The Budget Scrutiny Working Group is scheduled to pre-scrutinise the Financial Monitoring Report Quarter 3 at a meeting due to take place on Wednesday, 17th March 2021. Any recommendations on this subject arising from the meeting will be reported for the Executive Committee’s consideration in a supplementary pack.
The Head of Finance and Customer Services presented the Financial Monitoring Report for the third quarter of the 2020/21 financial year.
Members were advised that Officers were anticipating a £150,000 overspend at the end of the financial year. The Council had recently been informed that the Government would be allocating a further £35,000 to the authority to help cover lost income from fees and charges, which would help to offset this overspend.
Additional expenditure was anticipated in respect of the benefits subsidy and payments. This was because there had been no court processes during the Covid-19 pandemic and this work would need to be addressed at a later date.
The budget for Enabling Services was overspent by £172,000. A significant contribution to this overspend had been pressures arising from the Local Government Pension Scheme. This overspend had been partly offset by salary savings from vacant posts.
There was a significant underspend in the capital programme and this was projected to continue over the three year period of the programme. Senior Officers were in the process of reviewing the content of the Capital Programme to ensure that expenditure aligned more closely with the budget in future years. However, Members were asked to note that many of the delays to expenditure in the capital programme had been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In respect of the HRA, the Council was anticipating a significant surplus by the end of the financial year of £750,000. In part, this was due to a delay in respect of work by the Repairs and Maintenance department, as during the Covid-19 pandemic the focus had been on delivering essential works. The works that had not been completed at this time would eventually need to be progressed and therefore the surplus generated in 2020/21 had not been incorporated into the budget for future years out of recognition that these funds would need to be spent.
After the report had been presented Members discussed the following points in detail:
· The repairs and maintenance jobs that had not been completed during the Covid-19 pandemic and the extent to which this had created a backlog.
· The potential for a plan to be developed in respect of undertaking the repairs and maintenance jobs that had not been undertaken during the Covid-19 pandemic. Officers advised that proposals were being developed to ensure that an organised approach was adopted to addressing this matter. Health and safety would need to be considered as part of this process, with staff currently working for a maximum of three hours at properties in order to keep people safe.
· The possibility that assistance might be required from external contractors in order to address the backlog in repairs and maintenance. Officers confirmed that it was anticipated that a limited amount of support would be required from external contractors for this purpose.
· The potential for Members to be notified once the Council started to address the backlog in repairs and maintenance.
· The reserve that had been included in the budget to offset ... view the full minutes text for item 95