Agenda item

2023/24 Budget Monitoring Report - Month 6 - End of September 2023


Cllr Leyshon introduced the item and Jason Vaughan presented the report which set out an improved position as a result of a one off variance which enabled some protection to reserves needed in future years.


As part of the response to the overspend, the emergency actions put in included spend control boards and panels. Looking at all recruitment over the workforce and challenging this. Although this was not a blanket freeze on recruitment. Non-staffing expenditure such as discretionary spend and contracts across the Council were all being looked at. Part of process was to enforce purchase order requests and bring down care placement costs as part of a peer review which was being undertaken. There was still no certainty that the budget gap would be reduced to zero by the end of the year.


The Scrutiny Committee members were asked for feedback on the format of the report, including the 10 appendices that provided more detail across the Council service areas, see more detail within this. Appendix 9 set out the MTFP savings.


·       More details were requested of the members of the control boards, these were officer boards comprised of peers within the service and adults and children’s staff and service directors in addition to members of the finance team.

·       The cost of care placements remained high, but work was ongoing to ensure a better placement could be achieved where possible.

·       In respect of pressures continuing to grow in adults and children’s care, there would be ongoing work at future savings in this area and how these can be achieved. 70% of the budget was on Adults and Childrens social care, so if these services overspends the Council was likely to incur an overspend.

·       Lack of foster care placements was being monitored but there was a difficulty in controlling the demand.

·       It was questioned how the recruitment control boards would impact devolved services to town and parish councils, it remained the responsibility for town and parish councils to recruit staff, and would depend on which services would be devolved to town and parish councils, under consideration for pilot project.

·       Newton Europe were the management consultants working with Adults Services at a cost of £7million, this was performance related and estimated to deliver £10million of ongoing savings.

·       Capitalisation permission from the government was progressing which would enable the capital receipts from assets to be used as funding to tackle the revenue shortfall.

·       The sum of £7million received as via Connecting Deveon and Somerset was a once off windfall from CDS. There wasn’t an expectation for this to vary hugely but there was a split across councils who were involved with this initially. This was as a result of a larger take-up of broadband than anticipated which has resulted in the windfall.

·       Other councils have been looking to impose a double council tax on second homes. A report was being considered in December confirming this was now the legislation to be voted on at Decembers Full Council. Empty Properties and second homes, one next year and one from 2025/26.

·       Tax exemptions for empty properties had been removed.

·       The breakdown of all the exemptions and premiums was requested to be provided to members for their information.

·       Uncollected Council tax was referred to in the report. The committee were informed that some debts were 20 years old and where there had bereavement and no next of kin. There were different policies for each District Council prior to April.

·       Chair thanked officers for the report and welcomed reduction in deficit and further updates on the budget position over the coming months.


The Chair thanked the officers for attending with the update for the Scrutiny Committee Corporate and Resources and concluded that the committee had considered the report and noted the information provided.


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