The Chief Officer (Financial Services) submitted a report presenting the financial health of the Authority in respect of both the General Fund revenue budget and the Housing Revenue Account as at Month 10 of the 2022/23 financial year.
It was noted that recommendation (b) in the submitted report should be amended to read as follows: ‘Savings actions identified to date are included in the reported overspend position and actions will continue to be identified for receipt at the April meeting of this Board’.
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 £13.7m was projected for the Authority’s General Fund services, as at month 10 of 2022/23, and that a balanced budget was expected to be achieved by the year-end, via a range of actions including the delivery of savings, the utilisation of reserves and the application of Government funding.
Responding to a Member’s enquiries, the Board received further information on the work which had been undertaken to date and which continued to ensure that the budget available within the Children and Families directorate was appropriate and sustainable moving forward. It was noted that this included a review undertaken as part of the 2023/24 budget setting process on the monitoring of key areas such as levels of demand for services. In addition, the work undertaken by a cross-directorate ‘task and finish’ working group and the establishment of a cross-directorate delivery board were also highlighted.
Also in relation to the Children and Families directorate, responding to a Member’s enquiry, the Board received clarification on the funding which had been confirmed by Leeds Health and Care Partnership Executive Group (PEG) from 2023/24 in relation to the provision of new and existing services, with it being undertaken that the Member in question would be provided with a further briefing on such matters, as appropriate.
Responding to an enquiry regarding the increased costs experienced in relation to the provision of fleet vehicles, the Board received an update on the approach being taken towards the management of the Council’s current vehicle fleet, together with the ongoing review to inform the medium to longer term strategy. It was noted that the approach to such matters would contribute towards the target of achieving net zero emissions for the city by 2030.
Regarding an enquiry on the projected reduction in the level of recycling income received by the Council from the Green Bin waste due to a fall in market prices, it was noted that currently there was no significant impact projected on the 2023/24 Communities, Housing and Environment directorate budget, however, it was undertaken that this issue would continue to be monitored and that Executive Members would be kept informed, as appropriate.
(a) That it be noted that at Month 10 of the financial year (January 2023) the Authority’s General Fund services are forecasting an overspend of £13.7m and that the Housing Revenue Account is forecasting a balanced position;
(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 savings actions identified to date are included in the reported overspend position and (as referenced in the correction detailed above), actions will continue to be identified for receipt at the April 2023 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 this Board.