Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy - Update

To receive and note the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources seeking adoption of a number of principles for the 2018 / 19 budget setting process. 

 

Members were advised that a review of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) had taken place and savings of £976,000 were required to close the budget gap in the next three years to 2021.  The Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) and Finance Team were currently working on a zero based budget with no growth items.  Service reviews would also be carried out to ensure that they were as cost efficient and streamlined as possible.  It was noted that 2016 / 17 had seen a significant underspend to capital funding and moving forward only requests that could be delivered within the budget year would be funded.

 

A number of principles for the 2018 / 19 budget process were proposed and these were set out in the report.  The Chairman reminded Members that they were not making any policy decision at this time but being asked to consider these principles which would be used to calculate the MTFS.

 

Councillor A S Fluker proposed that recommendation (ii) be amended to add the following to the principles list:

·                 That a balanced budget (or how the Council would achieve a balanced budget) be presented for the years 2018 / 19, 2019 / 20 and 2020 / 21 with options to consider for the Council.

 

A number of comments were raised regarding the Council’s budget and Members were advised how zero based budgets for 2018 / 19 with no additional budget growth, save for extraordinary circumstances, would help Officers to put forward proposals which identify what is needed to achieve a balanced budget.

 

The proposed amendment to the recommendations in the name of Councillor Fluker was duly seconded and agreed.

 

RESOLVED that the following principles be adopted for the 2018 / 19 budget setting process, in particular that this year’s process should focus to balance the corporate budget in the medium term.

·                 No additional budget growth (including one-offs growths) will be added save for exceptional circumstances;

·                 The principle of zero based budgeting will apply for the 2018 / 19 budgets onwards;

·                 The Council is to improve income generated through fees and charges following a review on the existing fees and charges policy;

·                 By September 2018 a number of service reviews will be completed with a view to identify further savings and improve efficiency:

·                 These service reviews will report back to the Transformation Board, appropriate Programme Committee and the Finance and Corporate Services Committee;

·                 Explore the Council’s commercial activities to ensure that the Council’s income can be maximised.  This should include any new fees and charges activities and implementation of the Council’s commercial strategy as it is developed;

·                 Explore further partnership working with other organisations, this includes sharing of our services;

·                 Review the Policy on Reserves and Balances to ensure that it supports the delivery of the corporate priorities;

·                 Capital funding will only be allocated if essential, value for money is demonstrated and the project is fully deliverable.

·                 That a balanced budget (or how the Council would achieve a balanced budget) be presented for the years 2018 / 19, 2019 / 20 and 2020 / 21 with options to consider for the Council.

Supporting documents: