Councillor Richard Gold, Cabinet Member for Finance and Communities, presented the report which outlined the forecast financial position of the Council at the end of the first quarter of the 2022/23 financial year based on information known on 30th June 2022. The report sets out the position for both revenue and capital and provided an analysis of the variances, both under and overspending.
Members discussed the report, noting the increasing costs of fuel and utility services which would affect future budgets. It was agreed that Bury were not the only one in this position and it was hoped that a Government solution would be introduced. In response to a query over the vacancy factor, it was noted this was not a target but reflected the typical turnover of the Council and was common practice in Local Authority finances. It did not include services where agency staff were needed to cover vacancies, and it was positive that monitoring matched predictions.
1. Noted the forecast overspend of £1.509m within the revenue budgets at quarter 1 and the need for Directorates to continue to work with their finance managers to maintain tight budgetary control and identify mitigating actions and deliver these to ensure services work within their budgets. It should be noted that this is a forecast only at this stage and is before the utilisation of the £1.5m utilities reserve but also before the full impact of the pay award for 2022/23 is taken into account which could increase costs over and above those budgeted by a further £1.6m;
2. Noted the use of the reserves in line with the criteria and one-off departmental priorities;
3. Noted forecast delivery of the 2022/23 MTFS savings as agreed by Council in February 2022;
4. Noted the position on the Dedicated Schools Grant, Collection Fund and the Housing Revenue Account;
5. To approve an overall increase in the capital programme of £8.020m, as a consequence of new and updated external grant allocations and additional external funding secured by 30th of June;
6. Noted the current position on the capital programme and that a further update will be brought to Cabinet in quarter 2 in respect of forecast spend this financial year; and
7. Approved the extension of the current Insurance contract by 12 months.
Reasons for the decision:
To ensure the Council’s budgetary targets are achieved.
Alternative options considered and rejected:
This report is in accordance with the Council’s financial procedure regulations.