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Agenda item

4th Quarter Finance, Performance and Risk Monitoring Report 2020-21


The Director of Finance and Business Improvement introduced the financial update of the report, reiterating the significant financial pressures that had arisen from the Covid-19 pandemic.


The Council had experienced £1.7 million in additional costs and £4.8 million in lost income due to Covid-19. However, due to the mitigating actions taken across the Council combined with Central Government funding to mitigate Covid-19 financial impacts, there was a one off £1.2 million underspend from 2020/21. The Director of Finance and Business Improvement emphasised that the potential long-term impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s financial position needed to be considered, as this could worsen in the future. It was proposed that the £1.2 million underspend be transferred into the Council’s reserves, which would not prejudice future decisions on its usage.


The Performance update of the report was introduced, with two of the three strategic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) having missed their targets. These were Housing Relief Duty and Resident Satisfaction. The former had an ambitious target of 60%, however it was noted that any residents not housed under the relief duty would then fall under the Council’s general housing duty. The Covid-19 pandemic had likely affected resident satisfaction.


Eight of the Council’s Service Committee KPIs had missed their target by more than 10%, however this was largely due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The Deputy Head of Audit introduced the risk management update and stated that the Council had continued its effort to create a more coherent approach to manage risks at strategic, corporate and operational level. There had been no changes to the risk profile and exposure of the 11 risks within the corporate risk register. The Business Rates Volatility and Collection Rates (Pandemic) risk ratings, within the operational risk register, had been reviewed after publication of the report and have since been decreased as the data from the first quarter of the current financial year had reflected a reduction in the pressures faced by the teams responsible for these risks. 


The Council’s commitment to continually advance and update the risk management process was highlighted.


In response to questions, the Director of Finance and Business Improvement confirmed that the Medium-Term Financial Strategy, as agreed by full Council in February 2021, had allowed for the Council’s reserves to be used to produce a balanced budget 2021/22. The £1.2 million underspend was an additional sum of money. It should be noted that the total amount of general unallocated and earmarked reserves excluding collection fund deficits was £18.2 million.


£860,000 of grant funding provided by Central government for the 2021/22 financial year was intended to aid the Council’s response to and recovery from Covid-19. It was likely that no further non-ringfenced funding would be provided to Local Authorities in dealing with Covid-19.


The Committee felt that transferring the £1.2 million underspend to General Fund Reserves was an appropriate action given the ongoing effects of the pandemic. There was support for providing additional funding for the development of non-spatial policies, as part of the Local Plan Review, in light of the underspend. It was felt that the policies had been required for some time and funding them now would allow progress to be made sooner.




1.  The Revenue position as at the end of Quarter 4 for 2020/21, including the actions being taken or proposed to improve the position, where significant variances have been identified, be noted;


2.  The underspend of £1.222 million be transferred to General Fund Reserves, without prejudice to any future decision of the Committee to earmark some or all of that amount for specific purposes;


3.  The Capital position at the end of Quarter 4 be noted;


4.  The Performance position as at Quarter 4 for 2020/21, including the actions being taken or proposed to improve the position, where significant issues have been identified, be noted;


5.  The Risk Update, attached at Appendix 3 to the report, be noted; and


6.  Up to £140,000 be made available for the non-spatial planning policy development, to be overseen by the Interim Local Plan Review Director in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee.

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