Venue: The Council Chamber, Town Hall, Corney Place, Penrith, CA11 7QF
Contact: Member Services 01768 817817
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from:
Councillor Baker, Councillor Holden deputised.
RECOMMENDATION: that the public minutes FSc/1/7/22 to FSc/10/7/22 of the meeting of the Finance Scrutiny Committee held on Tuesday, 12th July 2022, be confirmed and approved by the Chair as a correct record of those proceedings (copies previously circulated).
Proposed by Councillor Nicolson
Seconded by Councillor McCall
andRESOLVED that the minutes FSc/1/7/22 to FSc/10/7/22 of the meeting of this committee held on the 12th July 2022 be confirmed and signed as correct record of those proceedings.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of the existence and nature of any private interests, both disclosable pecuniary and any other registrable interests, in any matter to be considered or being considered.
There were no declarations of interest received.
To consider Report No: DoR77/22 of the Interim Director of Resources, which seeks to consider the provisional Outturn position for 2021-22 and to review the position at Q1 of the 2022-23 Revenue budget.
RECOMMENDATION: The Finance Scrutiny Committee is recommended to:
1. Note the draft Revenue Outturn Position for 2021-22 of £311k underspend set out at 3.10.
2. Note the proposed slippage of Revenue budgets of £206k from 21/22 to 22/23 as set out in Appendix 2.
3. Note the draft Capital Outturn Position for 2021-22 set out at 3.13.
4. Note the proposed slippage of Capital budgets of £1,355k from 21/22 to 22/23 as set out in Appendix 3.
5. Note the Quarter 1 forecast outturn position for Revenue as set out in Appendix 4.
Members considered the report: DoR77/22 of the Interim Director of Resources, which sought to consider the provisional Outturn position for 2021-2022 and to review the position at Quarter 1 of the 2022-2023 Revenue budget.
The Interim Director of Resources noted that the report sought to provide as much detail as possible regarding the Value for Money assessment, specifically the variances. It was clarified that the provisional outturn was the Quarter 4 monitoring. The Interim Director of Resources advised that the committee should be able to see all four quarters of budgetary monitoring before it went back to Cabinet.
The committee was advised that Cabinet had approved the proposed slippage which would then go onto Council for consideration and approval.
The Interim Director of Resources, noted that there would be a briefing after the report went to Cabinet, but before Council, which would seek to update Members on the revised budget and Single Site Programme.
Members asked the following questions of the Interim Director of Resources on the provisional outturn 2021-2022:
· Proposed slippage in the capital scheme will this go into reserves?
Response: the budget is in the programme so it will slip into the 2022/2023 financial year.
· Could you clarify the £704 000 overspend on the One Eden Programme and £430 000 overspend on Housing in Appendix 2:
Response: (One Eden Programme) the savings within the budget were left as a single line, it should have been that the revised budget was set on the basis that the savings were incorporated into all of the individual areas, that’s why it shows as a variance on the single line. When we setup the original body and programme we put a line in the medium term financial forecast of to what the savings would be with the view once we stablished where the savings would be made, this would be taken out, and the budget would include all the savings in 21/22, this didn’t happen when we set the revised estimate. What it shows is that savings have been made over the expected amount, but they’ve been made in the individual lines and not against the lines originally set.
(Housing) The Patterdale Housing scheme was originally included in capital, but it was established that it should have been included in revenue. The expenditure was therefore moved from capital to revenue, it was funded from the reserve originally intended and is therefore not an actual overspend.
· Is there money owing in the community fund to improve play areas?
Response: No, those monies haven’t been spent and were in the budget for 21/22 at revised estimate time, which will now be spent in 22/23.
· With LGR happening is there guarantee that the money will be spent to improve the play areas prior to LGR?
Response: Some of the expenditure is dependent on third party actions, such as bids. There are funds therefore that the council spend on play equipment that it owns and then there are funds that the council provides to devolved ... view the full minutes text for item FSc/14/10/22
To consider Report No: DoR79/22 of the Interim Director of Resources, which updates the Committee on the current position and proposals for the finance theme of Local Government Reorganisation.
It is recommended that the Committee note the report.
Members considered the report no: DoR 79/22 of the Interim Director of Resources, which sought to update the Committee on the current position and proposals for the finance theme of Local Government Reorganisation.
The Interim Director of Resources advised that the shadow authority was in the process of producing a budget report which would establish the starting position for the budget process. Further, that the Medium Term Financial statement would also set the horizon scanning in respect of funding, expenditure, inflation, as well as interest rates. It was noted that this was a complex process due to the aggregated budgets of the three district councils and the one disaggregated country council budget.
A budget gap of £32 000 000 was highlighted in the 2023/2024 Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for the two authorities. The MTFP would need to be split, with an estimated funding gap of £ 14 000 000 for Westmorland and Furness.
The Interim Director of resources advised that with regards to staffing, all the Chief Executives, the statutory officers, bar the Monitoring Officer for Westmorland and Furness, were in post. Tiers 2 and 3 were likely to be done by vesting day. One of the issues created by having Tier 3 appointed before vesting day, is the potential for unnecessary redundancies, which could be mitigated by redeployment and the management of change policy needs a redeployment provision. It was highlighted that this was concerning staff. Further, from the district council’s perspective, it was important that services continued from vesting day, with the appropriate officers equipped to continue. Directors will need to establish what capacity they need to run the service do this in line with the budget and Westmorland and Furness corporate and service plans .The Interim Director of Resources emphasised that the council’s training and development programme has been focused through appraisals to equip officers with the tools for the roles and jobs they were looking for.
Members asked the following questions of the Interim Director of Resources:
· Who are you working with?
Response: There is a governance structure for finance. Westmorland Finance will approve the budget in February. I am the interim officer s151 officer for the new authority and working with the permanently appointed s151 officer, Pam Duke. We work to a theme board, this finance theme board have constructed the budget. The County Council have aggregated the district budgets into their disaggregated budgets.
· You mention a budget deficit of £ 32 000 000, from where does this arise? From what I understand the district budgets are technically balanced? In terms of the overall financial position for Westmorland and Furness, where does it stand?
Response: Yes, all the budgets for 22/23 are balanced. The £ 32 000 000 is taken from the 23/24 year of the medium term financial forecasts. The biggest chunk of the projected deficit is the county as the biggest authority. The only authority projecting a balanced budget for 23/24 was Eden District Council. However, there are many changes and this ... view the full minutes text for item FSc/15/10/22
To consider Report No: DoR80/22 of the Interim Director of Resources, which seeks to consider and approve the committee’s work programme.
It is recommended that the committee note and approve the work programme.
Members considered the report no: DoR80/22 of the Interim Director of Resources, which sought to consider and approve the Committee’s Work Programme.
The Chair proposed that Inspiring Eden be brought to a meeting of the Committee. The Interim Director of Resources noted that a Committee was scheduled for December and that Inspiring Eden could be brought to the Committee then.
Proposed by Councillor Nicolson
Seconded by Councillor Lancaster
andRESOLVED that the Committee note and approve the Work Programme.
Any Other Items Which the Chair Decides are urgent
There were no urgent items of business.
Date of Next Scheduled Meeting
The date of the next scheduled meeting of the Finance Scrutiny Committee be confirmed as Tuesday, 6th December 2022.
The date of the next scheduled meeting of the committee was confirmed at the 16th November 2022.