Quarter 4 Financial Performance Report (Agenda item 12)
Report of Michael Wassell, Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services.
The report provided information on the actual full year financial position of the Council as at 31 March 2013.
The Vice Chairman presented the report.
Referring to the Revenue Budget, Table 1 on page 95 of the agenda, it was noted that the Council had under spent £51,396 of an already optimised budget; this was after contributing £585,000 into a new Communities Reserve which would allow the Council to fund community based projects, and also make provision for future expenditure.
Table 2 on page 96 of the agenda - Members were asked to note that in 2012-13 the identified efficiencies in the budget were £748,380 but in fact the Council actually achieved an additional £515,693 worth of efficiencies making a total of over £1.14m; this was something that all Members and Officers should be proud of.
Table 4 on page 97of the agenda noted some of the significant variances; one in particular was the Housing Benefit Grants of £364,066 much of which had been a subsidy from Central Government based on the accuracy of the claims process which was a credit to the staff at the Anglia Revenues Partnership. Members were also asked to note an under spend of over £105,400 for waste collection, and an additional income of £155,000 from the garden waste scheme. Despite some overspent items, it was noted that from the continuance of table 4 onto page 98 of the agenda, the total of the combination of additional income and under spend was £982,000. It should also be noted that it was expected that approximately £184,000 of this year’s saving would continue into future years, thus reducing the pressure on forthcoming year’s budgets. However, it was still emphasised that the Council would still need to make significant further efficiencies and increases in its income in order to prudently manage these future year budgets. Members were asked to recall that Breckland Council had a projected budget deficit by 2017-18 of £2.5 million which all were working hard to reduce and hopefully this deficit would be eliminated without being complacent.
The Reserves shown on table 5 on page 99 of the agenda showed the level of unallocated Reserves was prudent and commensurate with the level of risk that the Authority was required to mitigate. The level of Reserved Matched Funding Reserves would allow continued support for community projects. This authority had also been prudent in maintaining a healthy Organisational Development Reserve, which had been originally created as part of the Shared Management policy and the new Communities Reserve had been created as a result of the contributions made this year.
The Capital section of the report commencing on page 100of the agenda, had been reported to Cabinet before but had been included for completeness, however, Members’ attention was drawn to table 2 on page 101 of the agenda,the Capital Financing Requirement (CFR), where it was highlighted that in 2013-14 there was a figure of £7.39m against Property (Land and Buildings), of this, £6.20m related to the Riverside project and in 2014–2015 of the £1.493m, £450,000 related to Riverside. Members were also asked to note that the CFR was negative until 2014-15 indicating that the Council had no borrowing requirement, highlighting yet another indicator of the prudent financial management that this Council had undertaken both currently and in the past. From 2014–15; however, the Council had, what was in essence, an unfunded Capital Program, and as mentioned earlier, it was the availability of these Reserves going forward that gave the Council flexibility and choices. The Council could choose to convert some of the aforementioned Revenue Reserves to help fund the Capital Program or, it could choose to borrow the funds, or ultimately modify the Capital Program to change the funding requirements. What had happened in Local Government historically was that authorities had to look at funding on an annual basis what must be done now was to manage the budget in the Medium Term Plan and by having a healthy level of Reserves allowed the Council to do as such.
The Vice-Chairman concluded his précis of the report and said that he would gladly take any questions. He also drew Members’ attention to the recommendations on page 93 of the agenda.
The Executive Member for Internal Services also drew attention to further savings made by the Anglia Revenue Partnership.
To note the report and approve the virement detailed within table 3 of section 1 of the appendix and recommend to Full Council that:
a) the £585,000.00 be contributed into a new Communities Reserve to allow the Council to fund communities based projects;
b) the provisions totalling £346,000.00 (as detailed in table 4 of the appendix be approved; or
To note the report but not approve the virements, reserve movements or provisions, leaving the balance in the General Fund.
To provide timely information to Members on the overall finances of the Council and make the best use of resources available, anticipating future years expenditure.
(1) the report and appendix be noted; and
(2) the virements detailed in Table 3 of Section 1 of the appendix be approved.
RECOMMEND to Full Council that:
(1) £585,000.00 be contributed into a new Communities Reserve to allow the Council to fund community based projects; and
(2) the provisions totalling £346,000.00 (as detailed in table 4 of the appendix) be approved.