Agenda item

Quarter 4 Financial Performance Report 2021-22

Report by Councillor Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits.


Councillor Philip Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits presented the report that had also been considered at Cabinet on 6 June 2022 where the recommendations to Full Council were agreed.


The report provided information on the actual full year financial position of the Council as at 31 March 2022.  He was proud that the Council had achieved a balance budget and was a testament to what team Breckland had achieved. 


Councillor Jermy asked for the reason the Council needed to spend a lot of money on marketing and communications and the reason for the variance. Members heard that the variance was due to the additional version of the Transforming Breckland magazine which had been an important communication tool to the residents of Breckland. 


Councillor Birt said he had previously raised his concern on the shortfall that had been created by inflation and had asked  for a risk assessment and felt that in future, if issues had been raised on a report at committee meetings that supplementary information be added when the final report was presented to help inform decisions. 


He also added that the report stipulated ‘that achieving efficiencies had been strong’ and yet half of the target had been achieved and 25% of the prospect of savings had been abandoned.  A key part of a balance budget was to save millions within the Evolve programme, and he asked if  millions that had to be saved was realistic.


Councillor Cowen reminded Members that the Quarter 4 performance report had been based on the past 12 months and that inflation had been accounted for at the time when the budget had been set and was therefore a statement of fact at the end of Quarter 4.    Looking ahead, the Council would have to consider all factors when putting forward proposals.  


In response to the comment of achieving 54% efficiency, during the last 12 months the efficiency programme had to change and was therefore in line with best practice. Hence, the Worksmart programme had been introduced and had delivered what it had set out to achieve; a building fit for purpose for years to come and a work force who found the place of work to be significantly better than it had been in the past.  As a result, the efficiency programme was on track and continued to plan to make savings over the coming 12 months. 


Councillor Hewett congratulated the team on the performance data and how the performance of the Council had been managed over what had been remarkable economic circumstances to a tight conclusion as at the end of March 2022.


He added that he was delighted that Councillor Birt had picked up on the fact that the cash return was so low and therefore presumably implied the need to do more with the commercial property portfolio to make sure that producing the revenues that the tax- payers wanted during these difficult economic circumstances. 


It was RESOLVED that:


1)     the capital budgets (& associated funding sources) of £1,932,375 be carried forward into 2022-23 to support projects in progress be approved.


2)    the revised capital budget and associated funding for the 2022-23 capital programme as detailed in appendix B of the report be approved.


3)     the final capital out-turn and funding for 2021-22 as detailed in appendix C of the report be approved.


Supporting documents: