To consider a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) (copy enclosed)
A report by the Director of Finance set out the Council’s financial position at 30 September 2018 Quarter 2 (Q2); covering the Revenue Budget, Capital Programme and Treasury Management. Cabinet received this report each quarter and Directorate and Corporate Management Teams received detailed reports monthly. This report linked to the Q2 Council Plan Delivery Plan Performance Report set out on today’s agenda.
The financial context for the Council was extremely challenging. 2018/19 represented the eighth financial year of significant funding reductions from central government, and the Budget for 2018/19 included £38.829m of new savings to be delivered. Since 2011/12, the Council had agreed a total of c£250 million of savings in setting annual revenue budgets.
At the end of Q2, against the Revised Budget of £380.766m, the forecast for the Revenue Budget 2018/19 at the year-end is a net pressure of £4.593m (Q1 £2.968m). This forecast assumes the delivery of the Budget as set out in this report, including and particularly, Promoting Independence within People Services, for which an update is provided in paras 4.6, 4.11 and 4.12.
The Leader took Cabinet through the key messages contained in the report, and highlighted the following:-
· The Directorate net pressure of £5.805m consisted of an overall pressure in People of £8.791m, Economy & Infrastructure of £0.362m and Corporate, Customer & Community Services Directorate of £0.047m. These net pressures were partly offset by underspends in the Finance Directorate (£3.122m) and Fire & Rescue Services of (£0.273m).
· The areas of the Council’s activities subject to the greatest financial pressures were in People Services, and in particular, Children Looked After where the forecast overspend at Q2 was £9.587m.
· The opening balance on the General Fund as at 1 April was £10.472m. The Council received S31 Grants to compensate for Business Rates reliefs determined by central government. The final grant announcement for 2018/19 was higher than that assumed when the Budget was set by £1.433m. As this grant was part of the Council’s core revenue funding the additional element of £1.433m had been transferred to General Reserves resulting in a revised General Fund position of £11.905m as at 1 April 2018
· The forecast General Fund Balance for the 31 March 2019 having taken account of the Q2 forecast over budget outturn of £4.593m was £7.312m. This was £2.688m below the minimum level of General Reserve Balances target set by Council in February 2018 was £10m.
· The Council approved a capital programme for 2018/19 in February 2018 of £135.135m for Council delivered schemes and £2.000m for schemes where the Council is Accountable Body. Cabinet received the Q1 Monitoring report on 27 September which set out a Capital Programme of £142.181m.
· This report sought agreement from Cabinet to decrease the Capital Programme by (£0.413m); being additional contributions of £0.112m and scheme budget reductions of (£0.525m); and to recommend to Council a reduction in the Capital Programme by (£10.132m), being budget reductions of (£1.000m) and the net reprofiling of schemes by (£9.132m) following a review of expenditure by 31 March. This was ... view the full minutes text for item 74