Issue - meetings
2021/22 Budget Monitoring and 22/23 Budget Process
Shaer Halewood, Director of Resources, introduced a report on the 2021/22 budget monitoring and 2022/23 budget process.
The Committee was aware that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) had provided a conditional offer of exceptional financial support (capitalisation directive) for 2021/22 of up to £10.7m. One of the conditions of that offer was that the Council would need to provide evidence from the assurance review of the authority’s financial position and its ability to meet any or all of the identified budget gap without any additional borrowing. Therefore, it was vitally important that the Council had robust processes in place to manage and monitor the in-year financial position, to ensure it was reporting a forecast balanced position to the end of the year and that the process for 2022/23 budget setting was underway early so that a budget could be agreed by full Council in March.
The report also outlined the processes and information to be provided for all Policy Committees to monitor their specific budgets and to ensure that the committee budgets remained within the relevant envelope and to take collective responsibility via the Policy and Resources Committee to ensure that the whole Council budget remained in balance at all times, by agreeing mitigating actions to bring the budget back in line, should a deficit be forecast.
The report reminded Members that one of the key documents required to enable the Council to receive approval for exceptional financial support was a balanced five-year medium term financial plan (MTFP). A summary of this was provided in the budget report to the Committee on 17 March 2021 (minute 87 refers). Each Committee, supported by officers, was accountable for identifying, developing and agreeing savings proposals during the summer to ensure a draft balanced budget could be considered by this Committee in October 2021, to enable budget consultation to start in a timely manner in November 2021.
To enable the officer budget proposals to be scrutinised by the Committee, it was recommended that a budget workshop be established to consider the content of the MTFP and make recommendations into the Committee on the viability of the proposals, the robustness of the pressures / growth items and to recommend any additional proposals that the Committee required officers to prepare.
The Chair expressed support for the approach but also the need for a reboot of the commercial strategy providing more income generation for the Council rather than a continual need to find savings and suggested an item on the work programme looking at the Council’s appetite for risk with a commercial strategy.
Responding to comments from Members, Shaer Halewood, acknowledged that no single committee had come forward to take on the zero based budgeting approach, and that to minimise the risk of achieving the savings identified all committees could take this on, although there was no assurance that this could happen. After some discussion on the subject, it was suggested that the Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee could be the ... view the full minutes text for item 11