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Council meetings

Agenda item

Financial forecasts 2018-19

Decision:

Resolved: The Committee agreed to share its views with Mayor and Cabinet, as follows-

·         The Committee welcomes officers' report on income generation and is pleased with the comprehensiveness of the new income generation strategy. The Committee endorses the new strategy and recommends that it is agreed by Mayor and Cabinet.

·         Pending a decision by Mayor and Cabinet on the income generation strategy and the new fees and charges framework, the Committee looks forward to a future report on fees and charges in due course (a provisional update has been included on the Committee's work plan for March 2019).

·         The Committee anticipates progress on cultural change at the Council to stimulate commercial thinking and to bolster entrepreneurial activity. It is eager that this change permeates throughout all of the Councils directorates, divisions and services.

·         The Committee believes that the Council should retain corporate support for procurement and commercial services in order to coordinate and support this work.

·         The Committee asks that, in a years’ time, officers return with a comprehensive review of the first year of the strategy and that this includes an assessment of the areas that have been considered and potential future income targets.

·         The Committee endorses the work carried out by its Vice-Chair and it has attached the briefing she has provided to its referral.

 

Minutes:

This item was considered after the social value policy.

 

5.1      Selwyn Thompson (Head of Financial Services) introduced the report, the following key points were noted:

·         The report provided the monitoring position to the end of October 2018. It covered the main areas of the Council's financial business.

·         The Oracle Cloud system was being rolled out across the organisation and officers were increasingly confident in using it.

·         There had been a small reduction in overspending.

·         Additional information would be provided in future reports about the progress towards the implementation of the cuts.

·         Additional funding had been added to the CYP budget to help manage overspending in the directorate.

·         Officers in the directorate were working closely with finance officers to thoroughly monitor and manage expenditure in the CYP directorate.

·         Community Services had benefitted from additional funds for winter pressures. Further work would take place to agree how this funding would be allocated.

·         There were continued pressures in the Customer Services directorate relating to environmental services and the shared IT service.

·         Additional information about capital expenditure had been included in the report, as requested.

 

5.2      Selwyn Thompson responded to questions from the Committee, the following key points were noted:

·         Officers would review the budgets for CCTV and the latest position on the budget for Beckenham Place Park.

·         Further information would be sought on the costs and income from the pantomime in the Catford Broadway theatre.

·         Council tax collection was slightly down on projections. It was anticipated that the lifetime collection (over four or five years) would meet the target. Information would be provided about the reporting of income from council tax from previous years.

·         The shared IT service overspend resulted from Southwark entering the arrangement as a partner rather than as a customer (meaning that savings were made by Southwark, rather than to the shared service). The cut would have to be reversed in order to balance the budget. Nonetheless, significant savings had been achieved by the service over a number of years.

·         The CYP directorate improvement board was making good progress. It incorporated officers from a number of different areas (including finance, HR and policy).

·         Budget costs and accountabilities were being reviewed in all areas of children's services.

·         Officers would provide additional information about overspending outside of the three regularly reported budget heads (local authority fostering, agency fostering and residential placements) as well as additional information about the overspends for these three areas.

 

5.3      In Committee discussions the following key points were also noted:

·         There should be an update on overspending in the Council's budget before the draft 2019-20 budget was considered at the Committee's meeting in February 2019.

·         The risk assessment for an imminent OFSTED should be included in the section on the Children and Young People's directorate.

·         Members were concerned that the CCTV service was underspending but that cameras were not working in a number of places.

·         The Audit Panel had requested that the Committee should consider the management of the Catford Regeneration Partnership. A referral would be forthcoming.

·         There were concerns about the changes to the funding available for the regeneration of Beckenham Place Park following the withdrawal of funds from the Environment Agency.

·         Members considered that there were some serious weaknesses in the financial forecasts reports and the performance of the Council's internal audit functions.

·         Members remained concerned about overspending in the shared IT service.

 

5.4      Resolved: that the report be noted and that the additional information and clarifications (on the CCTV budget, Council tax collection, income from the pantomime, the budget for the regeneration of Beckenham Place Park and budget heads for CYP services) requested be provided.

 

Supporting documents: