Agenda item

Revenue Management Report: Quarter 2

To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the attached report.

Decision:

RESOLVED –

  1. That at Quarter 2 the net expenditure on services year to date was £7,275,000, which was £39,000 less than forecast be noted;
  2. That by year end the Council anticipated next expenditure of £13,728,000 on services, which was £98,000 over budget; and
  3. The Write Offs set out in Paragraph 2.26 of Appendix J be approved.

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

To show the actual expenditure on services compared to the revised budget for the period ending 30 September 2019, and the forecast outturn position, highlighting significant variances from the revised annual budget. 

Minutes:

Jane Fineman, Head of Finance and Procurement introduced this Report that showed the actual expenditure on services for the period ending 30 September 2019 and the forecast outturn condition, including variances from the revised annual budget and included the following:

 

-       The actual expenditure to 30 September 2019 was £7.275m, £39,000 less than budget. 

-       However the forecast outturn for the year was currently £98,000 over budget.

-       The main movements had been a £87,000 forecast reduction in staff costs (£55,000 from planning and £32,000 from finance).  This was because recruitment had been particularly challenging. 

-       The income from cremations in Quarter 1 was much lower than budgeted and this had continued into Quarter 2.  This meant income was now forecast to be £120,000 below budget by year end. 

-       A reduction in car parking income of £60,000 was now forecast.  Parking income in Royal Victoria Place and Crescent Road were both below budget.  Season ticket income at Crescent Road was on budget, which suggested it was shopper and visitor numbers that had declined.  Season tickets were not available at Royal Victoria Place.

-       Income from Fixed Penalty Notices for littering and dog fouling was forecast to be £82,000 under budget.  This was mainly due to the contractor terminating its contract with the Council.  The income loss was mitigated in part by the reduction in the contract cost -  a total of £49,000.  

-       The Council had now set up its own enforcement  service for littering and dog fouling but this would take some time to get up to speed. 

-       Earmarked reserves were forecast to be £10.6m by the end of the year.  Total reserves would be £19.7m.

-       The Report showed that the Capital Programme was not quite fully funded, being £284,000 under.  With a challenging Capital Programme it might be that further projects would have to be rescheduled into future years.  Income from the sale of assets could be used to finance capital projects and bridge the funding gap.

-       The reserves did not include the impact of the cessation of the Calverley Square development, this would be presented in Quarter 3 accounts. This was because the decision was taken after the end of September.

-       The Report included a request to Cabinet to approve the Write Off of £11,943 of Housing Loans.  To assist in the prevention of Homelessness the Council gave interest free loans to pay for rental deposits.  The Council endeavoured to collect the loans at a later date, but this was not always possible. 

 

Discussion and responses to member questions included the following:

 

-       The loan Write Offs included in the Report only related to the larger debts.  There were smaller debts that the Section 151 Officer was authorised to Write Off. 

-       The Council was very successful at recovering the loans with only a few that needed to be written off. 

-       The Council had seen a significant increase in the number of loans that had been issued.  This was as a result of the Homelessness prevention that the Council was required to undertake.  This had put extra pressure on the Finance Team and additional resource was being put into the recovery of the loans.  Due to the number of loans issued, the current level of debt was quite high.  But over time they would be repaid. 

-       The next few years was likely to show an increase in the number of Write Offs but this would be due to the increase in the support that the Council was required to give. 

-       A number of agencies help with debt issues, including the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). But usually the Council dealt with the individual direct to determine what was affordable in terms of repayment.   This was done in conjunction with the Housing team, particularly at the time the loan was issued to avoid individuals being put in a position where the repayment was unaffordable. 

 

RESOLVED –

  1. That at Quarter 2 the net expenditure on services year to date was £7,275,000, which was £39,000 less than forecast be noted;
  2. That by year end the Council anticipated next expenditure of £13,728,000 on services, which was £98,000 over budget; and
  3. The Write Offs set out in Paragraph 2.26 of Appendix J be approved.

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

To show the actual expenditure on services compared to the revised budget for the period ending 30 September 2019, and the forecast outturn position, highlighting significant variances from the revised annual budget. 

Supporting documents: