Agenda item

Cobtree Manor Estate Financial Position


The Senior Finance Manager (Client) introduced his report summarising the financial position of the Cobtree Manor Estate as at 30 November 2019.  The report covered the Golf Course, Kent Life, the Manor Park and residential properties.  The report also included details of the proposed budgets for 2020/21 and an update on the Service Level Agreement.


Financial Position


The Senior Finance Manager (Client) advised the Committee that:


·  The summary totals showed a positive variance of £13,854 for the Charity at the end of November 2019.  The forecast for the year was for an operational surplus of £55,920, compared to a provisional surplus of £35,596 for 2018/19.


·  There were no issues to report at this stage in respect of the Cobtree Golf Course.  Mytime had been invoiced for the first three quarters of 2019/20 and the first two invoices had been paid.


·  In overall terms, the budget for the Manor Park was showing an underspend but there were some underlying issues:


The new Apprentice post was still vacant, and would not be filled during this financial year, resulting in an underspend on employee costs.


There were some overspends on controlled running costs relating mainly to electricity, equipment purchases and security costs, but these additional costs had been partially offset by underspends on repairs and maintenance and employee costs.


Car park income continued to be high and the profit share element of the café contract had generated more income than was forecast.  These two income streams together with the underspends on repairs and maintenance and employee costs meant that the issues outlined above were covered.


·  There were no issues to report at this stage in respect of Kent Life and residential properties.


In response to questions, the Senior Finance Manager (Client) explained that expenditure on electricity had been investigated.  It appeared that a meter reading was taken resulting in previous bills being amended to reflect actual usage.  With regard to the Cobtree Golf Course, the 2/9ths share payable to the Borough Council was the total share of net income payable and did include recharges.


Budgets 2020/21


The Senior Finance Manager (Client) advised the Committee that:


·  The proposed budgets for 2020/21 included a revised budget for the current year.  The revised budget for 2019/20 should show the sum of £69,950 in respect of the repayment of car park construction costs, leaving a net surplus after repayment of £30,970.


·  In overall terms the projected surplus from operational and investment activities for 2020/21 was £55,440 compared to £55,920 for the current year.  After allowing for investment income and the repayment of the car park construction costs the overall net surplus reduced to £30,790 which was broadly in line with the cashflow projections previously reported to the Committee.


·  Issues to highlight included the reduction in income received from the siting of telecommunications equipment on land adjacent to the Cobtree Golf Course and the disaggregation of the Manor Park repair and maintenance budget to provide new budgets for tree work, vehicle leasing and running costs, consultancy and gate locking.  It had been the intention to deal with gate locking as part of the recent staff restructure, but following a review it had been decided that using a security company would be the most appropriate course of action.  Consideration was being given to introducing alternative mowing arrangements to reduce costs.


Service Level Agreement


The Senior Finance Manager (Client) advised the Committee that Mid-Kent Legal Services had been asked to redraft the Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ensure that it accurately reflects the complex nature of the relationship between the Charity and the various Council departments.  This was to ensure that the roles of the various Officers are clarified sufficiently to ensure that no conflicts of interest arise in their dealings with Charity matters.  It was the aim to report the SLA back to the Committee in March 2020.


During the discussion on the SLA, the Chairman reiterated that a condensed version of the document was required.




1.  That the financial position of the Cobtree Manor Estate as at 30 November 2019 be noted.


2.  That the proposed budgets for 2020/21 be agreed.


3.  That the progress to date with the Service Level Agreement between the Borough Council and the Charity be noted.


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