Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Chief Officer Financial Services submitted a report which presented the Council’s financial position as at the end of the first 9 months of the 2023/24 financial year. Specifically, the report reviewed the current position against the 2023/24 Budget, provided an update on the use of other funding resources and also updated the Board on the current position regarding the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and the Council Tax and Business Rates Collection Fund.
In presenting the report the Executive Member provided an overview of the key points which included the current forecasting of an overspend of £39.0m for the General Fund as at month 9 of the financial year. The measures being taken to manage this position were highlighted, but with it being noted that the use of the Council’s reserves to achieve a balanced position for 2023/24 would be necessary, which would have an impact upon the resources available for 2024/25 and beyond.
Members further discussed the Council’s current financial position and the financial outlook for the coming year, noted the range of actions being taken to manage that position and also considered the financial challenges being faced by Local Authorities nationally. The increasing pressures arising from key areas of demand such as children’s social care were highlighted, with Members also referencing the national funding model for such areas.
(a) That it be noted that at Month 9 of the financial year (December 2023), the Authority’s General Fund revenue budget is forecasting an overspend of £39.0m for 2023/24 (6.8% of the approved net revenue budget) within a challenging national context, with it also being noted that a range of actions are being undertaken to address this position;
(b) That it be noted that at Month 9 of the financial year (December 2023) the Authority’s Housing Revenue Account is forecasting an overspend of £1.4m for 2023/24 (0.5% of the approved gross budget);
(c) That it be noted that known inflationary increases, including demand and demographic pressures in Social Care, known impacts of the rising cost of living, including the NJC pay settlement of £1,925 and the JNC pay settlement of 3.5%, have been incorporated into this reported financial position, as submitted. That it also be noted that these pressures will continue to be reviewed during the year and reported to future Executive Board meetings as more information becomes available, and that proposals would need to be identified to absorb any additional pressures;
(d) That it be noted that where an overspend is projected, directorates, including the Housing Revenue Account, are required to present action plans to mitigate their reported pressures and those of the Council’s wider financial challenge where possible, in line with the Revenue Principles agreed by Executive Board in February 2023 through the annual Revenue Budget report;
(e) That the Month 9 positions regarding the use of Invest to Save, Covid Backlog and Flexible Capital Receipt resources be noted, and that the additional planned use of £0.3m of Capital Receipts in 2023/24 also be noted, which is to support transformation projects and deliver savings in addition to the budgeted use approved by the Board to date.
Publication date: 09/02/2024
Date of decision: 07/02/2024
Decided at meeting: 07/02/2024 - Executive Board
Effective from: 17/02/2024