Agenda item

Service & Financial Planning 2022/23

Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Finance and Governance.


The Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Finance and Governance introduced a report setting out the service and financial planning proposals for 2022/23.


Councillor Schofield explained that preparation for the proposals had presented challenges and difficult decisions in relation to cost savings and some discretionary support offerings because of the pandemic. Councillor Schofield expressed his appreciation for the hard work undertaken by officers and members during the development of the proposals.


The revenue budget for 2022/23 was based on a full and robust assessment of what the Council does and how it does it. The Council was mindful of potential impacts and would consult widely on the proposals in the report before making a final decision in January.


There had been significant drops in income as a legacy of the pandemic. Shortfalls would have to be filled from Reserves, savings, or new sources of income. It was forecast that over £700,000 would be drawn from Reserves to balance the budget. In addition, there was a requirement to invest in IT resilience and, if no further equivalent savings were found, the forecast budget gap would total £0.987 million in 2022/23.


Councillor Schofield explained that an amendment to the report and an additional recommendation had been published as an addendum as a result of identifying the required IT investment.


The final budget position would depend on the outcome of the Spending Review and the Provisional Local Government Settlement and would be confirmed in the next two months. Despite the continued impacts of the pandemic, the Revenue budget remained sound due to substantial Reserves, the Council’s Financial Sustainability Plan and the Commercial Strategy.


In terms of the Medium-Term Financial Plan, Councillor Schofield explained that the report included updated five-year forecasts to reflect work that had been undertaken to map the potential impact of increased costs and reductions in government funding. The Plan provided a solid framework for future financial planning.


The Revenue Reserves remained sufficient to support the budget and mitigate post-pandemic risks. Approval was sought for the Reserves Policy.


Councillor Schofield explained that the proposal was to increase the Council’s element of the average Band D charge by 9.5p a week, subject to confirmation of the Government’s referendum limit in December and approval at Council in February.


Councillor Schofield explained that the report did not propose changes to the approved Capital Programme. Significant increases had been made in 2020/21 and therefore 2022/23 would continue the subsequent period of consolidation where focus would remain of the delivery of schemes that were in progress.


It was recommended that the Local Council Tax Support Scheme be reviewed in 2022/23. This would ensure that the Scheme remained up to date and would continue to support households who need assistance in paying council tax bills.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor Brunt, expressed his thanks to members and officers for the hard work undertaken to reduce the budget gap.


The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Harrison, reported that the proposals were going to the Budget Scrutiny Review Panel. In response to a question from Councillor Harrison, Councillor Schofield confirmed that the IT strategy and commercial strategy would be consolidated into the budget prior to the final proposals being put before Council in February.




1.       That the national and local policy context (Annex 1) and significant financial uncertainties at this stage in the budget-setting process be noted.


2.       That the service proposals set out in the report which seek to respond to this context and deliver our corporate priorities, be endorsed.


3.       That the draft service business plans for 2022/23 to 2024/25 be approved, and that Heads of Service be authorised to finalise the plans for their service areas, in consultation with the relevant Portfolio Holders.


4.       That the following be approved for consultation under the Council’s budget and policy framework:

a)    Medium Term Financial Plan Summary (Annex 2);

b)    Revenue Budget Savings and Additional Income proposals totalling £0.566 million (Annex 3);

c)    Revenue Budget Growth proposals totalling £0.567 million (Annex 3) ;

d)    Forecast ongoing income budget pressures in 2022/23 as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic totalling £1.300 million (Annex 2);

e)    Revenue Reserve Balances at 1 April 2021 of £41.738 million (Annex 6.1);

f)      A forecast Revenue budget gap for 2022/23 of £0.718 million after taking account of the Service and Central budget growth and savings proposals in this report, plus the additional requirement to invest £0.269 million in IT Resilience, resulting in a total forecast gap at this point in the budget-setting process of 0.987 million for 2022/23.


5.       That the Fees & Charges Policy (Annex 5) be approved.


6.       That the Reserves Policy (Annex 6.2) be approved.


7.       That the Medium Term Financial Plan forecast for 2023/24 onwards (Annex 2) and proposed actions to address the forecast revenue budget gap be noted.


8.       That the Local Council Tax Support Scheme be reviewed during 2022/23 and the outcome reported as part of Service & Financial Planning for 2023/24.


Supporting documents: