To consider requests to transfer unspent budgets between financial years in order to enable the services identified to be delivered in 2020/21.
The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented a report detailing revenue carry forward requests totalling £0.6m into 2020/21. These were made up of a number of requests as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report and, as some of them were above £100,000, they would need to be approved by Council on 30 June 2020 as part of the outturn report. The largest areas related to:-
• £293,000 on the Customer Connect Programme
• £81,000 on Economic Development projects; and
• £85,000 on feasibility and design work on Ulverston Leisure Centre.
The approval of the carry forwards would enable the work that had been planned in 2019/20 to be delivered in 2020/21. Carry forward amounts had been reviewed against the draft service expenditure to ensure that at corporate, directorate and service levels there was sufficient budget to support the requests. This position could change as the Statement of Accounts and year end position were finalised. Any corrections required would be reported back to Cabinet and Council within the outturn report in June 2020.
Although the carry forward of budgets was an important flexibility within the financial procedure rules, the services identified needed to be delivered as part of meeting the Council Plan. To support this, spend of the carry forward amounts would be reported on as part of the quarterly budget monitoring, throughout 2020/21.
The underlying reasons for carrying budget forward would be reviewed with managers. Where improvements could be made to the method of profiling budgets, these would be fed in to the 202/22 budget process.
The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder turned to re-profiling of the Capital Programme, advising that variations on spending on the Capital Programme usually reflected changes in the progress of individual schemes. As these schemes spanned a number of years, any variation needed to be reflected in an update to the profiled spending in the Capital Programme.
Appendix 2 to the report showed those Capital Schemes in the 2019/20 Capital Programme where expenditure varied to the approved Capital Programme. To enable these schemes to continue and be completed, it was necessary to vary the Capital Programme in 2020/21 to reflect the variations in phasing of expenditure. The total for re-profiling was £3.2m. The Cabinet had delegated powers to approve these changes in accordance with Para 8.2 of the Financial Procedure Rules.
Although some of the underspend related to third parties, it was pointed out that there was still a significant amount directly in the control of the Council. Processes would continue to be reviewed to minimise any future yearly underspends.
Thanks were expressed to officers and to the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder for their work and for the informative report.
A vote was taken on the proposals during which all Cabinet Members confirmed that they had, without interruption, heard the full presentation and discussion on the item.
RESOLVED – That
(1) Council be recommended to approve the revenue carry forwards as set out at Appendix 1 to the report; and
(2) the re-profiling of expenditure and associated budgets for the capital schemes from 2019/20 into 2020/21 as set out at Appendix 2 to the report be approved.
Reasons for Decision
Approval of the carry forwards and re-profiling will allow the services identified within the appendices to the report to be delivered.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
There are no alternative options presented. Members could decide to not approve some or all of the proposed carry forwards or re-profiling. This would result in the specific scheme not being delivered but would, on the other hand, increase unallocated reserve balances that could be used for other purposes.