Agenda item

Report of the County Treasurer (CT/16/81) on the preparation of the Council’s Budget for 2017/18, the Provisional Local Government Settlement for forthcoming year and on proposed service expenditure targets, attached.


(Councillors Connett, Hannan, Julian and Westlake attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).


The Cabinet considered the Report of the County Treasurer (CT/16/81) on the preparation of the Council’s Budget for 2017/18 noting that the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government had - at the time this Report had been prepared - yet to announce details of the provisional Local Government Settlement for 2017/18.


Members acknowledged that Government had previously offered some certainty of funding for the period 2016/17 to 2019/20 where Local Authorities had submitted an Efficiency Statement. The County Council had taken up that option and its efficiency statement had been accepted, meeting the criteria for the four year settlement.  Nonetheless, the provisional settlement was still important to provide assurance that the settlement figures for 2017/18 did not differ significantly from those previously provided or had not been amended because of other factors or recent events.


The Cabinet noted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement, made on 23 November 2016, had been silent on Adult Social Care funding or funding for local government services and there had as yet been no specific announcement relating either to Council Tax precept or continuation of the Adult Social Care precept allowed in 2016/17. 


The Provisional Finance Settlement would, as usual, be subject to a period of consultation and the final settlement was not expected until late January or early February. While the  timing of the Final Settlement was not known it was nonetheless anticipated, based on precedent, that it would be received in sufficient time for consideration at the scheduled budget meetings in February 2017. The level of Council Tax increase that would  trigger a referendum was expected to remain at 2% but this was also subject to confirmation.


Notwithstanding the lack of clarity referred to above, and the inherent uncertainty around the provisional settlement, the Cabinet was recommended to adopt service targets based on it being broadly in-line with the indicative settlement received in February 2016.  Members were advised that the County Treasurer would report further to the next Cabinet meeting should it be necessary so to do; there being at this stage no need to change the subsequent timetable for consideration and determination of the budget. The setting of service targets as now recommended was acknowledged as the beginning of a process of determining the County Council’s budget which, following a period of consultation within the Council and externally, would culminate in the Cabinet, on 10 February 2017, formulating a budget for consideration by the County Council on 16 February 2017.


Cabinet Members referred to continuing representations made to Government direct and via Devon Members of Parliament about the Council's budgetary position and on funding for specific service areas such as education and health and social care and, in the case of the latter, also on the need for transitional funding and the desirability of early allocation of  Better Care Funding.


The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors set out in the County Treasurer’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:


It was MOVED by Councillor Clatworthy, SECONDED by Councillor Hart and




(a) that the lack of clarity with the Provisional Finance Settlement be noted;


(b) that revenue spending targets for the 2017/18 Revenue Budget be as follows:




Adjusted Base Budget*



Inflation & Pressures




Savings & Income Initiatives


2017/18 Base Budget




Adult Care & Health





+ 9.5%

Children’s Services





+ 2.0%

Communities, Public Heath & Prosperity











Corporate Services






Highways, Infrastructure Development  & Waste

















*adjusted for Permanent Virements







(c) that the capital programme be determined by the Cabinet on 10 February 2017.


[NB: As in previous years and as part of the detailed budget preparation exercise that would follow the setting of target budgets, the Cabinet and Council would necessarily also have regard to appropriate assessments of the impact of the budget on services and be mindful of any legislative and equality considerations; such assessments would also be made available to relevant Scrutiny Committees to be taken into account as part of their deliberations and in order that all Members shall have regard to the requirements placed upon the Council to exercise its Public Sector Equality Duty under s149 of the Equality Act 2010, before making any decisions.  The 2017/18 Budget Impact Assessment will be available, alongside any specific impact assessments undertaken as part of the budget’s preparation, at:].