Agenda item

Budget Monitoring Outturn Report P8

This item refers to papers related to the Cabinet meeting on 26th January 2021. Papers can be viewed here: Budget Monitoring Outturn Report P8 - Papers

Minutes:

Michael Pilcher - Chief Accountant briefly took Members through the report and provided an overview of the current budget for the forthcoming Full Council meeting and the financial position of the Resources Directorate.

General Fund: when reporting officers had split down the cost and financial impact of pandemic from separately from ongoing base services.

          The Covid related financial impact was then estimated at £81M.  This was an increase since the previous Monitoring Report and was mainly due to a loss of fees and charges, loss of income and increased expenditure.

          Non-Covid related finances; forecast £6m overspend.  The Cabinet Budget Report included a request for approval for officers to draw down general reserves due to insufficient time to implement mitigating measures at this point in the year.

 

Ring Fenced Budgets:

·       Housing Revenue Account (HRA): forecast a £3.3m underspend due to the Council not being able to undertake repairs and maintenance. There were also some pressures caused by Covid such as loss of rental income and additional costs of making the housing stock Covid secure.

          Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG); forecast a £8.6m in-year deficit predominantly in the High Needs Block which leads to an £11.4m carry forward.

          Public Health (PH) Budget was forecasting no variation with a small draw-down to cover some of the pressures within Leisure Services.

 

Resources Directorate: Officers previously forecast a £5.5m overspend impact from Covid. This is due to additional expenditure and income losses.  And on on-going costs the Resources Directorate was forecasting a break-even position.

The Chair asked if the Adult Social Care (ASC) budget overspend had been predictable and if officers had any comment on the budging process that set the figures? Officers said that the Scrutiny Finance Task and Finish Group had raised concerns and these were also raised at a Full Council meeting. The Chair asked if the Council should not just increase the budget for this? Officers said there was a need to get balance right but that Bristol City Council was a high spending local authority (LA).  Services were being transforming but this was a very difficult year. But the Council needed to continually challenge itself about reducing the costs of those services.

Councillor Holland said that there were difficult circumstance every year but they would have clearer assumptions next year.  If the Council was a high spender and provided a gold service that was one thing but she questioned that was the case.  She added that she was more confident that the budget that had been set out this year portrayed a more realistic figure. But there were savings targets to reach every year.

The Executive Director for Adults, Children and Education said she agreed with what had previously been said.  There were a number of initiatives being implemented such as Help to Help Your Self to support independent living and provide better outcomes for people.  The Transformation Plan was very good Plan; it was achievable and they were driving real efficiencies in the system. Without Covid this year the Council would be much further along the journey.  However, in the next year or so people would see a very different service evolve.