Cabinet members agree quarterly budget
Cabinet members discussed a potential budget overspend for the year at their meeting on Tuesday 23 August 2016.
Councillors received a report showing that use of reserves is currently taking place at a faster rate than planned, and will discuss actions to reduce the rate of use.
Full council agreed a budget using £17 million of reserves this financial year. This was to smooth the transformation of services needed to deliver future services in line with the savings required by government. However current spending would see a 2% overspend on the total budget of £311 million – or £6 million – if left unchecked, putting even more strain on council reserves.
Current approved budget plans include savings of £31 million over 2016 to 2018. Allowing for these savings, there remains a budget gap of £16 million for 2017/18, which rises to £38 million by 2019/20.
The major budget pressures come from the difficulty in making planned savings in adult and children’s social care when there are increasing demands, for example people are living longer with more complex needs such as dementia, and the need to keep children safe from harm. At the same time there are further cuts in government grants.
Cllr Sheard explains what is next
Council leader Cllr David Sheard said:
“This quarterly report is part of our normal process to keep a strong grip on spending and understand where our pressures are, we need to act quickly to tackle the overspend.
“This accelerated use of reserves is not sustainable, and would leave reserves at a critical level by April 2017. But this means the transformative change we need to achieve is more important than ever.
“Services right across the Council are busy changing what they do and how they do it as we move to new council. Many services have already made significant changes and we are well on the way – but we have much more still to do and we have to do it quickly.
“We will continue to monitor the progress and spending against the budget. Plans are being developed to reduce the predicted overspend and I have asked for detailed reports to be presented to Cabinet, on a quarterly basis, to monitor spend and progress against these plans.”