A report from the Executive Director – Resources is attached. (Key decision – reference number 4944)
(7.30 – 7.35 pm)
Councillor Mary Maguire (Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement) introduced the report of the Executive Director – Resources (No.71) setting out the Council’s revenue budget monitoring position based on information to the end of June 2019.
1. That after the application of capital receipts for transformation purposes of £2.6m; the revenue budget forecast reflected an outturn position of £3.9m overspend for 2019/20 which would be funded using the Council’s reserves, as detailed in the report.
2. The forecast position for the Dedicated Schools Grant as detailed in the report (paragraph 1.4 and section 5 of the report referred).
3. That the Housing Revenue Account was forecasting no variance to budget.
4. The departmental monitoring information, budget pressures and mitigating actions as set out in the report and its appendices.
5. The proposed flexible use of capital receipts as detailed in section 5 and Appendix I of the report.
6. The background as set out in section 3 of the report. The continuing budget pressures being experienced; the areas most affected and the actions being taken as detailed in the report. Members’ continued to express their concern over inadequate Government funding to meet growing demand and pressures experienced by local government.
7. That £0.6m of income generation was considered at high risk of not being realised, Appendix G, Table 7 of the report referred.
8. That management actions were ongoing to continue to address these budget pressures and seek to improve budget forecasting. The Pressures Challenge Board had been reconvened.
9. In response to questions raised, Members discussed the pressures being experienced in the area of Adult Social Care and in particular the highlighted budget pressures of Independence and Wellbeing Enfield (IWE) as set out in the report. The complex needs and high cost of provision in relation to the Learning Disabilities Service was noted. The pressures experienced and the impact of cases transitioning from child to adult support provision were explained. The range of issues experienced around the projection of the number of individual cases requiring support, and related costs were discussed in detail.
10. The rising number of older people in the Borough, their long-term health conditions, and support required was noted. The Council’s investment in the provision of additional supported living opportunities in the Borough, including at the Reardon Court development was discussed. Long-term solutions were required to this area of growing need. It was noted that the provision of Adult Social Care was underfunded nationally, however, Enfield continued to provide good quality services to its residents.
11. Members were reminded of the Council’s investment in Adult Social Care as part of this year’s budget process. Whilst an overspend was still forecast, the budget position for this area was a significant improvement from the previous year.
12. In response to questions raised, Members discussed the provision and cost of Home to School/SEN transport in the Borough and the reasons for the projected overspend, as set out in paragraph 5.22 of the report. It was noted that the provision of an additional 300 SEN pupil places in the Borough would have a positive impact on future expenditure. Members were advised that this provision had also reduced the level of potential overspend on the Dedicated Schools Grant. The Local Authority was currently awaiting details of the funding to be provided for the next financial year.
13. That work was currently being undertaken on a new travel assistance policy which would be brought to Cabinet in due course for consideration together with a further report on SEN provision in the Borough.
14. Members expressed concern at the continued lack of clarity regarding the Government’s funding settlement. In particular; it was noted that a 75% London Pilot Pool for 2019/20 had been announced as part of the Local Government Finance Settlement in December 2018 and Budget included this within its assumptions. There was no clarity yet regarding future pooling.
15. Members whilst acknowledging that the budget position had improved from the previous year, were not complacent and would continue to seek mitigating actions to address the forecast overspends as set out in the report. It was noted the recommendations for full Council would be addressed within the February Budget outturn report.
16. Members discussed and noted the reasons for the projected overspend in relation to the Dry Recycling Contract as set out in paragraph 5.23 of the report. The mitigating actions being taken, including the changes to the Council’s waste recycling arrangements; and, the employment of dedicated recycling officers to engage with residents and improve communication in this area were explained in detail. Members highlighted the need to remind residents of the issues around the contamination of recycling waste.
Alternative Options Considered: Not applicable to this report.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to:
1. Note the financial backdrop to the Council’s budget position (described in paragraphs 3.1 to 3.11 of the report).
2. Note the £3.9m overspend revenue outturn projection and the use of £2.6m of capital receipts to support organisation transformation.
3. Note that Cabinet Members would continue to work with Executive Directors to implement action plans to reduce the forecast overspend in 2019/20 and implement savings.
4. Note that the Pressures Challenge Board would be reconvened for 2019/20.
5. Note the position of the Dedicated schools Grant (DSG) as set out in section 5.37 of the report.
6. Note the position of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) as set out in section 7 of the report.
7. Recommend £1.5m of the overspend in respect of IWE being met from Contingency as set out in paragraphs 5.8 and 5.32 of the report.
8. Recommend that Council approve the update to the planned flexible use of capital receipts for 2019/20 (paragraph 5.36 and Appendix I of the report).
Reason: To ensure that Members were aware of the projected budgetary position, including all major budget pressures and underspends which had contributed to the present monthly position and that were likely to affect the final outturn.
(Key decision – reference number 4944)