The Executive Director Core Services and Service Director Finance will submit a joint report that was submitted to Cabinet on the 4th September, 2019 outlining the financial performance of the Authority during the first quarter ending 30th June, 2019 and assessing the implications against the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy.
The Executive Director Core Services and Service Director Finance submitted, for information, a joint report that was submitted to Cabinet on the 4th September, 2019 outlining the financial performance of the Authority during the first quarter ended 30th June, 2019 and assessing the implications against the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy.
It was noted that the position for Council was a projected operational underspend of £2.579m for 2019/20. The overall position on Corporate Budgets showed an operational underspend of £1.000m. Although the first quarter was reporting a positive position, the Council still had some significant savings to deliver over the next three years within a financial climate that remained both uncertain and challenging.
The Cabinet, in noting the forecast underspend for 2019/20, had approved the recommended write off totalling £0.575m of historic debt which amounted to £0.510m from the General Fund and £0.0655m from the Housing Revenue Account as detailed within paragraph 7.3 of the report. The Cabinet had also approved various Virements as detailed within Appendix 1.
In the ensuing discussion the following matters were raised:
· It was noted that the outturn position as at the end of June 2019 for the People Directorate was £4,000 which was pleasing to note given the issues of the past. It was further noted that the Directorate had a projected balance budget for the end of the year
· There was a discussion of the Authority’s policy with regard to bad debt/arrears provision, of the difficulties of pursuing historical debt as well as the rationale for writing off such debt. It was noted that whilst current bad debt provision had increased from the start of the year, it was anticipated to reduce throughout the rest of the year as more income was collected. In response to further questioning, it was reported that provision for bad debt detailed within paragraph 7.2 had been included within the budget. It was stressed that debts were pursued where ever possible, however, resources had to be targeted to where there was a realistic opportunity for recovery
· Reference was made to the involvement with 29 other local authorities in the HMRC12 month pilot trialling the use of data sharing powers under the Digital Economy Act 2017 which would allow attachment of earnings to be made for monies owed. The pilot was still in its infancy but initial feedback indicated that it would be successful and further information would be provided once this became available
· There was a discussion of the Delegated DSG budget particularly in relation to Penistone Grammar. It was noted that the school had a reported deficit projected for the current year. The Service Director Finance stated that he would provide an update of the current position with regard to the implementation of the plan agreed with the school to address or reduce that deficit
· Arising out of the above, reference was made to the recent announcement by the government of additional funding for schools which it was noted would have a massive positive impact for all schools in the borough
· The concerns now raised with regard to alleged problems encountered by some individuals with the Allpay system would be investigated
· Reference was made to the reasons for the underspend of £2.133m within the Public Health Directorate and it was noted that this was earmarked to support the delivery of the current 4 year Public Health Plan which would then result in a balanced year-end position
· It was noted that the cost of opioids was having a cost pressure on the Healthier Communities Business Unit and that work was continuing to identify alternative solutions
RESOLVED that the report be received.