Report of the County Treasurer (CT/17/6) monitoring budgetary provision at Month 8, attached.
(Councillors Connett, Greenslade, Julian, Owen 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/17/6) on the financial position at Month 8 outlining those areas of specific pressures on budgets, potential under- and over-spendings in the current financial year and on management action being taken where individual budget lines were experiencing such pressures.
The Cabinet noted that, overall, the forecast for revenue spending at year-end now showed an overspend of £8,100,000, an increase of £600,000 over the position at Month 6 although that could be reduced to £1,100,000 should the New Burdens Resilience Budget be applied.
The latest projected increase was attributable in the main to an increased overspends of £1,786,000 in the People’s Services forecast (Adult Social Care, £1,158,000: Children’s Social Work and Child Protection, £242,000: Education and Learning, £321,000), offset in part by some identified savings, giving a total projected overspend for those service areas of £8,786,000. Place and Corporate Services budgets were now both forecast to underspend at year end (£672,000 in total).
While projected revenue budget overspends could, as previously posited, be offset in part by using centrally held budgets that would not alone address the potential impact of spending pressures in future years. The County Treasurer advised that, despite the efforts being made by Services, the projected overspending continued to increase and the time and opportunity to contain or reverse this before the end of the financial year were limited. Accordingly and in line with the Cabinet's previous decision (Minute 105 refers) arrangements had been put in place, with effect from 1 January 2017, that recruitment to vacant posts would be restricted to those that were ‘business critical’ and recruitment to any vacant post would only be considered where not filling that post would lead to a significant risk to the Council fulfilling its statutory responsibilities or to effective budgetary control; further, and with the exception of front line social work posts, the engagement of any consultant, interim staff or agency staff would require the authorisation of the Chief Executive, and would only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
In relation to capital expenditure, spending was estimated at £146,500,000 with slippage of £17,800,000 in a number of schemes including the Dartington CE Primary School, Marsh Barton Railway Station, Roundswell (Phase 2) and the North Devon Hub.
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
RESOLVED that the position based on Month 8 and actions being taken to balance budget pressures be noted.