Agenda item

Budget Scrutiny Recommendations


Councillor Chris Penberthy (Chair of the Budget Scrutiny Select Committee) presented the report to Cabinet –


Councillor Penberthy made the following key points:


a)   Thanked each of the scrutiny panels, members of the Select Committee, officers who supported the budget scrutiny process and members of the executive who had met with both the scrutiny panels and the Select Committee.



The budget report that had been scrutinised identified that after £6.751m of identified savings, the Council would continue to have a budget shortfall of £13.533m in the proposed budget for 2022/23. The Select Committee sought to understand how the gap would be met;



17 recommendations had been made to the executive which had been detailed in the agenda packs;



The Select Committee identified the need for transparency in reporting cross cutting areas where there would be high public interest such as the spend on the climate emergency, tackling violence against women and girls or the on-going financial costs of the Council tackling the impact of COVID;



The Select Committee advised that a requirement for financial assumptions to reflect the rapidly changing external environment would be needed and for the continued lobbying of government to ensure that revenue funding streams in the future would be long term and not on an annual basis;



The Select Committee had been very concerned about the crisis in health and social care and it had been recommended that action needed to be taken locally to lobby government;



Select Committee members did not agree to the Governments application of a national insurance levy to address issues of social care and have recommended that the revenue collected over the year would be used for national health issues rather than addressing the local social care crisis;



Councillor Chris Penberthy (Chair of the Budget Scrutiny Select Committee) presented the Budget Scrutiny Recommendations to Cabinet -



That Cabinet Members and Officers should review the budget development process to ensure that options for closing expected budget gaps are identified during Cabinet’s review of the draft budget ahead of its submission to the scrutiny function. 



That the ongoing costs and impact of Covid-19 continue to be reviewed through the finance monitoring process at Cabinet and regular reporting to the scrutiny function, to enable the development of an evidence base to support any requests to government for additional funding and / or flexibilities to enable us “to live with the virus”.



That cabinet should clarify, before council consideration of the budget

The status of the Disabled Facilities Grant

Contingency and mitigation measures in place to address external factors such as inflation, supply chain and workforce issues both on the Capital Programme and Revenue Budget.



Approach to cyber security and how this is / will be reflecting in the Strategic Risk Register.



That climate outcomes are clearly identified within the capital programme.



To note the progress which has been made against the delivery of “Fair Shares” health funding and recommend that Cabinet continue to lobby for further acceleration of the redistribution



That Cabinet recommend to council to apply the Adult Social Care 1% precept, but that the council should lobby for funding in future years delivered through central government grants. 



That Cabinet make provision in the budget for the recommendations arising from the Violence Against Women and Girls Commission.



That Cabinet consider within its invest to save programme, the development of further resources / facilities specifically within Children’s Social Care to manage local demand locally.



That through the Local Care Partnership,  a Plymouth Workforce Plan for Children and Adults Health and Care Services is developed for review by the Health and Wellbeing Board.



The council,  through its HR teams identify Mental Health First Aiders within the work force and champion the approach with public and private sector partners


To Government



To lobby for multiyear settlements in respect of the Public Health Grant and for earlier announcements of grant allocations which meets local government budget timelines.



Recognise the investment and work which has been carried out locally in respect of homelessness but lobby government for multiyear funding for homelessness, extending beyond rough sleepers.



To lobby for earlier, equitable distribution of the National Insurance Health and Social Care Levy to Social Care.



To lobby government for a national health and social care workforce strategy.

To scrutiny



Further review of the Corporate and Commercial Estate and Accommodation Strategy.



Further consideration of digital exclusions and the councils measures to address it.



Councillor Nick Kelly (Leader) responded to the Recommendentations from the Budget Scrutiny Select Committee.


Cabinet agreed to all of the recommendations from the select committee and thanked the Chair (Councillor Chris Penberthy) and the committee for all of their hard work.



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