Agenda item


A report of the CabinetMember forFinance and Communities is attached.


Councillor Gold, Cabinet Member for Finance and Communities provided an overview of the report which set out the final financial position for the Council for 2022/23. The report sets out the position for both revenue and capital and provides an analysis of the variances, both under and overspending. On revenue, the report sets out that the revenue budget overspent by £2.329m, at quarter 3 the overspend was forecast to be £3.958m therefore the financial position has improved by £1.629m during the last quarter of the financial year. This net overspend comprises of individual departmental overspends and underspends.


The largest individual departmental overspend was on Children and Young People at a value of £6.114m. The extra costs were around agency costs for social care and safeguarding, an increase in demand for children’s residential placements including Independent Foster Agency costs and increased costs for home-to-school transport. The most significant underspend was on non-specific services, driven by reduced capital financing costs.


A member questioned the impact that underspends in staffing will cause and asked what is in place to ensure these posts can be recruited to. In response Councillor Gold, Cabinet Member for Finance and Communities and Sam Evans, Director of Finance advised there are underspends in certain aspects of staffing these are offsetting overspends in the department therefore as recruitment takes place work is needed needs on previous areas of overspend.


A member sought assurances on culture change to deliver the budget. In response Councillor Gold advised there has been a comprehensive finance restructure along with others to support efficient delivery of the budget.


A member of the committee sought assurances on how lessons are learnt from previous years budget’s with Children’s Services being a key area. In response Councillor Gold, Cabinet Member advised directorates now hold regular meetings on the delivery of their budget and hold accountability for its success. A Councillor Gold, Cabinet Member advised that interest rates are going up and therefore capital receipts are more financially beneficial.


A Question was received regarding the £6,000 Public Health, Substance Misuse underspend. In response Committee members were informed this is due to a staffing restructure and the post will be recruited to.


Members of the Committee were informed that historic debts from the Pandemic were written off these included Business rates.


Members sought assurances regarding the Dedicated Schools Grant and the challenges. In response Sam Evans, Director of Finance advised we are currently in Project Safety Valve and must submit our management plan by 18th July 2023 and we have reduced our deficit and secured money from health for packages of care.


Committee members discussed the report, and the following points were highlighted:

·         The difficulties currently with an over reliance on agency workers especially in Childrens and Adult Social Care.

·         There are challenges from interest rates rising

·         The real living wage is to be extended to contracts with Bury Council and around 6000 people are expected to benefit from this

·         Discussions took place regarding charging for car parking in other parts of the borough.


It was agreed that:


1.    Councillor Gold and Sam Evans be thanked for the report and update to the Committee.

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