To consider the report of the Chief Officer Financial Services on the financial health of the Authority in respect of both the General Fund revenue budget and the Housing Revenue Account, as at Month 6 (September) of the 2022/23 financial year.
The Chief Officer Financial Services submitted a report presenting an update on the financial health of the Authority in respect of both the General Fund revenue budget and the Housing Revenue Account, as at Month 6 (September) of the 2022/23 financial year.
In presenting the report, the Executive Member for Resources provided an overview of the key information within it, which included reference to the fact that an overspend of £16.6m was projected for the Authority’s General Fund services, as at month 6 of 2022/23. Emphasis was placed upon the range of in-year pressures currently being faced, with the lower collection rates for Council Tax and Business Rates also being noted.
Responding to a specific enquiry regarding the month 6 projection of an underspend and carry forward into 2023/24 in respect of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), the Board discussed and received further information on the actions being taken to allocate available funding in this area. Members also received an update on the actions being taken with regard to recruitment and the wider recruitment challenges being faced in this field nationally. Furthermore, details were also provided on the wider context around the relationship between the DSG and the High Needs Block funding. In conclusion, it was suggested that the directorate provide the Member in question with further information on such matters, as appropriate.
In response to a Member’s enquiry on the projected level of underspend regarding the waste management service, the Board received further information on the work which continued on maximising income from recyclable waste, which it was noted would form part of the directorate’s budget proposals moving forward. Also, an update was provided on the refuse collection route review taking place, with it being noted that no savings had been assumed from this work in 2022/23, however, wider benefits from the review would be delivered in 2023/24 and beyond.
Also, in response to a specific enquiry, officers provided the Board with further information regarding the cost recovery model for Leeds Building Services.
(a) That it be noted that as at Month 6 of the financial year (September), the Authority’s General Fund services are forecasting an overspend of £16.6m and that the Housing Revenue Account is forecasting an overspend of £0.17m, with it also being noted that the General Fund position reduces to £15.83m when account is taken of additional budget action plans received to date;
(b) 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, in line with the Revenue Principles agreed by Executive Board in 2019; with it also being noted that proposals received to date are included within the submitted report at Appendix 4 and that further action plans will be received at the December 2022 meeting of Executive Board;
(c) That it be noted that known increased inflation and known impacts of the rising cost of living, including the agreed 2022/23 pay award, have been incorporated into this reported financial position, with it also being noted that these pressures will continue to be assessed, with the latest position being incorporated into future reports to be received by Executive Board.