Agenda item

Month 10 Financial Monitoring 2023-24


The Committee considered the Financial Monitoring Report for Period 10 which summarised the projected outturn position for the Council’s General Fund (GF) revenue account and Housing Revenue Account (HRA), based on the latest actual and accrued data.

The revised budget had been adjusted to reflect the changes agreed to bring the budget back into a balanced position.  Officers were projecting an overspend within services on the GF revenue account of £0.237 million, which included specific reserves transfers.  Corporate adjustments, provisions and external interest receivable, was forecast to overachieve by £0.488 million to give an overall favourable variance of £0.251 million.  Any surpluses or deficits would impact reserves at year end.

Officers were projecting an overspend on the HRA of £0.328 million, details of which were highlighted in the report.  GF reserves were forecast to be £39.210 million at year end, of which £31.445 million were earmarked and £7.765 million were available and classed as usable, although this excluded the GF working balance.

Progress against the capital programme was underway.  The Council expected to spend £73.68 million on its capital schemes by the end of the financial year against a budgeted expenditure of £228.64 million. This forecast supported the report of the Interim Joint Strategic Director of Finance reducing the Capital Programme by £96.6 million.

Debt due to the Council was £4.576 million of which £1.333 million was supported by payment plans. 

There were £6.613 million savings within the 2024-25 budget which would be monitored and reported on monthly.

The Lead Councillor for Finance and Property, Councillor Richard Lucas thanked the finance team for the regular and timely financial monitoring reports to this Committee, which helped officers to better manage their operations. 

During the debate, the following points were raised:

·      Query as to how the figure of £370,000 in respect of capital schemes funded from s106 developer contributions was arrived at, and what plans were in place to spend this money. It was noted that the Committee was due to consider the Section 106 Monitoring Report at its meeting on 6 June.  It was agreed that the previous S106 Monitoring Report considered on 29 November 2023 should be circulated to the Committee.

·      Query over the “green” project status of the Ash Road Bridge scheme, when the report also states that the risk register has a “red” rating against both the current risks and the milestones.

·      Query over the Ash Road Bridge scheme figures quoted in the General Fund Capital Programme Estimated Expenditure (Appendix 4), where estimated expenditure approved by Council in February was quoted as £22.492 million, with a revised estimate of £30.374 million, but the project officers' estimate was shown at £19.349 million.  In response, the Deputy S151 officer indicated that the detail of these figures would be looked at and a response circulated to the Committee.

·      In response to a query as to how the aged debt figures quoted in respect of HRA (Appendix 2) compared with previous years, the Interim Joint Strategic Director for Finance indicated that details of historic HRA debt figures would be circulated to the Committee. 

·      In response to a query as to where in the figures stated in the HRA capital expenditure table (Appendix 4) was the overspend against the housing maintenance contract under investigation, the Interim Joint Strategic Director for Finance informed the Committee that the expenditure on housing maintenance was against the £27.366 million budget for major repairs and improvements.  However, that budget had been used for a number of other contracts, not just with the contract in question. The actual spending against that budget, both in the last financial year and the current financial year, had actually been below the overall budget, but the actual spend against the contract in question had been in excess of the budget.

·      In response to a question as to why the list of capital asset disposals of approximately £50 million could not be made available to councillors on a confidential basis, the Interim Joint Strategic Director for Finance informed the Committee that the Monitoring Officer had previously advised councillors about this.  It was noted that a draft list had been produced prior to any valuations being actually undertaken, which had been discussed at the Financial Recovery Executive Working Group, but it was not something that would be publicly available, or available to all councillors at this stage.  It was agreed that the Monitoring Officer be requested to re-circulate her advice to councillors.

·      Concern regarding the outstanding risk in the year-end forecast and particularly in the GF and our confidence in the process that determined the figures.  Whilst the improvements in reporting and forecasting were welcomed, and that the GF forecast remained favourable, concern was expressed around the considerable volatility in the figures provided at directorate level and below, compared with the period 8 monitoring report, and what might happen between periods 10 and 12.  In response, the Deputy S151 Officer stated that between Periods 8 and 10, there had been some changes within the budget, so the actual outturn figures may have moved more than the variances.  Officers were confident, however, in the accuracy of the forecasting.  It was further suggested that going forward, the commentary in the report could be amended to indicate what was happening in terms of changes in forecast outturns at directorate level.   

·      In response to a request for clarification of the nature of the £2.913m spent on housing services the Deputy S151 Officer explained that the figure related to non-HRA expenditure (e.g. management of homelessness prevention and other non-HRA properties), but would circulate a more detailed breakdown of the figure. 


Having considered the report, the Committee


(1)     That the Council’s latest financial monitoring for the financial year 2023-24 be noted and the above comments and observations be passed on to the Executive.

(2)     That underspends be earmarked for any additional interim support needed at the current time.


To ensure that Councillors and executives fulfil their responsibilities for the overall financial management of the Council’s resources.


Officer to action:

(a)  To circulate the previous S106 Monitoring Report considered on 29 November 2023 to the Committee.

(b)  To review the detail of the Ash Road Bridge scheme figures quoted in the General Fund Capital Programme Estimated Expenditure and circulate a response to the Committee.


(c)   To circulate details of historic HRA debt figures to the Committee. 


(d)  To re-circulate the Monitoring Officer’s to councillors in respect of the disclosure to councillors of the list of capital assets being considered for possible disposal.


(e)  To circulate a more detailed breakdown of the £2.913m forecast spend on housing services for 2023-24 to the Committee.


Democratic Services & Elections Manager


Deputy S151 Officer





Interim Joint Strategic Director for Finance


Monitoring Officer





Deputy S151 Officer


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