,000 loss on the Bingley Music Live festival was also alluded to by a number of Members and although the suggestion that poor ticket sales and the weather were to blame for the loss, Members expressed concern at the loss, again in the context of reduced funding and where statutory services were being affected.
A Member commented that there had been a concerted effort to increase the Council Tax base by increasing the number of homes built and increase prices to achieve income generation, however this report was thin on details on how the going for growth initiative was progressing.
In response the Head of Budgeting, Management Accounting and Projects stated that within the 18/19 budget and in future budgets one off monies from Government were difficult to plan for as they could vary year on year. He acknowledged that they were increasing the Council Tax base and this had amounted to an extra £700k in this financial year.
Members further expressed concerns on the significant overspend within Children’s Services, however no one from the Service was present at the meeting to respond to Member’s questions.
In relation to the overspend in the Department of Place, it was stated by the Assistant Director Transportation Design and Planning that senior officers within the Department were looking at the recovery plan and identifying savings to achieve a balance budget. Monthly meetings between Assistant Directors and the Strategic Director were also being held to address the budget pressures.
A Member commented that in the context of strict vacancy controls, did we have staff in the right places and he ascertained what were the level of vacancies in the Council.
The Strategic Director Health and Wellbeing stated that the CMT were looking at the budget and savings closely, in order to ensure that the overspend was kept under control.
(1) That this Committee requests that a report be presented to this Committee which sets out the reasons for the £0.6m overspend in Sports and Leisure.
(2) That this Committee also requests that a report be presented which demonstrates how Council departments are addressing overspends in their service areas and to what extent are the approaches being used robust enough to the address the overspends.
(3) That the information requested by Members in relation to vacancies be provided.
(4) That this Committee requests an update on Going for Growth.
ACTION: Director of Finance