The Service Lead Finance (Deputy Section 151) provided an update on the financial position of the Council’s Revenue Account at the end of Quarter 2 (April to September 2019) of the 2019-20 financial year.
It was reported that the Council was currently operating in a period of financial difficulty, primarily due to the financial position of Slough Children’s Services Trust (SCST).
The 2019-20 approved net budget for the Council was £106.625 million. At Quarter 2, the forecast year end position for all Council run services was £106.818 million; an overspend of £0.193 million, which equated to 0.18% of the overall budget. In comparison to Quarter 1, the overspend had reduced by £1.448 million, despite the increasing pressures across the Council.
The financial position of SCST had been included in the revenue monitor to ensure visibility. With the inclusion of SCST’s forecast financial position, the Council’s current exposure to financial risk was an estimated net expenditure forecast for the year of £113.655 million. This represented a potential budget overspend of £7.030 million which was 6.59% above the approved budget. Overall, this was an improved position in comparison to Quarter 1, by £2.611 million.
Officers had been rigorously reviewing expenditure across all areas and prudent recruitment controls had been implemented, in case it was not possible for SCST to reduce its overall spend to nil in the current year. Since Quarter 1, the Council’s overspend (all services, with the exception of those provided by SCST) had been substantially reduced and work was continuing to examine the SCST financial position. At the end of Quarter 2, 97.3% of the forecast overspend was attributable to SCST.
On behalf of the Committee, the Chair thanked the Service Lead Finance (Deputy Section 151) for the report.
Resolved – That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted:
(a) The reported underlying financial position of the Council, including that of the Slough Children’s Services Trust, as at Quarter 2, 2019-20.
(b) The management actions being undertaken by officers, and the progress made to date, to reduce the budget pressures.
(c) The potential impact on the Council’s general reserves and associated implications for the Council based on the latest financial projections.
(d) That the virements and write offs, as requested in Section 9 and 10 of the report had been approved by Cabinet on 18th November 2019.