Agenda item

PCC Precept Proposal 2023/24 and Budget

To review a report on the PCC’s precept proposals for 2023/24.


To consider the findings of a public consultation on the PCC’s proposals.


The Panel considered a report from the PCC’s Chief Financial Officer about proposed changes to the precept for the financial year 2023-24. The officer noted that, if the precept was increased by lower than the amount recommended in the report, it would be likely to require a high rate of increase in future years in order to improve service levels. 



During the discussion, points included:


·       The Chief Financial Officer was thanked for the update and for the recommendations in his report.

·       The officer was pleased to update the Panel that £171,000 of additional funding had become available since he presented his Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) at their January meeting, due to a surplus in the estimated council tax base. However, he was keen to stress that a surplus of this size was unlikely to be repeated in future years and that population changes were built into his forecasts. The extra £171,000 for 2023-24 would be used to help mitigate inflationary pressures.

·       He also noted that the government had recently confirmed the level of central and uplift grant funding.

·       It was confirmed that the specific grant of £2.265 million was not contingent on reaching their target figure of 1,197 officers by 31 March 2024 but would likely be based on achieving a headcount (not necessarily full time equivalent) of 1,189. There would also be a mid-year target.

·       It was explained that assumptions, about the quantity of and time to recruit staff, had been increased to reflect current recruitment levels and had been included with the £3.108 million savings programme, but this would regularly be reviewed depending on the wider economic outlook.

·       The PCC reported that he had, alongside local MPs, been lobbying for a review of the police funding formula and was optimistic that this would soon take place. Members of the Panel were also keen to offer their support.

·       The PCC explained that the National Police Air Service, the group providing air support to all police forces in England and Wales, had agreed that they would lease aircraft rather than purchase new aircraft one a one for one basis. The PCC felt that this would provide extra flexibility and highlighted that all PCCs in the region were keen to build up drone capacity. An evidenced based assessment would be required to establish the number of helicopters required by Wiltshire Police.

·       In response to further questions about drones, the PCC outlined the increased use of drones and Wiltshire Police drone pilots. He was in discussions with the force on how to ensure this was a dedicated police function as capability increased. 



Cllr Cave arrived at 10:30am.




The Panel then reviewed the findings of a consultation carried out by the OPCC about the proposed changes to the budget. The Panel observed that 54 percent of respondents were in favour of the full proposed increase. They also welcomed the work undertaken to reach different sections of the community. One Panel Member did note that he felt support had been higher in previous years and another stressed the importance of highlighting the sources of funding when asking questions.


After considering both reports in detail the Panel took reassurance from the majority support for the full proposed increase in the recent survey, believing it to be an indication that the public had confidence that the money would be spent wisely. They also stressed that it would be very important for them to continue to monitor how the funding was being spent to ensure value for money and achieve an improvement in services. On the proposal of the Chairman, seconded by Cllr Sheppard, it was resolved:




To support the recommendation of the PCC’s office to set a precept of £69.428m, representing a £15 (6.2 percent) increase on the 2022-23 level, without qualification. This will require council tax to be set on all property bands based at £256.27 for a Band D property.

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