The Committee heard from the Business Support Team Leader with the quarter three outturn report for 2021/22, based on the forecast outturn for revenue and capital budgets as at 31 December 2021. Members heard a summary of the report as follows.
In relation to business as usual, Revenue Budgets, it was explained that the current forecast was a net deficit from reserves for the year of £14,000. Whilst it was forecast to virtually break even at this point, there were significant pressures and savings within that forecast. Across all employee budgets an underspend of £136,000 was forecast. This included a potential 1.75% pay award for 21/22 which was yet to be agreed, and a 2% vacancy factor of £183,000. It was explained that £49,000 of the underspend related to savings from service restructures approved during the year and the remaining underspend was due to a number of vacancies across services.
There Committee heard there were three significant variances which were new when compared to the quarter two monitoring report presented to the Committee in November. Voluntary Revenue Provision being repayment of debt for commercial investment properties: for 2021/22 the total provision was £374,000. It was proposed to use £194,000 of the Commercial Contingency budget to offset this cost. The balance of £180,000 was proposed to be met from in year surplus, if there were sufficient balances at year-end. Alternatively, the balance might be funded from the Valuation Volatility Reserve if required. The forecast outturn reported at Q3 included the provision as a use of in year surplus. Without this transaction, the forecast outturn would be a net contribution to reserves of £166,000.
There had been a reduced spend on legal services, with a forecast underspend of £49,000 for the year, which was partly due to project delays at the beginning of the financial year, and reduced claims against the council within development management.
Fuel costs, and the use of fuel cards during the transition between operational services depot sites had resulted in a forecast £22,000 pressure for the year. There were £308,000 of revenue budget carry forwards detailed at appendix 4 of the report. £196,000 had already been approved during the year, with the remaining £112,000 pending approval at year-end. The forecast outturn at this stage included those carry forwards as though approved.
In relation to covid implications, the Committee heard that there was a total of £1.529m to support services with the ongoing implications of covid 19. It was forecast that the additional costs and loss of income for the year, offset by savings, would total a net pressure of £1.243m. This would leave a balance of £0.286m against the covid support funds held to support covid recovery.
In relation to capital, the forecast outturn on capital schemes totalled £8.877m against a budget of £9.831m, including pipeline schemes which were subject to formal approval. From this quarter, the capital monitoring table at section 3.1.5 had been amended to include details of any contingency budget which had been approved for a scheme, and how much of the contingency had been, or was forecast to be, utilised. This was to provide more transparency around the use of contingency budgets for Members.
No amendments to the capital programme were proposed at this time to reflect forecast underspends or carry forwards, the schemes would be adjusted at quarter four when the capital financing would be finalised. Members were asked to approve the £10,000 spend against the £50,000 Hemswell Masterplan Public Realm Improvements capital scheme budget, for play park works and equipment. This was to aid the play parks adoption by Hemswell Cliff Parish Council.
The Chairman thanked the Officer and invited comments from the Committee. In response to a question regarding a possible typing error regarding prudential borrowing figures, this was confirmed to be the case. The Section 151 Officer explained that internal borrowing had reduced and the council had used cash in order to reduce borrowing need.
Having been moved and seconded, it was unanimously
a) the forecast out-turn position of a £0.014m net deficit from reserves as at 31st December 2021 (see Section 2) relating to business as usual activity be accepted;
b) the use of Earmarked Reserves during the quarter approved by the Chief Finance Officer using Delegated powers (2.4.1) be accepted
c) the current projected Capital Outturn as detailed in 3.1.1 be accepted;
d) the £0.01m spend on Play Park works and equipment at Hemswell Cliff, against the Hemswell Masterplan Public Realm Improvements capital scheme (3.1.3), be approved;
e) the proposal that no amendments to the capital programme are made at this time be accepted, with the schemes to be adjusted at Quarter 4 2021/2022 when the Capital Financing be finalised;
f) the report, the treasury activity and the prudential indicators be accepted.