A report from the Executive Director Finance, Fay Hammond is attached. (Report No: 158) (Key Decision Reference Number: KD: 5024)
Councillor Mary Maguire, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, introduced the report of the Executive Director of Resources, Fay Hammond. (Report No: 158)
1. This report updates on progress following on from the report on the report on the Medium-Term Plan in July and the first tranche budget proposals in October 2019. The budget was constantly being updated to ensure it was resilient, sustainable and realistic.
2. The Council was committed to investing in its most vulnerable residents.
3. New budget pressures, including in adult social care, children’s services and SEN transport had been identified since the last report which had to be addressed. There had been over 100 extra special needs children identified.
4. Good news was that the Enfield Pension Fund had been found to be in surplus which has released an extra £3.6m into the budget.
5. Separate, one off, funding had been obtained from government grants and receipts from the London Business Rate Pool. This funding, although welcomed, could not replace proper regular funding, which was badly needed.
6. The current gap had been reduced to £1.565m, which would be closed using reserves, but only if absolutely necessary. Alternative solutions would be sought.
7. Concern about the ability of the Council to fund even statutory social service requirements in the future if no more government funding was provided. Ninety Four percent of Local Authority social service directors had expressed similar concerns.
8. Long term planning was difficult with so much funding uncertainty. Information about the level of future Government funding had been due on the 5December 2019, but this was not going to be ready because of the election. After the election, the new government would call an emergency budget meeting and the Council should have some idea about future funding levels.
9. Social Care was a priority for the Council, which had increased the social care budget by 10.5m, but because of demographic pressures more money was desperately needed.
10. Workforce was central to the quality of the service provided. Enfield was one of the lowest spenders but had excellent outcomes. There were difficulties recruiting social workers but the Council was investing in an apprenticeship scheme which should help in the future.
11. The Council’s income generation projects had also helped fill the funding gap including meanwhile income from Meridian Water of £1m.
12. Despite funding pressures, the Council was continuing to invest in projects to improve people’s lives, including the recent creation of a Modern Slavery Team, continuing the successful investing Summer University Programme and other measures to prevent youth crime. Enfield was number 7 in London for the incidence of modern slavery.
Alternative options considered - Details are set out in the report.
1. To note
1.1 The continued financial uncertainty facing local government.
1.2 The reduction in the funding gap from £3.322m to £1.565m.
1.3 An increase in the estimated funding of £2.225m following confirmation of the CPI increase on the SFA (£1.000m), that the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant (£0.800m) maintained at current levels and the London Business Rate Pool will continue (£0.425m).
1.4 The increase proposed in Adult Social Care and Children’s Social Care budgets of 9% (£10.549m), investing to support the most vulnerable in the Borough as exemplified in paragraph 6.13.
1.5 Updated savings proposals of £9.743m and income generation proposals of £1.653m for 2020/21.
1.6 It is proposed that the gap of £1.565m will be met by the one off use of reserves in 2020/21. However, work will continue on options to reduce the call on reserves but will only be proposed where achievable.
1.7 The next update on the Budget to Cabinet in February which will provide a further update on funding levels, additional savings and income generation proposals.
2. To approve the updated savings and income generation proposals in Appendix 2B of the report for further development and consultation.
REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS
Cabinet need to manage the 2020/21 to 2024/25 financial planning process with due regard to the available resources.