Agenda item

Capital and Revenue Outturn Report 2021/22


The Chair introduced the Capital and Revenue Outturn Report 2021/22 and advised Members that the report had been submitted to full Council earlier in the month. Members were directed to the questions submitted in advance of the meeting by Councillor Lowry and Brendan Arnold (Service Director for Finance) responded as follows:



what were the budgets for departments set at the beginning of the year versus the outturn (not the latest forecast); it was responded that the figures in table two in the report under ‘net budget’ were the original budget figures that would be seen in the preceding February’s budget report however it was practice to input into those machinery of Government changes, i.e. if a team moved between the directorates then the budget and the accompanying actual figure was also moved in the outturn table. That didn’t make a difference to the budget that was being monitored against. In 21/22 the changes were principally around the business support review programme;



the report made reference to reduced demand for some services, what were these and what were the savings to date? It was responded that because of the pandemic, both in 20/21 and 21/22, some expenditures had been deferred, e.g. extended order periods for good and services. A figure of £9.4m had been moved forward to the new budget year as a carry forward to balance the budget;



the report made reference to savings as a consequence of reduced demand however it was highlighted that one person’s demand was another person’s restricted access (e.g. with a library – if it were open for five days a week and ten people went in five days a week you get 50 people, however if you open for two days a week you might only get 20 people going in therefore it wouldn’t be reduced demand, it would be restricted demand). Was there assurance that the reduce demand wasn’t restricted demand? In response it was confirmed that the Service Director for Finance would do further research as to whether savings were made as a result of reduced demand or restricted demand and would provide a response to Members;



why did children’s services not make the planned saving of £4m and what actions were being taken to recover the missing savings? It was responded that insights were provided by the relevant department however there were significant successes in obtaining the savings in that year, e.g. the school transport delivery plan was delivered but the impact was offset by the additional costs of drivers. In addition the fostering delivery plan did not go entirely to plan as additional retirements and a shortage of foster carers which drove up costs elsewhere devoted to the care of children. Significant inroads were made to the savings target. There was a level of optimism that the delivery of the savings plan would be delivered in full – it was agreed that this would be provided to Members in a written note after the meeting;



the capital programme expenditure was approximately 50% of the planned budget, what projects had been affected and how did this affect the planned borrowing and investment approach? In response it was reported that, if the council was spending less money then in terms of daily market operations and placing cash on which it earns a rate of interest, that allowed cash to be placed in greater sums in the best places possible whilst balancing the risk in terms of the Council’s investments. Some investments were in higher yield places, and others were in lower yield places in order to balance the risk. It was considered that the Council was using those resources effectively to generate income. Currently there were a number of projects which had seen an element of re-phasing and slippage which included the crematorium, the Forder Valley Link Road, the Railway Station, Burrington Way. This was an issue affecting Council’s across the country;


what was the effect of rising energy costs and fuel costs with the outturn, also contracts for hedging our electricity, were these impacted? In response it was highlighted that 2021/2022 the upturn in energy prices began the last quarter so the impact wasn’t as big. Officers were preparing the forecast and it would be available shortly. The Council was expecting significant additional costs on energy moving forward and a number of initiatives to deal with this may be introduced to save money and reduce the use of energy.


It was agreed that –



the contents of the Capital and Revenue Outturn Report 2021/2022 was noted;



a written response would be provided to Members on whether savings in the budget were made as a result of reduced demand or restricted demand;



a written response would be provided to Members on the £4m savings target in the Children’s Services directorate and how this would be delivered;



information, as a result of the deep dive into Children’s Services by the Strategic Director for Finance, the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Children’s Services, and the Shadow Portfolio Holder for Finance, would be provided to Members of the Performance, Finance and Customer Focus Overview and Scrutiny Panel as well as the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Panel.



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