Agenda item

Spending Review and Capital Programme Review Update

The report provides and update on the process to review the Council’s spending and budgets in support of developing the Medium Term Financial Plan for 2016/17 to 2019/20 in light of the significant financial challenge that the Council is likely to face over this period.


The Chair invited Councillor Robin Moss to address the Cabinet.


Councillor Moss highlighted the fact that £38m of savings would be needed across the lifetime of the new administration.  He asked if the Cabinet could outline which services would be priorities of the new administration so it could go through the usual scrutiny process before the final budget is agreed. Councillor Moss had asked Jo Farrar (Chief Executive) if she had any indications on the financial implications for the Council.


The Chair assured Councillor Moss that the budget would be going through the usual scrutiny process before final agreement.


Jo Farrar responded that, according to early indications, there would be an impact on the Council although this appeared to be as expected.  Nevertheless, the officers would be looking carefully at the budget statement to get a clear understanding of all details of the financial implications.


Councillor Furse said that he would also be waiting to see details of the financial implications and what services would be prioritised by the Cabinet.  He also said that the Cabinet had already taken £1.5m from reserves and asked for an assurance that reserves should be protected as far as possible.


Councillor Tim Ball asked if the reports would be properly scrutinised before they are submitted to the Full Council.


Councillor Lisa Brett asked for a rigorous process to be put in place to support the development of the Council budget and medium term financial planning process going forwards, including a review of both the Council’s revenue budgets and the current Approved Capital Programme.


Councillor Joe Rayment asked how the new administration would make sure that these cuts would be made fairly and made a point about not being able to leave work in order to attend meetings.


The Chair assured everyone that the budget would be scrutinised through the usual budget process.


Councillor Michael Evans commented that the Government requires employers to give Councillors time off for meetings and other Council duties.


Councillor Charles Gerrish said that it would be appropriate for the new Cabinet to conduct a full review in the light of the size of savings required to be achieved over the next four years.  The review would be conducted by Councillor Paul May (Cabinet Assistant – Finance and Efficiency) and it would be looking into opportunities for savings, efficiencies, ways of service delivery and additional sources of income (how this Council can attract additional revenue).  Councillor Gerrish added that the review had just started and it would be too early to give any details about it.  The Cabinet does not have pre-conceived plans to what they would want, or not, to continue – in order to be prioritised, services would need to meet aims and objectives of this Cabinet.


Councillor Gerrish moved the recommendations.


Councillor Martin Veal seconded the proposal by saying that it was essential to tackle waste and increase efficiency.  The Council would need a long-term plan to prepare for the challenges in the years ahead.  The Cabinet would prioritise essential frontline services, particularly for those most in need, by maximising efficiency savings.


On a motion from Councillor Charles Gerrish, seconded by Councillor Martin Veal it was:


RESOLVED (unanimously) that:


1)  Work should be undertaken to produce a 4-year Medium Term Financial Plan covering the financial years 2016/17 to 2019/20.


2)  Work that has already commenced to review the Council budgets and spending as part of the Strategic Review to support the development of this Medium Term Financial Plan is noted and should continue to be progressed.

Supporting documents: