Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To consider the projected year end position
based on performance to the end of Quarter 1 2019/20 and Officers
planned actions to ensure a balanced budget by the end of the
The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented the Corporate Financial Monitoring report for Quarter One of 2019/20, highlighting the Council’s expenditure and income during the first three months of the financial year, but also including current projections of expenditure for the remainder of the year.
The report had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 16 August 2019.
The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder referred to the Government announcement in the previous week of a one-year settlement for Local Government. The reform of local government funding had been delayed by 12 months to April 2021, which would have a significant impact on the Council’s finances for 2020/21. Initial indications were that the temporary settlement would leave the Authority in a better financial position than that shown in the Medium Term Financial Plan presented to Council in July 2019. However, considerable uncertainty remained, and both Cabinet and Council would be kept informed.
The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, in closing, thanked the Finance Team for their work.
In response to a query regarding a perceived over-spend on Customer Connect, the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder explained that the expenditure referred to related to one-off transitional costs for redundant staff retained for a period beyond 1 April in order to assist the Authority during change. At present, these costs were being kept within departmental budgets, although this was to be reviewed by the Finance Team. The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder emphasised that this expenditure was not an over-spend on the Customer Connect Programme.
The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder responded to a further query about outstanding debts relating to Lake Windermere, informing Members that these were being dealt with proactively and that bad debts were not taken lightly by the Authority. He explained, however, that the debts referred to were complex in nature and that considerable financial and legal work had to be carried out in order to resolve them. The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) provided reassurance, indicating that a report was due to be presented to the October meeting of the Lake Administration Committee, including detailed information on individual debts and on action taken since the last meeting. In addition, she informed Members that Counsel’s advice was being sought with regard to long-standing debts.
The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder took the opportunity to draw to Members’ attention to list of projects shown within the Capital Programme as examples of what additional work could be carried out as a result of careful financial management. He mentioned, in particular, the work being carried out with local communities to improve play areas, highlighting Abbot Hall and Rayrigg Meadow as examples.
RESOLVED – That the contents of the report be noted.
Reasons for Decision
Regular budget monitoring forms part of the corporate governance arrangements that support all Council priorities.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
There are no alternative options.
Report author: Claire Read
Publication date: 13/09/2019
Date of decision: 11/09/2019
Decided at meeting: 11/09/2019 - Cabinet
Effective from: 23/09/2019