Agenda item

ARP Forecast Financial Performance 2022-23 (Agenda item 6)

Report of Alison Chubbock, Assistant Director of Finance & S151 Officer (BDC).


Alison Chubbock, the Assistant Director for Finance & S151 officer (BDC) presented the report.


The report was of a similar picture that Members had seen at the last meeting in December 2022, in terms of the overspend.


The reasons for this overspend had been detailed in Appendix A of the report.  Whilst there had been particular pressures in staffing and supplies and services these had been mitigated as much as possible by ARP and also, as mentioned in the performance report, the enforcement income and the fraud services from Cambridgeshire County Council was slightly lower than budgeted.  Notification from Government was still awaited on the value of the New Burdens Grants.  It had been previously stated that this funding would be received by the end of March 2023 but the value was not yet known; therefore, these grants had not been included in the report.  Once received the overspend would be reduced accordingly.


In addition to the above other grants had been received that some councils had retained directly which again had not been shown in the report.  


Councillor Broughton asked if ARP should be worried about the overspend going forward.  The Assistant Director of Finance stated that she was mostly concerned with the income rather than the spend but this was being closely monitored. The income would always be a challenge as it was affected by matters outside of the councils’ control such as the Council Tax rebate scheme which was very good news for residents but reduced the income from enforcement.   She was comfortable with the budget moving forward but it was definitely an area that needed to be closely monitored.


Councillor Cowen referred back to the performance report that also linked into Councillor Broughton’s aforementioned comment.  He had noted that the Enforcement Team was up to full strength, yet the enforcement income was dropping and consequently there was now a perceived mismatch.  He assumed that the staffing complement would be able to be redeployed elsewhere in the short term and perhaps begin to address, for example, Cambridgeshire fraud, and whether or not ARP needed to look at how the staffing complement was keeping pace with the income stream. He had been championing ARP to drive forward income and therefore was keen to understand that when the overspend was getting close to a £500k overspend, whether that was going to be reduced due to the New Burdens funding but also whether or not it was going to have a potential impact on other aspects of the business.


The Head of ARP explained that the staff complement was being kept under review in terms of the workforce makeup in the Team.  Also, time had been spent on reviewing and understanding the number of cases that had been sent through to ARP as there had been a 30% shortfall in cases in this financial year.  However, in the conversations that were being had with various partners/authorities for this financial year, it was forecast that cases should increase.  It was noted that when ARP took on Broadland’s enforcement work in July 2022, the staff complement had not been increased.  Members were informed that all such matters were being discussed at the Operational Improvement Board meetings and would remain under review.


The report was otherwise noted.

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