Agenda item


Purpose of the report:  These reports present the Council’s financial position at the end of December 2014 and January 2015.




Kevin Kilburn, Deputy Chief Finance Officer


Key points raised during the discussion:

1.    A report was tabled from the Performance & Finance Sub Group, which met on Monday 2 March 2015.  An update was also provided, alongside the report, with a response from officers about queries that had been raised.  This update is attached at Annex A to these minutes.

2.    With regards to carry forwards, the Committee were informed that property maintenance and IT would most likely be carried forward due to the project management nature of the work.

3.    The Deputy Chief Finance Officer commented that the under spend within Property Maintenance was mostly due to the concentration on schools building maintenance.  

4.    Members received the following update regarding recommendations they had made to Cabinet in January 2015:

Update on Recommendations

a.    That consideration be given to the Decision Making Accountability Model of Organisational Redesign process, promoted by the LGA.


Adult Social Care

b.      That a Resource Allocation Rate of 75% be applied to the Friends, Family & Community Support programme in order to maximise the chances of exceeding the required full-year savings of 20%.

·         The Committee were informed that the target for the Resource Allocation Rate had been stretched already.  Officers were concerned that stretching it further this would cause issues and concerns for those affected.   It was noted that if this went any further, it could have an impact on users.  The Committee agreed after some debate to request the Cabinet to consider this further.

c.      That consideration be given to securing more Continuing Healthcare support for affected clients to reduce social care costs.

·         The Committee noted that there are some potential barriers to continuing health care, it was expressed that if CCG’s were supporting more people then there would be less of an impact on the council’s services.


Business Services

d.    That consideration be given to further reducing the assumption regarding utilities inflation.

·         The Committee was informed regarding utilities that the inflation had been reduced from 10% to 8%, there was also a further £90k less expenditure than originally budgeted for.

e.    That a further reassessment be carried out regarding the contribution to the self insurance fund to determine whether a further reduction could be made.

·         In relation to self insurance, the Committee was informed the amount the council would self insure for was increased to £500k from £100k.  This would be monitored and adjusting this would be considered at the end of March 2016 as part of the actuarial valuation.  It was added around £200k would be saved on the premium.

Children, Schools & Families

f.    That the investigation into Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) transport costs be accelerated so that some of the benefit (for example through the use of personal budgets) can be achieved within the latter part of 2015/16.

·         It was noted that the SEND Transport budget was leading up to the summer refresh; this was an area that would be looked by Committee’s during the summer refresh period. 

g.    That the Cabinet review current policy and practice to ensure that the School Expansion Programme maximises its use of funds available through Section 106 agreements, Community Infrastructure Levies (CIL) and other related planning and development means.

·         It was noted work on this was ongoing and further work was required.

·         The Committee stated Central Government had recently announced changes to housing; this meant possible implications of the new first time buyer schemes on CIL and Local Government funding. 

·         It was added that development money would be scrapped to encourage the building of 200 new houses, if there was no CIL money then development would not be possible.

·         It was stated that District and Boroughs had not completed the requirements to establish CIL.

·         The Environment and Infrastructure Committee would look into the concept of CIL and Section 106.

h.    That any reduction in the number of Children’s Centres required to achieve the Early Years Service savings be not in an area of significant deprivation or where necessary support is provided.

·         The Committee were informed this was ongoing and would be discussed at the Children and Education Select Committee.

·         It was agreed that this recommendation would be reemphasised to Cabinet. 

i.     That the Cabinet examine whether further savings can be obtained by ‘effective commissioning' so that there is some scope for reconsidering the savings in Early Years and Services for Young People.

·         The Committee were informed this was being looked at as part of the summer refresh would consider this.  It was expressed there was likely to be savings on both Early Years and Services for Young People.

j.     That the Council should continue to hold a ring-fenced reserve in 2015/16 to meet possible further pressures in Children’s Services such as increases in Child Protection referrals. 

·         It was noted this was being looked at as part of the summer refresh.


Environment & Infrastructure

k.    That any savings proposed for highway winter maintenance be reconsidered on the grounds of public safety.

·         The Committee was informed that this recommendation was not accepted by the Cabinet for the time being.

l.       That any significant reduction in the Local Highway Revenue budget be reconsidered, as this willaffect our ability locally to respond to ongoing residents' concerns over the state of local roads, drainage and environmental problems.

·         It was noted that the service was currently considering ways of handling these savings.  The Environment and Transport Select Committee would be discussing this.



5.    There was a discussion around Adult Social Care savings, it was stated that £250m is currently spent on social care packages.  If a small saving from this was made it would be used on other service users, it was expressed savings could be made through other streams such as social worker recruitment and retention.  The Cabinet Member noted she would take this back to Cabinet.


Hazel Watson left at 12.50pm


  1. The Chairman of the Committee said he had attended almost all the COSC and Select Committee Performance and Finance sub groups where savings had been suggested and discussed for each directorate. At those meetings it had been very useful when the relevant Portfolio holders attended and we should make that a recommendation for future meetings of those sub groups. The Committee also thought it would be a good idea for the sub groups to challenge the detailed directorate budgets.


Stephen Cooksey out at 1.03pm


Actions/Further information to be provided:

·         None.




That recommendations B and H above be restated to Cabinet


Committee next steps:


Select Committee Performance & Finance sub groups be reconvened to consider budget matters ahead of the summer refresh.



Supporting documents: