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Agenda item

3rd Quarter Financial Update & Performance Monitoring Report


The Lead Member for Corporate Services introduced the report and stated that the proposal to write-off the rent arrears from Chillington House was due to the funds being irrecoverable, despite attempts to recover the arrears. The proposed re-allocation of funds from the Vibrant Economy, Resilience Communities and The Way We Work branches of the Council’s Recovery and Renewal Action Plan was explained, with the funding to be re-directed to support the Community Resilience Fund, and Let’s Talk Maidstone across a three-year period.


It was stated that there was a projected surplus of £446,000 for the end of the financial year, with the ongoing financial pressures being experienced by the Council noted, in part due to rising energy costs. The £1.3 million built into the budget to off-set the effects of inflation was highlighted, with a delay in capital spending due to market conditions.  


The Lead Member outlined the council tax collection rates, treasury management and risk monitoring process in place, and the three key performance indicators that had missed the target by more than 10%. The Councils finances remained sound, with unallocated reserves in place, but financial uncertainty still remained the top risk faced by the Council.


In response to questions, the Director of Strategy, Insight and Governance outlined the purpose and use of the ‘let’s talk’ platform and how the reallocation of funds would allow its use to continue. In response to further questions, the Director of Finance, Resources and Business Improvement stated that progress had been made in letting the office space available within Maidstone House, with rental income expected to be in line with projections. The increased energy costs at Maidstone House and other corporate properties were highlighted, with a cautious view taken in forecasts of variances in response, but the Council had locked into the Kent wide energy procurement agency from 1 April 2023. Any underspend from the current financial year would be reviewed by the Executive to determine its future use, which was standard practice and would likely occur in June 2023.


Several Members of the Committee expressed support for the cautious approach taken to secure a robust financial position for the Council.


In response to questions on the ‘Loss of workforce cohesion and talent’ risk, the Chief Executive stated that the Council was implementing controls in response to current market conditions, such as the graduate micro site which had been successful in recruiting to vacant planning posts. The Council experienced similar recruitment and retention issues to other Local Authorities, with the framework used to assess risks generally to be reviewed with the Council’s Audit, Governance and Standards Committee post May 2023. At the same time, the Executive would be advised to review corporate risks to ensure that its priorities, and any risks to achieving those priorities, were known in advance.


In discussing recruitment and retention, the Committee felt that further information on the number and details of the apprenticeship’s provided by the Council was required. In response, the Chief Executive confirmed that whilst a permanent offer of employment was not included within apprenticeship schemes, vacancies often arose which apprentices could apply for, and that she was not aware of any instances where an apprentice wished to stay with the Council and had been unable to. The apprenticeship scheme was part of the wider workforce strategy, which when refreshed would be reviewed by the Committee. In the meantime, further details on the apprenticeship schemes provided would be circulated to the Committee via email.




That the following be noted:


1.  The Revenue position as at the end of Quarter 3 for 2022/23, including the actions being taken or proposed to improve the position, where significant variances have been identified;


2.  The Capital position at the end of Quarter 3 for 2022/23;


3.  The Performance position as at Quarter 3 for 2022/23, including the actions being taken or proposed to improve the position, where significant issues have been identified;


4.  The Risk Update, attached at Appendix 3 to the report;


5.  The Recovery and Renewal Update, attached at Appendix 4 to the report;


6.  The UK Shared Prosperity Fund update, attached at Appendix 5 to the report;


That the Executive be recommended to:


7.  Write-off irrecoverable outstanding rent due of £25,152 from Chillington House; and


8.  Endorse the reallocation of Recovery and Renewal Funding for a number of projects as shown at 2.4 of the report.





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