2019/20 Revenue Financial Performance: Provisional Outturn (EX3798)
Purpose: To report on the financial performance of the Council’s revenue budgets. This report is the provisional outturn position for 2019/20.
Resolved to note the provisional outturn position of £1.46m underspend.
This decision is not subject to call in as:
· Report is to note only
therefore it will be implemented immediately.
The Executive considered a report (Agenda Item 10) concerning the financial performance of the Council’s revenue budgets. This report was the provisional outturn position for 2019/20.
Councillor Ross Mackinnon stated that the provisional revenue outturn position was an underspend of £1.46m which was 1.2% of the Council’s 2019/20 approved net revenue budget of £1.25m. The outturn report measured how closely the Council achieved the approved revenue budget, however, this year the Council had found itself in an unusual position of reporting a significant underspend which would therefore have a positive impact on reserves in 2020/21. This was a good thing as the current financial year would likely be very challenging. The main driver for the underspend was in the People Directorate with a £1.3m underspend in Adult Social Care. The Place Directorate had income pressures in development control and car parking and the Resource Directorate overspend was largely related to under achievement of investment income.
Councillor Lynne Doherty noted that the Corporate Peer Review had made particular reference to the Council’s record of sound financial management.
Councillor Graham Bridgman referred to the underspend of £1.3m in Adult Social Care and the fact that he would have preferred it if the budget had come in on the nail. However, additional funding had been put into this area in March 2019. Elements of the underspend included an increase in the number of deaths in the client base pre-Covid, the ability to find care home beds at competitive prices and over achievement of income. The long term service client numbers were also a challenge. He applauded Adult Social Care on the procurement of packages where good deals had been achieved. The Approved Supplier List in domiciliary care had reduced the number of suppliers and had consequently achieved a saving but this had not been to the detriment of the client as packages had not deteriorated. There had been some success in getting CCG funding for some of the packages and there had also been some good work undertaken in reablement which meant that clients spent less time in the system. Adult Social Care spend equated to 38% of the Council’s budget but the service was not complacent and further work would be undertaken on the model going forward to ensure that it was as accurate as it could be.
Councillor Jeff Brooks raised concerns that a £1.46m underspend equated to a 1.5% Council Tax increase and therefore the Council had taken people’s money unnecessarily. He recognised that Portfolio Holders had a difficult job and it would be particularly difficult to model for this year due to the Covid pandemic as it would not be able to rely on accurate trend figures.
Councillor Erik Pattenden asked if the £179k underspend in Child Care Lawyers due to vacant posts had impacted on the service. Councillor Mackinnon responded that the underspend was due to the fact that there had been a decrease in the number of cases and therefore there had been less demand on the service.
RESOLVED that the provisional outturn position of £1.46m under spend be noted.
Reason for the decision: To ensure that the Council delivered strong performance management of its budgets.
Other options considered: Earmarked reserves could be created from the under spend in particular to help with the response to the Covid-19 impact on West Berkshire.