Issue - meetings

Wiltshire Council’s Financial Plan Update 2019/20

Meeting: 05/02/2019 - Cabinet (Item 18)

18 Wiltshire Council’s Financial Plan Update 2019/20

    Report by Corporate Directors Dr Carlton Brand, Alistair Cunningham and Terence Herbert.

Supporting documents:


The Leader introduced the Financial Plan, stating that the process undertaken to consult on the Plan was open and transparent.  She confirmed that the report had been discussed in detail with the public, the Financial Planning Task Group and the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, prior to its consideration by the Cabinet and ultimately Council at the end of February 2019. 


Cllr Philip Whitehead presented the report which provided an update on the 2019/20 budget and medium term financial strategy, and set out the budget setting proposals, giving details that feed into the budget setting reports.


In presenting the report, Cllr Whitehead indicated that the Council’s strategic aims and priorities drove the medium term financial planning process, with changes in resource allocation determined in accordance with policies and priorities of the Council’s 2017-2027 business plan. A key focus being to ensure a strong sustainable financial base during the current challenging times. The key changes in the Plan reflect the revised forecast for the increasing demand for care for the vulnerable, and the delay in Government determining a new fairer funding settlement.


Cllr Whitehead explained that (i) the Council is moving toward a five-year view of the budget and confirmed that the budget was fairly stable with an increase of £10m each year; (ii) the growth and challenges to the Council spending; (iii) funding sources for the budget; (iv) the level of savings required for 2019/20; and (v) budget assumptions for future years.  Cllr Whitehead reported that he was confident that the Council was currently in a good position to set a strong Financial Plan for the years ahead and thanked officers for their assistance in putting the proposals together.


Councillor Graham Wright, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, explained that the process for consulting on the Financial plan for 2019/20 was a significant improvement over the process employed in previous years. He welcomed the early engagement with Scrutiny and thanked officers for their input.  He confirmed that the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee undertook a robust and detailed consideration of the proposals.


Cllr Thorn, Chair of the Financial Planning Task Group, in echoing the comments of Cllr Wright, commented on improvements to the process, the early availability of information and discussions held.  He also thanked officers for their contributions towards the process.  In response to questions from Cllr Thorn about creative ways of engaging backbench members in the process, Cllr Whitehead agreed that this was being considered for the next and future budget setting processes. Cllr Whitehead also reminded members that backbenchers were encouraged to suggest budget saving proposals at any time during the year and didn’t have to confine their contribution to just the budget setting process. 


Resolved: To recommend that Council


1.    To endorse the update of the Financial Plan for 2019/20;


2.    Approve the growth and savings proposals summarised in the report to provide a net revenue budget for 2019/20 of £332.378 million.


3.    To set the Council’s total net expenditure budget for 2019/20 at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18