Issue - meetings

Financial Year 2023/24 - Quarter One Revenue Budget Monitoring

Meeting: 12/09/2023 - Cabinet (Item 69)

69 Financial Year 2023/24 - Quarter One Revenue Budget Monitoring

Report of the Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive.

Supporting documents:


Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Finance, Development Management, and Strategic Planning, presented a report which provided details of the revenue budget monitoring forecast for the first quarter of the financial year 2023/24. This was based on the position at the end of June 2023, and also provided an update on the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and budget gap for the financial year 2024-24 and beyond.


It was stated that Wiltshire’s revenue budget position compared favourably with neighbouring and comparator authorities, with a current net overspend of only £0.311m, a variance which could be managed within the financial year. In respect of savings targets only 8% were not currently forecast to be achieved by the end of the year.


Cabinet noted the update and the proposals contained within the report, including several recommendations for budget changes requiring Full Council approval. The pressures on all councils due to cost escalations particularly in Adult and Children’s social care, and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Transport, were noted, with thanks expressed to officers for their prudent management of the financial position.


Cllr Pip Ridout, Chairman of the Financial Planning Task Group, endorsed the comments of the Cabinet Member, and expressed no significant concerns with the quarter one update, with the Task Group to focus on the savings position further in quarter two. Cllr Graham Wright, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, welcomed the report and update and sought reassurance the council was not overconfident in its position. It was stated that the Cabinet and officers ensured all assessments were realistic and appropriate, and residents could be assured that Wiltshire Council was not in a severe position financially.


Cllr Gordon King, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, congratulated the Cabinet and management team for a good start financially with the quarter one update. He drew attention to ongoing risks such as prevalence of high inflation, vacancy rates among key workers, and undeliverable savings and how these could be managed.


Cllr Botterill drew attention to the report details including £2m having been set aside from earmarked reserves to mitigate inflationary increases, and if this continued further mitigation would be considered. He emphasised the unlikely savings were included within departmental budgets, and so fully accounted for if they were not achieved.


The Leader noted some savings had not been able to be delivered due to legislative changes. He also noted a risk regarding the high needs block override, for provision of children with Special Educational Needs, which was a national issue. The spending was through the Department for Education not the council, and formed the majority of the overspend for the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), and as an accounting issue that deficit if counted as part of the council’s debt would be more significant, but that the council was taking preventative measures where it could.


Cllr Jon Hubbard offered congratulations on the council’s financial position as compared to many other authorities. In relation to Children’s Services, he highlighted the early help on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69