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Agenda item

Financial Year 2021/2022 - Quarter One Revenue Budget Monitoring

Report of the Chief Executive

 

Minutes:

Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, Commissioning, IT, Digital and Commercialisation presented the report which provided detail about the Revenue Budget Monitoring position 2021/22 Quarter 1 (30 June 2021) for the financial year 2021/22 with suggested actions.

 

Cllr Church reported that the net budget set by Full Council for 2021/22 is £412.562m, being set as a one year holding position which recognised the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on funding and income generating services. It was noted that included within the budget is the planned earmarked reserve drawdowns totalling £8.444m from the Budget Equalisation and Collection Fund Volatility reserve. The budget is also supported by £20.301m one off Hardship and Emergency Funding Grant from Government in 2021/22. The quarter 1 position forecasts the Council will be underspent by £1.762m at the year end.

 

Cllr Church confirmed that the funding for the ‘Dads Matter Too’ project amounted to £12m nationally and that Wiltshire Council element of £0.125m would be transferred to a new specific reserve to fund anticipated future activity.

 

The Leader commented on the overspend in relation to the Dedicated Schools Grant and reminded Cabinet that this was an issue being faced by councils nationally, which the Government had acknowledged.

 

Cllr Pip Ridout, Chair of the Financial Planning Task Group, informed Cabinet that the Task Group had considered the report at its meeting held on 10 September 2021. The report was welcomed by the Task Group who commended the Cabinet Member and Deputy Chief Executive on the way the data was presented. Cllr Ridout and Cllr Grant, Vice-Chair of the Task Group, explained that the Task Group explored a number of areas including the controlled management of staff vacancies, impact of National Insurance changes and pressures being faced by the costs linked to Ash Die Back.

 

Cllr Ian Thorn raised question in relation to the following matters:

·       The impact of pressures associated with Covid 19 on the Latent Demand reserve during the year.  Cllr Church confirmed that the reserve is in place to protect the Council from unforeseen pressures,  and it was difficult to assess these pressures at this stage.

·       Clarification of the potential commercial savings detailed in the report. Officers confirmed that this saving was achieved through the re-procurement of Home to School, SEN and specialist transport contracts and a contract extension for Housing IT system.

·       Overspends on Access and Reablement. Officers confirmed that part of the overspend included the impact of Covid 19, specifically in relation to the Hospital Discharge Programme. It was expected that demand would continue at the same level throughout the financial year with 50% of the costs of support would be met by the Council.

·       The ‘Move Forward’ programme and seeking assurances about a reduction in costs. Cllr Mayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, and officers confirmed that there was no compromise in the quality of care provided for children in the Council’s care and this is combined with budgets and achieving the best value from available funding.

·       The early arrival time of school buses at school sites.  Cllr Church explained that the current practice was a complex issue which is widespread across the county. A written response would be provided after the meeting.

·       Clarity on savings of £7.099m not achieved.  Cllr Church and the Leader confirmed that question referred to savings not achieved during the Council’s response to Covid 19 and a more detailed response would be provided in writing.

 

Cllr Brian Mathew asked a question about the Shared Lives Programme and associated underspends. Officers explained that there was an expected underspend on salary costs due to several posts remaining vacant. 

           

Resolved:

 

1.    Cabinet noted:

a.    the current revenue budget is forecast to underspend by £1.762m by the end of the financial year.

 

b.    the current savings delivery performance for the year.

 

c.    the current forecast position of the use of Capital Receipts
flexibilities of £6.146m.

 

d.    the forecast level of reserves and budgeted draw down of £10.444m and £34.076m of section 31 Grant.

 

e.    the savings achieved through contractual activity and subsequent budget movements.

 

2.    Cabinet approved:

f.      the drawdown from the Public Health earmarked reserve of
£0.043m.

 

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 2021/22 as at Quarter 1 (30 June 2021), including delivery of approved savings.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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