Report number: PAS/WS/22/002
(Report number PAS/WS/22/002)
The Committee received this report which explained that this report followed on from the November meeting of the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee and provided an updated position on the process and approach to set the Council’s 2022 to 2023 budget and the principles and challenges facing in achieving this.
This report provided a further update on assumptions and anticipated savings and initiatives proposed or delivered to-date, to be able to deliver a sustainable and balanced budget for 2022 to 2023. This would not only deliver services, but also the strategic vision and priorities of the Council, whilst meeting future challenges. This robust approach would enable the authority to invest in initiatives to meet the Council’s goals around areas such as the environment and managing growth, whilst helping increase the health and economic wellbeing of its communities.
The report set out the scale of the financial challenge for the Council for 2022 to 2023 and in the medium-term and the plans to address those financial challenges in enabling the Council to meet its statutory responsibility to set a balanced budget for the forthcoming year. The report and its proposals would feed into the main budget setting report due to be considered at Council on 22 February 2022.
The report included proposals and key budget assumptions, which were set out in Section 2 of the report. In addition to reviewing the income assumptions, there had also been a review of the fees and charges pricing used in the budget and medium term. The fees and charges that were changing and met the requirements for reporting, were detailed in Appendix A of the report.
The net impact of the key assumption changes were set out in Table 1 of the report. The changes gave rise to a balanced position for 2022 to 2023. There was a £1.16 million budget gap for 2023 to 2024, a £1.71 million budget gap for 2024 to 2025 and a £2.98 million budget gap for 2025 to 2026 (which were cumulative budget gaps).
A draft West Suffolk 10 Year Capital Programme was attached at Appendix B to the report. This programme took into consideration the previously agreed capital strategic projects, such as the Innovation Units, Barley Homes and Western Way Development, alongside the operational requirements and improvements/initiatives linked to service delivery such as our operational vehicle replacements and asset management requirements.
The Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee considered the report and the key budget assumptions in detail and asked questions to which responses were provided. In particular, the Committee discussed the:
· Proposed changes in Fees and Charges for 2022 to 2023, particularly in relation to the replacement costs of wheeled bins and also in relation to the activities and facilities in West Suffolk’s parks and open spaces.
· Financial risk mitigation to the Council, associated with the investment for the Western Way Development.
· Operation of Barley Homes as a commercial entity and the provisional dividend.
The Committee did not raise any issues to be brought to the attention of Cabinet.
Councillor Phil Wittam then moved the recommendation, this was duly seconded by Councillor Robert Nobbs, and with the vote being unanimous, it was:
That the Cabinet be recommended to include the proposals, as detailed in Section 2 and Table 1 at paragraph 3.4 of Report number PAS/WS/22/002, in the 2022 to 2023 budget.
(Councillor Peter Thompson joined the meeting at 5.30pm, during the discussion and prior to the voting on this item)