Report of the County Treasurer (CT/18/09) on the budget monitoring position at month 6, attached.
(Councillors Connett and Dewhirst attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the County Treasurer (CT/18/9) on the Budget Monitoring position at Month 6 for 2018/2019, circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The Cabinet Member for Resources Management highlighted that the total overspend at month 6 was forecast at £8.15millions, an increase of £50,000 from month 4. However, the position assumed a request to carry forward £2.4 millions to next years Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), to be agreed by the Devon Education Forum.
Adult Care and Health Services were forecast to underspend by £488,000. At month 4 the service was forecasting a breakeven outturn. This position took into account £455,000 of management action yet to be achieved but assessed as achievable.
Children’s Services were showing a forecast overspend of £9.9 millions, an increase of £1.2 millions from month 4, with, in the main, overspending on children’s social care. Pressure continued within residential placements but were also appearing across the disabled children short breaks service, social work teams and the Atkinson secure home.
Highways, Infrastructure Development and Waste were also forecasting a break-even position at Month 6.
Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity (COPHEP) were showing a forecast overspend of £153,000, the result of the countywide research and intelligence review project.
Corporate Services were forecasting a breakeven position, but this was dependent upon services still delivering management action totalling £65,000, but this was also assessed as achievable.
Non-service items were forecast to underspend by £1.4 millions, mainly due to additional investment income and a one-off underspend associated with an estimate for remedial works being undertaken at Dartington School not fully materialising in the year, the release of £302,000 of the schools improvement grant and a review of the pension contribution shortfall releasing £319,000.
The capital programme for the Council was £149.6 millions, with a year end forecast of £131.5 millions, of which £110.8 millions was externally funded, so slippage of £18.0 millions, in the main, due to scheme variations and programme delays in Highways (£1.3 millions), Adult Care & Health (£2.9 millions) and Planning and Transportation (£6.7 millions).
The Autumn Budget Statement confirmed additional Capital funding for 2018/19, therefore the Council was expecting to receive up to £4.0 millions additional capital funding for Highways and up to £5.2 millions for Schools. Disabled Facilities Grants could increase by £800,000.
The Report then outlined a number of additional savings initiatives to reduce expenditure by just under £5 millions, which ranged from introducing a process whereby recruitment to fill
vacancies commenced two months after a post holder had left employment, capitalisation of more revenue expenditure and other initiatives such as cessation of none essential overtime, conference attendance, hospitality and travel and subsistence allowances unless externally funded and staff being able to purchase additional leave.
The Chief Executive re-assured Members that many of the suggestions related to ‘improved housekeeping’. In addition, that any critical frontline posts would not be subject to the new vacancy management process.
In summary, the Council was grappling with high levels of demand for Children Services, with residential placements proving difficult to contain within the budget and pressures against the
high needs block of the dedicated schools grant.
The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability, carbon impact, risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the County Treasurer’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:
It was MOVED by Councillor Barker, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and
RESOLVED that the forecast overspending of £8.15 millions, the proposed savings initiatives and their potential impact and the need to take action to contain and reduce the projection be noted.