Agenda item

Budget Monitoring 2022-23 Quarter 2 Revenue Forecast



Councillor Huw David - Leader of Council

Councillor Jane Gebbie - Deputy Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help

Councillor Hywel Williams - Cabinet Member for Resources 

Councillor Jon-Paul Blundell - Cabinet Member for Education

Councillor John Spanswick - Cabinet Member for Communities

Councillor Neelo Farr - Cabinet Member for Regeneration

Councillor Rhys Goode - Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations


Mark Shephard - Chief Executive

Carys Lord - Chief Officer - Finance, Performance and Change

Lindsay Harvey - Corporate Director - Education and Family Support

Claire Marchant - Corporate Director - Social Services and Wellbeing

Janine Nightingale - Corporate Director - Communities

Kelly Watson - Chief Officer Legal and Regulatory Services, HR & Corporate Policy



The Deputy Head of Finance presented the report, the purpose of which was to provide the Committee with an update on the Council’s revenue financial position as at 30 September 2022.


The Chair thanked the Deputy Head of Finance and Members discussed the following:


·         Whether the funds from the projected underspend on the Council Tax Reduction Scheme needed to be returned to Welsh Government or retained in general Council funds and, considering the cost-of-living crisis, whether it was prudent to have a modest raise in the Council Tax to ensure a higher collection rate.

·         The meaning of the term, ‘channel shift pressures’.

·         Where the one-off efficiency savings would be made, whether they had yet been identified and whether there had been any applications received from Directorates to draw down from the Budget Reduction Contingency Reserve.

·         What alternatives were being considered to the most significant budget reduction proposals unlikely to be achieved in full in the financial year.

·         Reasons for the significant variances, particularly projected overspends, in the each of the Directorates including the projected:

-       overspend in Adult Community Learning;

-       overspend in Learning Disabilities Home Care and Day Opportunities;

-       overspend and volatility in Planning and Development; and

-       underspend in Housing and Homelessness and the possible impact of the 6-month Ukrainian Refugee Host Sponsorship coming to an end.

·         Steps being taken to try to address the workforce challenges within Social Services, the cost and reliability of agency staff and difficulties with recruitment across the Authority.

·         The terminology around the use of reserves for capital projects, how often they are reviewed and how the purpose of reserves held could best be communicated to the public. 


The Chairperson advised that there were no further questions for the Invitees, thanked Invitees for their attendance and, advised that if they were not required for the next Item, they may leave the meeting.


RESOLVED:                 Following detailed consideration and discussions with Officers and Cabinet Members, the Committee made the following Recommendations:


1.    The Committee fully supports the Council’s discussions with the UK Government regarding further funding or continuation of the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ Scheme and noted the impact of the 6-month sponsorship period implemented through the Scheme coming to an end and the risk of refugees becoming homeless.  The Committee agreed to monitor this as part of their FWP.


2.    That when the Council look to make a press release regarding the upcoming budget consultation that Officers be mindful of improving communication to residents and improving understanding of the budget and purpose of reserves held.


Budget Research and Evaluation Panel (BREP)


3.    That BREP consider how the budget is set for the Social Services and Wellbeing (SSWB) Directorate to reflect the demographics of the County Borough, the level of demand and the statutory duties of the Directorate.


  1. That early indications of each Directorate’s proposed draft budgets be presented to BREP with potential options for budget reductions at the next related meeting each Director has been invited to attend.


and the Committee requested:


5.    That they receive greater detail on the reasons for the 56.2% variance and significant overspend in the Planning and Development section of the Communities Directorate which the Committee noted was an understaffed department.


6.    A written response from the Corporate Director -Social Services and Wellbeing on the following:


a.            The reliability of agency workers and providers;

b.            The cost difference between an agency worker compared to a full time Social Worker;

c.            On average, how many agency workers work in the SSWB Directorate; and

d.            The average length of stay for agency workers in the SSWB Directorate.


Supporting documents: