Agenda item

Going Concern

Report of the Director - Finance and Corporate Services



The Service Manager Finance presented the Going Concern report which provided an update on the Council’s current financial position, projected financial position, governance arrangements and the regulatory and control environment applicable to the Council as a local authority.


The Service Manager Finance informed the Group that the Council’s financial outturn position for 2022/23 showed efficiency savings of £570k which constituted 3.8% of net spend, with £19.6m in reserves which was a slight reduction due to the release of the Collection Fund reserve, and £2.6m in general fund reserves. Of those reserves, the Service Manager Finance said that £46.4m were held in cash or short-term investments.


The Service Manager Finance informed the Group that the Council’s capital programme at year-end totalled £21m, with £5.4m of that carried forward into 2023/24, mostly in relation to Bingham Arena and Rushcliffe Oaks Crematorium.  She said that the Council’s net worth was £106.3m, including fixed assets, and had been affected by pension fund volatility.


The Service Manager Finance explained that the Council’s medium term financial strategy reflected a five-year assessment of the Council’s spending plans and associated funding. She said that when set in 2023 it allowed for net spending of around £14.7m with a council tax increase of 2.00%, a Transformation Programme requirement of £622k in 2023/24, rising to £1.539m by 2027/28 and that the Council proposed to use £1.3m from the New Homes Bonus reserve to offset the impact of Minimum Revenue Provision. The Service Manager Finance said that the Council expected to use its reserves over the medium term. She confirmed that the Council had sufficient reserves to meet pay pressures at circa £400k from national living wage negotiations and pay awards.


The Service Manager Finance referred the Group to Appendix A which included data comparing the Council’s financial position with other local authorities, Appendix B for the Cipfa early warning system and the Council’s balance sheet at 2022/23 at Appendix C.


The Service Manager Finance confirmed that the Council had a well-established and robust corporate governance framework with an overview reported to this Group annually as part of the Governance Statement. She said that the Council operated within a highly legislated and controlled environment, including external audit, but noted that there were a number of local authorities issuing S141 notices or reporting difficulty in balancing their books, but said it unlikely that Government would allow the local authorities to fail.


The Service Manager Finance confirmed that the S151 Officer’s opinion was that the Council’s remained a going concern.


Members of the Group referred to Appendix A and the two Council Tax revenue matrices and the Service Manager Finance said that they were based on different measures and that Council Tax matrix related to the total Council Tax charge and not specifically the Rushcliffe element of that. The Group noted that the Council did not have control over the precepts set by the other organisations.  The Group asked about the property profile of the Borough in relation to Council Tax and the Service Manager Finance said that she would provide an update.


The Chair reminded Members of Group that the purpose of the Group was to scrutinise the actions of Rushcliffe Borough Council and not those of other organisations and to conduct that scrutiny without making party political points.


It was RESOLVED that the Governance Scrutiny Group note the positive outcome of the assessment made of Rushcliffe Borough Council’s status as a going concern for the purposes of the Statement of Accounts 2022/23.

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