To note the report of the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Finance, and the Executive Member for Corporate Direction and Governance.
The Executive Member for Corporate Direction and Governance, Councillor Lewanski, presented the report on the Council’s performance for Quarter 1 2020/21. Of the ten Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) reported, six were on target or within the agreed tolerance. Three KPIs were off target (Red rated) and the Council was unable to report on one indicator.
Of those indicators rated Red, KPI 6 (Net housing completions) and KPI 7 (Net affordable housing completions) were off target and outside of tolerance primarily due to the slowdown in the sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contextually, there were over 2,000 housing units under construction within the borough, with over 300 of those being built at an affordable rate.
KPI 10 (Recycling performance), was reported one quarter in arrears, with Quarter 4 2019/20 performance reported as part of Quarter 1. Against a target of 57%, 51.4% had been achieved. This was primarily due to a reduction in garden waste materials collected at the kerbside.
Councillor Schofield, Executive Member for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Council, reported on the Council’s Revenue and Capital Budget position for Quarter 1 2020/21 (March to June 2020).
The projected full year Revenue Budget outturn was £24.22m against a management budget of £25.90m, resulting in a forecast underspend for the year of £1.68m (6.5%). The full year Capital Programme forecast was 24% below the approved Programme for the year, the variance was as a result of £30.10m slippage, and a £0.38m net underspend. In response to a question from a Visiting Member, Councillor Schofield explained that unused capital budgets would be rolled forward in order to complete projects.
Councillor Schofield cautioned that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council was incurring costs and income losses that could not have been foreseen. The Government had announced the provision of funding to offset such losses, however the terms and extent of that support remained unclear.
The overall impact on the Collection Fund was particularly challenging to forecast, as many of the expected impacts had been mitigated in the short term through one-off Government support. It would, however, be some time before the longer-term impacts on council tax and business rates income streams could be confirmed. The observations of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had been circulated and considered by the Executive, and the Leader agreed that the impact on the Collection Fund would continue to be closely monitored.
Councillor Schofield stressed that whilst the Council would work to minimise the impacts of the pandemic, any unfunded costs and income losses would have to be borne by the Council, through use of contingency budgets or Reserves.
In response to questions from Visiting Members, the Leader recognised the impact of the necessary temporary suspension of garden waste collection on overall recycling performance but highlighted that there had been a sustained increase in other forms of recycling. It was encouraging that the recycling provision for flats would continue to be rolled out, when resources allowed, and that there had been over 500 new requests for garden waste bins, which was indicative of behaviour change amongst residents.
Councillor Knight acknowledged that whilst developers had been cautious in their approach to building affordable housing during the pandemic, the Council had two affordable housing schemes under construction.
RESOLVED to note
1) The Key Performance Indicator performance for Q1 2020/21 summarised in the report and at Annex 1.
2) The revenue full year outturn forecast variance at the end of Q1 2020/21 of £1.68m (6.5%) lower than budget.
3) The potential financial implications to the Council in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic, as set out in the report.
4) The full year Capital Programme forecast at the end of Q1 of £30.48m (24%) below the approved Programme for the year.
Reason for decision: For the Council’s performance to be reviewed.
a) To note the report and make no observations or comments
b) To note the report and make observations or comments to the Head of Projects and Performance and/or Head of Finance.