Venue: Committee Room 1 Civic Suite. View directions
Contact: Jane Game
Declarations of Pecuniary or Conflicts of Interest
There were none.
Questions and Deputations
There were none
The Board is:
· Provided with an update on the budget position for 2016/17 and subsequent years and agree feedback for the Cabinet;
· Asked to note that at the Budget Strategy Group meeting held on 11 January, Members supported a 2% increase in council tax to be spent on Adult Social Care but did not make any recommendation on the level of the general council tax increase. It was agreed that each political group would consider its position on the general council tax increase; and
· Asked to note that at the time of writing this report, the final local government finance settlement had not been announced. If an announcement is made before the Scrutiny Board meeting, an update will be provided.
The Board considered the report of the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive, with regard to the Budget Framework for 2016/17 – 2018/19. The report gave an update on the budget position for 2016/17 and subsequent years, including savings proposals and Scrutiny Boards’ comments on them, and proposed fees and charges for the year ahead. The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive also made a number of other key points as part of his presentation, which included:-
· The Local Authority was the second worse off across the 36 Metropolitan Boroughs as a result of the new settlement methodology. The final settlement from Government would be received on 10th February; this would include a settlement offer for next year and the three subsequent financial years, subject to the production of an efficiency plan;
· The decision of the Budget Strategy Group at its extraordinary meeting on 11th January was to recommend a 2% precept solely for Adult Social Care;
· The fact that throughout January, further funding and resource allocations had been announced and these had been taken into consideration in putting forward an indicative budget for 2016/17 – 2018/19.
The Board was asked to consider these issues and agree any comments on them for submission to Cabinet on 11th February 2016.
Members raised the following questions/queries:-
· In summary what changes had taken place to the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) over the past 12 months;
· Whether further investment was needed in improving the Local Authority’s recycling position, particularly in respect of food waste;
· To what extent was there confidence that savings targets were being met and how this was being monitored;
· Were there likely to be any significant changes in the final settlement;
· More detail was requested about the value and timescales for the projected risks;
· The implication of retaining 100% of the business rates;
· The implications on the budget framework of a proposed Council Tax freeze;
· How often were business rates re-evaluated; and
· Whether Council Tax collection rates were realistic.
In response the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive and other Officers where appropriate provided the following information:-
To outline the Medium Term Financial Strategy and Efficiency Plan (MTFS) for consideration and feedback to the Full Cabinet. (At the time of writing this report, the final local government settlement had not been received. If it is received before this meeting, an update on the settlement figures will be provided.)
The Board considered the report of the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive in respect of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and Efficiency Plan for 2016/17 to 2018/19.
The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive drew the Board’s attention to the fact that the Strategy was also the Local Authority’s Efficiency Plan, following the Government requirement to have an efficiency plan to agree the settlement figures for a four year period. He was confident the current MTFS would meet the requirements of an Efficiency Plan as it clearly demonstrated how the budget would be balanced to the government’s settlement figures over the next three years.
The following issues were raised: -
· A Member commented that the Strategy was a sound financial planning document that linked financial planning and resources to key Council priorities; however, there was scope to strengthen reference to Value for Money within the document; and
· Officers were thanked for their continued effort in delivering a robust MTFS.
The Scrutiny Board RECOMMEND to Cabinet that the Medium Term Financial Strategy and Efficiency Plan, as submitted, be supported.