The report of the Director for Finance and Corporate Services is attached.
The Service Manager –Corporate Services presented the report of the Director – Finance and Corporate Services which outlined the year-end (outturn) position in terms of financial and performance monitoring for 2020/21. It was noted that this was linked to the closure of accounts process and previous financial update reports and includes the in-year variances along with variances resulting from Covid-19.
The Group were informed that the net revenue position shows a transfer to reserves of £8.892m (originally planned to be a transfer to reserves of £1.859m (adjusted down to £1.59m to reflect carry forward commitments) a significant net increase of £7.302m. The majority of this transfer is due to a number of high value transactions in the year relating to Covid; £7.4m of Covid grants received; £4.7m of payments of Covid Business grants paid out and £5m of S31 Business Rates (National nondomestic rates – NNDR) grants (related to additional Covid reliefs). The Service Manager –Corporate Services was pleased to note that overall, the impact of Covid-19 has been mitigated by in-year savings and service efficiencies.
The Group was informed that the year-end Capital Programme provision totalled £16.130m and that actual expenditure in relation to this provision totalled £9.306m (71% of the budget) giving rise to a variance of £6.824m, and a recommendation was made to carry forward £6.682m of this. The Group were informed that significant commitments had been made with regard to Bingham Hub, Crematorium and Gresham Pitches and 3G lighting but that wider issues surrounding the Covid pandemic had impacted upon the delivery of some of the schemes and as a result there has been some slippage. The projects have now commenced with the majority of the work expected to be completed in 2021/22. It was stated that the Capital Programme will be further updated with the revised budget position at September Full Council.
The Service Manager –Corporate Services asked the Group to comment on the monitored tasks which were outlined in the Corporate Strategy and the performance measures within the Corporate Scorecard. It was noted that despite the real impact that the pandemic has had on services, most notably the operation of leisure and community facilities, there had been positive outcomes for other indicators like a reduction in reported crime and lower NoX emissions. Additionally, many indicators that had not met their target had only been missed by a small margin which showed the efforts that had been made by officers to ensure services continued to be provided with minimum disruption to our residents.
The Service Manager –Corporate Services was pleased to note that there were no exceptions to report for strategic tasks and only six performance indicators falling below target in the corporate basket. It was noted that there were five performance exceptions on the operational scorecard:
It was explained that there had been 1,400 fly tipping incidents in which WISE had issued 72 fix penalty notices with prosecutions pending. The number of residents needing accommodation and the number of residential planning applications had both increased. Additionally, the increase of number of bin collections missed was due to an increase of agency staff not being familiar of the locations of assisted collections. To resolve this issue, refuse staff now have to report when they have completed an assisted collection.
The Service Manager –Corporate Services also asked the Group to note the four additional tasks to be added to the Corporate Strategy which were:
The Group thanked the finance team for their hard work in distributing grants to businesses. It was also suggested that a scrutiny matrix be completed so that the effectiveness of the growth boards could be scrutinised. The Group also asked if apprentices and graduates could assist with administration tasks in order to relieve pressure on the planning team. The Service Manager – Corporate Services advised the group that the Council had a number of apprentices across its services and resources within the planning team were being assessed in light of current workloads.
The Chairman read out an email response from the Service Manager – Neighbourhoods which provided additional information about the collection of residential waste. In summary, the email detailed:
Councillor Virdi asked questions regarding the purpose of the new collection fund reserve, the increase in transfer to reserves and the increase in the organisation stabilisation reserve. It was also queried whether the general fund balance of £2.6m had been maintained. Councillor Virdi also requested further information about the capital fund programme and if its funds were committed to upcoming projects. As the Service Manager – Finance was not present at the meeting the Service Manager – Corporate Services informed the Group that they would be provided with a response to these questions following the meeting.
It was RESOLVED that the following be noted;
a) the 2021/22 revenue position and efficiencies identified in Table 1, the Covid related variances in Table 2 and the carry forwards in Table 6;
b) the associated changes to the earmarked reserves as set out at Appendix B including the newly created Collection Fund Reserve as stated in paragraph 4.2;
c) the re-profiled position on capital and approves the capital carry forwards outlined in Appendix C;
d) the update on the Special Expenses outturn and loan position at paragraph 4.13;
e) the comments for performance exceptions and considers whether additional scrutiny is required;
f) the progress to date of Strategic Tasks and endorses the removal of completed tasks and inclusion of four new emerging tasks in the Strategic Task Review.