Agenda item

Financial Year 2022/23 - Quarter Three Revenue Budget Monitoring

Report of the Chief Executive



Councillor Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Finance, Development Management and Strategic Planning, presented the report setting out the revenue forecast position for 2022/23 as at the end of November 2022, updated for any known significant changes in December 2022, for the third quarter budget monitoring period.


He explained that the current forecast indicated an underlying overspend for the year of £15.697m with one off mitigations in place resulting in a net overspend for the year of £5.037m. It was proposed that this overspend be met from the £8.8m inflation reserves that were set aside to cover the anticipated cost of inflation during 2022/23. He drew attention to net demand within Children’s Services, though the number of Children in Care was within the target range, and necessary use of some agency staff. He stated 93% of identified savings were forecast to be achieved, which was a very good rate.


Councillor Botterill concluded that despite very significant inflation, unforecast pay award costs, and contract price rises, the overall position remained under control and sound.


Councillor Graham Wright, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee reported that the Committee met on the 24 January 2023 to consider the report briefly, which had been considered in more detail by the Financial Planning Task Group.


Councillor Gavin Grant, Vice-Chairman of the Financial Planning Task Group, highlighted the rise in the Dedicated Schools Grant deficit as set out in the report, asking about the implications of the rise. The Leader noted the deficit in high needs funding was a national issue, and the government had delayed further decisions on the matter.


Councillor Ian Thorn asked about the potential for further reductions in the forecast overspend position, and sought details on the proposed earmarked reserved for investment in the county’s road sigh infrastructure. The Cabinet commented that a plan was being developed for how this would be delivered.


Councillor Jon Hubbard noted that the number of Children in Care in Wiltshire was low compared to comparator authorities, and whether if there was a rise to similar levels there was adequate funding in the latent demand reserves. It was stated that reserve was to deal with demand issues arising from the persisting effect of Covid lockdowns, but that the council was in a good position for further resource due to prevention work.


At the conclusion of discussion, it was,




That Cabinet Approve:


a)    the utilisation of the inflation reserve to fund the net overspend, currently forecast at £5.037m, in 2022/23;


b)    the transfer of £0.015m in 2022/23 and £0.045m in 2023/24 from the SEN commissioning reserve to fund the SEND Youth Voice Pioneer Programme; and


c)    The transfer of the £16.5m Budget Equalisation Reserve and the balance remaining in the Inflation Reserves, estimated at £3.8m at the end of the year, as follows:


a.               £7m to the General Fund Reserve

b.              £10m to a new earmarked reserve for accommodation needs

c.               £2m to the Transformation Reserve to support the community led Community Development pilots 

d.              £0.5m to a new earmarked reserve for investment in the county’s road sign infrastructure, and

e.               The remaining balance to the Business Plan Priority Reserve.


That Cabinet Note:


a)    the current revenue budget is forecast to overspend by £5.037m by the end of the financial year.


b)     the current forecast savings delivery performance for the year.


Reason for Decision:


To inform effective decision making and ensure sound financial management as part of the Councils overall control environment.


To inform Cabinet on the forecast revenue financial position of the Council for the financial year 2022/23 as at quarter 3 (31 December 2022), including delivery of approved savings for the year.


Supporting documents: