Report of the County Treasurer (CT/20/48) highlighting the outturn position for 2019/2020, attached.
(Councillors Biederman, Connett, Dewhirst, Greenslade, Hannaford and Hook attended remotely in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the County Treasurer (CT/20/48) which provided the Outturn position for 2019/2020, the Report being 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 noted that Members had received regular budget monitoring reports throughout 2019/20 in which budget pressures and risks had been identified, the most significant relating to Adult Services and Children’s Services that had been forecasting an overspend of £6.2 millions and £6.0 millions respectively.
As set out in the Report, the final Outturn was slightly better than anticipated, making it possible to make a £3 million contribution to the Budget Management Reserve and £1 million to the Transformation Reserve as well as the usual contribution to the Business Rates Risk Reserve of the Business Rates Pooling gain.
The Dedicated Schools Grant had been under significant pressure due to Government underfunding of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Service. The year-end position was a shortfall of £19.8 millions and as reported previously the sum was held in a negative reserve on the Balance Sheet. This was outlined in full at paragraph 5.2 and in the Earmarked Reserves table on page 12 of the Report.
The overall authority position, excluding the SEND underfunding and after transfers to and from Reserves, was a small underspending of £33,000. Detailed explanations of the final financial position for each service area were given in section 2 of the Report, but high level details included:
· Adult Care and Health Services - an overall net overspend of just under £5.7millions, after a carry forward request of £731,000 which related to the Better Care Fund and was explained in section 3 of the Report;
· Children’s Services – an overspend of £4.4 millions;
· Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity – an overall underspend of just over £1 millions, after taking into account grants and contributions carry forward, and other carry forward request (detailed on page 17);
· Corporate Services – an overspend of just over £1.1 millions after taking into account grants and contributions carry forward, and any other carry forward requests (shown on page 18); and
· Highways and Traffic Management - an overspend of £1.4 millions generated from safety defect repairs and income targets within highways network management, although partially offset by reduced winter service activities and underspends on street lighting energy savings from LED conversions.
The Report further outlined the position with the Better Care Fund, General Balances and Earmarked Reserves and other relevant issues such as interest receivable, the Council Tax Support Partnership budget, the Covid19 Pandemic which was still causing considerable financial uncertainty and the Brexit Preparation Grant which remained unspent.
In conclusion, in spite of significant budget pressures, careful management throughout the year had allowed the Authority to end the year with a small underspending of £33,000. The financial impact of the Pandemic, the Country's departure from the EU, ongoing pressures in Social Care and the funding shortfall in SEND, meant the Authority was facing huge financial risk in both the short and medium term. This was coupled with ongoing uncertainty over Core Funding from Government in the future.
Both the Cabinet and Members speaking under Standing Order 25 placed on record their thanks to the Treasurer and her department for their work in delivering this Outturn Report.
The matter having been debate, it was MOVED by Councillor Barker, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and
(a) that the draft Outturn for 2019/20, after carry forwards and contributions to balances, reserves and provisions, showing an underspend of £33,000 against the approved revenue budget be noted;
(b) that the 2019/20 revenue Outturn be approved, including transactions on earmarked reserves and provisions, spending against budget, treatment of over and under spending and the implications for balances, as set out in the tables and the narrative of the Report;
(c) that the 2019/20 capital Outturn be approved including spending against budget and proposed carry forwards, in accordance with the tables;
(d) that the use of capital finance as set out in the Determination of Capital Finance section 11 of the Report be approved;
(e) that a total of £14.432 millions be set aside from revenue resources as Minimum Revenue Provision (provision for credit liabilities to repay debt);
(f) that the Prudential Indicators as set out in section 10 of the Report be noted; and
(g) that the total monies owing to the Council as at 31st March 2020 also be noted.