Agenda item

Budget Strategy 2015/16 Onwards - Revenue


The Head of Finance and Resources presented the Revenue report as part of the Budget Strategy 2015/16 onwards. The report was produced annually following the publication of the provisional finance settlement figures, however, on this occasion the provisional settlement had not been received at the time the report was written. The finance settlement details had been released at the time of the Committee, and included the following:


·  The referendum limit for council tax increases was confirmed at 2%.


·  Comparing the settlement values to the 2015/16 estimate used in the Cabinet report on 17th December 2014 there was a reduction of £8,000. This would require funding on top of the savings already proposed.


·  The value of New Homes Bonus for 2015/16 would be £4,306,285 which was £68,811 greater than the Council’s current estimate.


Members were advised that the Budget Working Group had completed an in-depth review of the provisional business plans and proposals that would be brought forward to achieve the objectives of the Commercialisation Strategy. This was completed in order that the Group could be confident that the assumptions built into the Medium Term Financial Strategy were achievable. The Group had also considered a number of other aspects of the Medium Term Financial Strategy including the savings and efficiencies included with the report. The Chairman of the Budget Working Group explained that the Group had been generally positive with regard to the commercial projects presented, and noted the importance of speedy implementation.


In response to questions the following was noted:


·  An exercise had been conducted by departments to identify underused budgets and hold them aside. A large amount of underspend had been identified as slippage occurring due to staff employment. As the number of staff were reduced this reduced the expectation of slippage.


·  The Commercialisation Strategy aimed to attain an income of £1m over 5 years. Five business cases had been developed, and all would need to be agreed and implemented in order for the £1m income to be accrued. Where income could not be generated savings would be required instead. When the programme was established £500,000 was set aside to ameliorate risk.


·  The Council had purchased Aylesbury House Bed and Breakfast to be utilised as temporary accommodation for some of those to whom the Council had a housing duty. Members expressed that they would actively support officers to explore options that mitigate the financial risk to the Council while achieving strategic objectives when acquiring properties for residential purpose. The Cabinet Member for Corporate Services stated that when the Council managed its own housing stock maintenance of properties could be costly, and that this would need to be given due consideration when looking at the matter of acquisitions.


The Chief Executive, Alison Broom, informed the Committee that professional development on strategic risk would be provided for all Members, as an emphasis on commercial projects signalled the need for a collectively agreed approach to risk.




1.  That the report be noted.


2.  That it be noted that Members were in active support of Officers in finding options that mitigate the financial risk to the Council while achieving strategic objectives, and request an update from the Head of Housing and Community Services on this issue.


3.  That Officers be requested to produce Member Development sessions on strategic risk with a view to these being incorporated into new Member inductions commencing from elections in May 2015, and rolled out to all members.



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