To consider the projected year end position based on performance to the end of Quarter 2 2021/22 and officers’ planned actions to ensure a balanced budget by the end of the financial year (the report includes key issues from the Quarter 1 2021/22 report which was due to be considered by Council at the scheduled meeting on 5 October 2021 that was cancelled).
The Deputy Leader and Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder presented the Corporate Financial Monitoring report for both Quarter one and two 2021/22. He informed Members that the report provided an update on the first half of the year, performance on the first two quarters as well as decision for Council following the Quarter 1 review.
The report highlighted the cost of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic with the current best estimate being at £337,000, which was significantly lower than the contingency plans. Despite this the Deputy Leader and Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder informed Members of ongoing risks and stated that it was too early to presume any significant savings. The report set out a projected overspend of £95,000 for business as usual activities, however if approved, the transfer from the NNDR pool will reduce this to an under spend of £49,000. The Deputy Leader and Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder informed Members of an overspend on employee costs due to the need to use agency staff in critical posts due to recruitment problems.
The Deputy Leader and Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder highlighted a request to transfer funds from the NNDR pool reserve, of £144,000 which would be used to fund salary costs for Economic Development and Culture Specialists to free up funding in other areas of the Council. Having concluded the report, the Deputy Leader and Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder proposed the recommendations in the report and was seconded by Councillor Jones (Climate Emergency and Biodiversity Portfolio Holder).
Members expressed concern regarding the impact of Local Government Reorganisation on the completion of projects and specifically referred to Ulverston Coronation Hall and Ulverston Leisure Centre and requested an update on the progress made on the Asset Transfer. The Deputy Leader and Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder reassured Members that the Council planned to deliver key projects despite Local Government Reorganisation. In addition, the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) informed Members that advice around current projects was being monitored by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Group, which was considering future projects, although no conclusions had yet been reached. Regarding the Coronation Hall, the Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder informed Members that the Council was awaiting the business plan to be submitted by Ulverston Community Enterprise and that the Council was willing to work with them to continue the good relationship going forwards.
Following a further query over the business plan for Ulverston Coronation Hall, the Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder emphasised that it was the responsibility of Ulverston Community Enterprise to submit the document to the Council.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the contents of the report and Appendices 1-3 be noted;
(2) the re-profiling of the Capital Programme as shown in 3.2.3 be approved and to create the relevant Revenue Budget for the Next Steps Programme;
(3) the revenue virements listed in 3.1.2 be approved and authority be delegated to the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) in conjunction with the relevant Operational Lead to enter into the relevant grant agreements accordingly;
(4) the use of the reserves as per 3.1.3 be approved; and
(5) the increase in Interest Rate Exposure Limit for Variable Rate Investments to £30 million from £20 million as shown in paragraph 3.3.4 be approved.