i) The Executive is asked to note:
a) the latest position for the County Council’s 2021/22 Revenue Budget, as summarised in paragraph 2.1.2.
b) the position on the GWB (paragraphs 2.4.1 to 2.4.3)
c) the position on the ‘Strategic Capacity – Unallocated’ reserve (paragraphs 2.4.4 to 2.4.6)
d) the position on the County Council’s Treasury Management activities during the first quarter of 2021/22
ii) The Executive is also asked to recommend to the Chief Executive Officer that using his emergency delegated powers, he:
e) approves the creation of the Local Government Review transition fund (paragraphs 2.5.1 to 2.5.7)
f) approves the amendments to the Approved Lending List
g) refers this report to the Audit Committee for their consideration as part of the overall monitoring arrangements for Treasury Management.
h) approves the refreshed Capital Plan summarised at paragraph 4.2.3; and
i) agrees that no action be taken at this stage to allocate any additional capital resources (paragraph 4.5.8)
j) recommends to the County Council that it approves the revised Prudential Indicators for the period 2021/22 to 2023/24 as set out in Appendix A
A joint report ofthe Chief Executive and Corporate Director for Strategic Resources, bringing together key aspects of the County Council’s financial performance for the first quarter of 2021/22.
County Councillor Gareth Dadd introduced the Quarter 1 Budget Monitoring Report, drawing Members attention to the expected overall projected net underspend of £2,791k. He suggested that quarter 1 was too early to show a trend, but it provided a good start and equated to 0.7% of the budget, which was within an acceptable variance. He also suggested that in setting the budget back in February 2021, Covid had greatly affected the projections and the County Council’s ability to budget with confidence.
He also noted the financial support provided by Government in response to Covid and questioned how long that could continue He also suggested the £2,791k was not a true underspend bearing in mind, the use of £3m of reserves drawn down in support of the budget, but accepted the County Council was in a better position than most Authorities.
In regard to the Revenue Budget, County Councillor Gareth Dadd highlighted a number of red flags in the operational budgets for each Directorate, as detailed in Section 2 of the report. He specifically drew attention to the County Council’s sustained commitment to transport providers throughout the pandemic and the Adult Learning & Skills Service which would require improvement in the medium term.
Gary Fielding, Corporate Director for Strategic Resources reinforced the introduction given and highlighted a number of unknown factors that were starting to become known:
· The massive uncertainty on demand for services;
· The pressure on the County Council’s supply chains;
· Issues and areas of increased activity masked by the additional funding provided by Government in response to Covid e.g. early hospital discharge arrangements;
· Lack of clarity on what the new normal will be;
Executive Members thanked the Deputy Leader and officers for their frank appraisal of the current situation
County Councillor Janet Jefferson raised concern about the high cost of young people transitioning into Adult care and support services, and it was confirmed that there was now much closer working between Children’s and Adult Services with a new transition pathway in place, enabling a mitigation of some of those costs.
County Councillor Stanley Lumley thanked officers for the quality of the report and confirmed that Overview & Scrutiny would continue to work closely with the Council to support it in achieving the best outcomes. In response Gary Fielding confirmed it was about the culture and the approach of the whole organisation to having a strong grip on finances, that that resulted in the outcomes achieved to date. County Councillor Gareth Dadd confirmed the County Council’s priority remained vulnerable people.
In regard to the Local Government Review, County Councillor Gareth Dadd drew attention to the two-fold reasons for seeking unitary status i.e. having one council instead of two, making it easier for residents and providing better services with an overriding principle of achieving financial gains. He confirmed the ... view the full minutes text for item 635