Report of the County Treasurer (CT/21/02) providing an update on the budget monitoring position at month 8.
The Report will follow.
(Councillors Biederman, Brazil, Connett, Dewhirst, Greenslade and Hannaford 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/21/2) on the budget monitoring position at month 8, 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 at month 8 it was estimated that budgets would overspend by £1.9millions, a reduction of £823,000 from the month 6 forecast of £2.7 millions. However, the Dedicated Schools Grant projected deficit, relating to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), was forecast to be £30.4 millions, an increase of £2.6 millions since month 6. In line with Department of Education guidance this deficit would not be dealt with in the current financial year but carried to future years.
Adult Care and Health services were forecast to overspend by £2.4 millions, an increase of £100,000 from month 6. Children’s Services were forecasting an overspending of £3.5 millions, not including the projected deficit of £30.4 millions on Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND). In line with Government guidance the SEND deficit was held on the balance sheet as a negative reserve.
Highways, Infrastructure Development and Waste were forecasting a breakeven position as was the case in month 6. Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity (COPHEP) were projecting an underspend of just under £1.7 millions.
The approved capital programme was £195.3 millions. The year-end forecast was £164.3 millions, producing forecast slippage of £31.0 millions, mainly attributable to variations and programme delays in Highways, Planning and Transportation (£24.2 millions net slippage) which reflected the complexity of the major schemes.
Corporate debt stood at £3.4 millions, being just over 2% of the annual value of invoices, against the annual target of 1.9%. The balance of debt owed would continue to be pursued with the use of legal action where appropriate.
The Report also outlined that Government had put in place a number of grant funding streams to help support Local Authorities during the pandemic. The confirmed additional funding the Council expected to receive directly was £80.5 millions. There were 13 different pandemic related grants with a confirmed value of £80.5 millions, of which £77.9 millions had been received and £53.7 millions spent.
A summary table of all the funds was attached at appendix 1, but a summary of each grant was:
· Local Authority Covid Support Grant - £43.5 millions;
· Adoption Support Fund - £ 217,097;
· Bus Services Support Grant - £1.2 millions;
· Infection Control Fund-Tranche 1 £10.5 millions and Tranche 2 £9.2 millions;
· Emergency Active Travel Fund - Tranche 1 £316,426 and Tranche 2 £1.3 millions;
· Test and Trace Local Action Plan - £2.6 millions;
· Emergency hardship Fund - £757,020;
· Additional Home to school Transport - £1.7 millions;
· Travel Demand Management - £100,000;
· Wellbeing for Education Return Fund - £128,139;
· Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Support Fund - £473,000;
· Winter Scheme - £2.04 millions;
· Contain Outbreak Management Fund (1) - £6.4 millions;
· Contain Outbreak Management Fund (2) - Further funding was expected to be provided.
At the start of the pandemic, Government confirmed that part of the £1.3 billions of funding made available to the NHS was intended to support costs incurred by local authorities in the support of hospital discharge, and out of hospital activity. Working with Devon CCG, the Council had received reimbursement for tranche 1 costs of £11.6 millions and was awaiting confirmation and reimbursement from NHS England of further tranche 1 costs of £6.2 millions and tranche 2 costs of £2.5 millions.
The Cabinet noted the level of uncertainty and pressures being faced by the public sector this year were unprecedented. Whilst the projected forecast of breakeven was welcomed, there remained significant far-reaching risks associated with the impact of the pandemic.
The matter having been debated and the other relevant factors set out in the County Treasurer’s Report having been considered, it was MOVED by Councillor Hart, SECONDED by Councillor McInnes, and
(a) that budget monitoring forecast position at month 8 be noted; and
(b) that the Pandemic funding update also be noted.