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Agenda Item No. 9(j)

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

COUNCIL MEETING: 6TH MARCH, 2013.

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 25TH FEBRUARY, 2013.

 

C1233         FINAL REVENUE BUDGET PROPOSALS 2013/14 AND FINANCIAL STRATEGY TO 2016/17 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Cabinet received a report which set out proposals for consideration before making its final recommendation to Council in respect of the budget for the financial year 2013/14. It also set out the proposed financial strategy for 2016/17.

 

The Council was required under statute to fix the level of Council Tax for 2013/14 by 11th March, 2013. The final decision on the revenue budget cannot be delegated and must be made at a meeting of Council. This was scheduled to be held on the 6th March 2013.

 

Revenue Settlement

 

Welsh Government (WG) had provided the Council with final figures for next year’s settlement. This Council’s total Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) had been notified as £219.212M, which represented an increase of £13.918M over 2012/13.

 

The Council would receive from WG, Revenue Support Grant (RSG) of £125.547M and Non-Domestic Rates £38.832M. These amounts together constituted the Council’s Aggregate External Finance (AEF). This was an increase of £13.204M on the 2012/13 AEF. £3.348M of the increase related to transfers into the settlement and £7.947M related to the first year of the Council Tax Reduction. An additional grant was to be payable to the Authority for 2013/14 in respect of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in the sum of £788k. This would be treated in a similar manner to RSG i.e. to contribute to the financing of the Budget Requirement.

 

WG had announced that the Outcome Agreement Grant allocated to the Vale was £1.246M. This was an unhypothecated grant (i.e. not earmarked for particular services). The Council was not guaranteed to receive the full amount of the Outcome Agreement Grant. The proportion of the grant eventually received in 2013/14 was determined by a ratings score of the Council’s performance in achieving its 2012/13 Outcome Agreement targets.

 

Transfers into the RSG settlement were as follows:

 

Blue Badge Scheme -                                         £16k

 

The scheme provided a range of parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems who had difficulty using public transport.

 

Appetite for Life Grant -                                      £104k

 

This grant supported dietetic/nutritional posts in collaboration with Cardiff LHB, a planned rolling programme of staff training in nutritional requirements and upskilling, continued old for new equipment replacement with energy efficient combination and induction ranges, dishwashers (replacing sterilisers) and Bain Maries to enhance food display.  This funding would also support trials offering new foods.

 

School Counselling Grant -                                £201k

 

The specific grant funds were accessible for counselling services for secondary school pupils, year 6 pupils in primary school and 16-18 year olds

 

School Breakfast Grant -                                    £621k

 

This grant funded the Breakfast Club Initiative within 31 primary schools, increasing to 36 partaking schools by the end of 2012/13.

 

Local Government Borrowing Initiative -            £304k

 

The objectives of the scheme were to boost the Welsh economy and improve the local highway asset. The WG would provide an annual amount over 22 years to meet revenue pressures in order to free up the Local Authority’s own resources to undertake prudential borrowing for capital highway improvement investment over the 3-year period 2012/2015.

 

Post 16 SEN in Mainstream -                             £38k

 

Transfer of responsibilities for additional learning support for post 16 pupils with special educational needs in Mainstream schools and other related provision previously funded by a specific grant

 

Post 16 SEN Special School Out of County -     £829k

 

Transfer of responsibilities for post 16 Education in the Vale’s three Special Schools and also for specialist placements out of county and at independent schools previously funded by a specific grant.

 

Learning Disabilities Resettlement Grant -         £1.235M

 

This grant was used for supporting clients with learning difficulties in the community

 

New responsibility transferred to the Authority was the Council Tax Reduction Scheme £7.947M.

 

Council tax reduction had been devolved to the Welsh Government. The overall funding would be transferred from the Treasury to the Welsh Government.  The RSG settlement included an allocation of funding to each authority within the block grant. The Council’s share of this funding was £7.947M.

 

However, amendments had later been made by WG to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme to increase the maximum level of support that eligible claimants could receive from 90% to 100%. Additional funding would be provided by WG in recognition of the change in support from 90% to 100%, which for this Authority was £788k.

 

To all intents and purposes such a payment would be treated as additional Revenue Support Grant and, therefore, would form part of the financing of the Budget Requirement.

 

Anticipated Outturn 2012/13

 

The last Revenue Monitoring report taken to Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee on 8 February, 2013 reported an overall underspend on the General Fund budget of £105k.

 

Since that date spending had been reviewed and in addition it was anticipated that savings of £1.42M would be made from capital charges (£700k), provision for single status costs (£300k), support imbalances (£300k) and elections (£120k). There was an anticipated surplus on Council Tax collection of £1M.

 

The balance on the General Reserve was consequently anticipated to be £10.018M as at 31st March 2013.

 

General

 

As part of the final budget proposals for 2012/13, Council on 7 March, 2012 resolved that a Budget Review would be undertaken following the Council elections in May 2012 (minute no. 951).

 

Cabinet approved the Budget Strategy and Timetable for 2013/14 on 9 July, 2012 (minute no. C1755).

 

The initial revenue budget proposals were considered by Cabinet on 19    November, 2012 together with the details of the methodology for the Budget Review and progress at that date (minute no. C1911). The initial proposals were subsequently considered by each Scrutiny Committee during November/December.

 

The comments by each Scrutiny Committee were referred to the Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee, which was the Lead Scrutiny Committee on the Budget. Corporate Resources resolved that the initial revenue budget proposals for 2013/14 and the recommendations thereon from other Scrutiny Committees be noted and forwarded to Cabinet and the Budget Working Party.

 

The specific recommendations of the scrutiny committees were as follows:

  • Social Care and Health – 3rd December – the Committee asked that Corporate Resources be informed of its concern that substantial cuts of the nature proposed in Paragraph 37 of the report before it may negatively impact on the provision of services which indicated that annual savings target within Social Services (in addition to existing targets) would be as follows over the 4 year period:

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

Total

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

3,571

2,010

2,788

2,643

11,012

  • Economy and Environment – 4th December – noted report but asked for a further report to Committee in February 2013 with details of the Directors’ proposals for savings.
  • Housing and Public Protection – 6th December – the Committee noted the budget proposals subject to the following cost pressures being prioritised and referred to Corporate Resources for consideration – welfare reform, housing / Council tax benefit; and general fund housing homelessness.
  • Lifelong Learning – 10th December – agreed report.

The minutes of the Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee were referred to Cabinet on 17 December, 2012 (minute no. C1952)  where they were referred to the Cabinet Budget Working Group (BWG).  As part of its deliberations, the BWG had considered the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committees and had specifically  dealt with the issues raised in relation to Social Services and the various impact of Welfare Reform changes as part of the 2013/14 Final Revenue Budget  proposals.

 

In arriving at the final revenue budget proposals, the views of the Schools Budget Forum had also been very carefully considered. Education was a high priority for the Council and the Individual Schools Budget for 2013/14 included the protection set by WG. More information on the Education and Schools budget was included within the Financial Strategy and Proposed Budget 2013/14 sections of the report, under Learning and Skills.

 

A progress report on the Budget Review was submitted to the meeting of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 8 February, 2013. The Committee resolved to note the position on the review and this recommendation would be reported to the Cabinet meeting of 25 February, 2013 for consideration alongside this report.

 

The results of the Budget Review would inform the Final Revenue Budget Proposals 2013/14 to be considered by Cabinet on 25 February, 2013 and Council on 6th March 2013.

 

Budget Review

 

One of the main aims of the Budget Review process was to put in place a financial strategy for the Council to 2017. For revenue, the purpose of the Review was to ensure:

  • A sustainable budget was achieved within predicted funding levels.
  • The budget was aligned to the Council’s priorities as set out in the Corporate Plan.
  • Best value for money was being obtained, i.e. identifying efficiency savings, opportunities for income generation and better use of external grants

The 2013/14 Review was supported by Cost Centre Analyses (CCAs) that provided the detail for each service area including:

  • Comparisons of the 2010/11 outturn, 2011/12 budget and actual outturn, and 2012/13 current year budget.
  • Separation of the largely controllable (e.g. salaries and wages) and uncontrollable (e.g. recharges from other departments) elements of income and expenditure.
  • Identification of the costs centres within Service Areas 

The Budget Working Group had been responsible for completing the Budget Review. The BWG had revisited the financial information included in the Cost Centre Analyses and reaffirmed the results of the relative risk and corporate priority assessment reported originally as part of the Initial Revenue Budget Proposals 2013/14 in November 2012. In doing so, regard had been made to the core values, priority outcomes and individual objectives as set out in the draft Corporate Plan 2013 to 2017.

 

Consultation on the draft Corporate Plan was carried out at the same time as that for the initial budget proposals. Results of the consultation together with comments by way of response and any proposed changes to the Plan were reported to Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee on the 8th February 2013. The reference from that Committee was included previously on the agenda for this meeting of Cabinet. Although no specific suggestions were made in respect of the budget, the BWG nevertheless had regard to the results of the consultation in terms of commentary pertinent to individual services (e.g. Social Services) when preparing these final revenue budget proposals.

 

The BWG had also considered high-level information on the comparative spending levels of individual services across Wales as part of their deliberations. A summary of this statistical analysis is shown below.

 

Comparative Spending Analysis

 

The Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) represented Welsh Government’s view of the relative level of resource needed to provide a standard level of service in Local Authorities. It was not an absolute indicator of a required spending level for a particular service in a particular area; it was calculated based on statistical data and formulae, any of which can be flawed in assessing need. It was used primarily as a method of distributing AEF. It was for each local council to best determine its own spending priorities in light of local circumstances.

 

It was useful, however, to use a comparison of budgets against SSA when considering the financial strategy for the future. SSA was the best objective measure for relative need to spend across services and councils that was easily available. Nevertheless, it was important that the results were treated with caution due to flaws in the way that the SSAs were calculated and in the way different councils report budget information.

 

The analysis in the table below shows that the Vale had consistently set a Budget Requirement that was below its SSA.  Unless SSA reduces, matching the two would only ever be possible through increases in council tax. For the 2013/14 budget this would require an increase in council tax of 7.7%.

 

The table also shows that whilst on average Welsh Authorities had historically set a Budget Requirement that was above SSA, the gap had been decreasing since 2009/10 and in 2012/13 the average Unitary Authority budget requirement falls below SSA for the first time. A major explanation for this was that the annual increases in SSA exceeded the annual increase in AEF over the period.

 

Trends in SSA and Budget Requirement

2008/09

 

2009/10

 

2010/11

 

2011/12

 

2012/13

 

VOG (Shortfall) against SSA

-£836k

-£172k

-£868k

-£1,251k

-£2,238k

VOG (shortfall) against SSA %

-0.43%

-0.09%

-0.42%

-0.61%

-1.09%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average Wales surplus/(shortfall) against SSA %

0.52%

0.81%

0.50%

0.15%

-0.06%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to better understand how the relationship between SSA and Budget impacts on particular service areas, it was necessary to further analyse this data. The tables below compares the 2012/13 budgets set by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the average set by all authorities in Wales, broken down by Service area, against SSA.

 

Vale of Glamorgan 2012/13

SSA

Budget

Variance

Variance

Comparison of Budget to SSA

£’000

£’000

£’000

%

Education

94,028

93,049

-979

-1.04%

Social Services

49,475

48,686

-789

-1.59%

Other Services (Incl. Transport)

61,788

61,321

-467

-0.76%

Total

205,291

203,056

-2,235

-1.09%

 

All Wales Average 2012/13

SSA

Budget

Variance

Variance

Comparison of Budget to SSA

£’000

£’000

£’000

%

Education

100,134

98,880

-1,254

-1.25%

Social Services

60,546

61,352

806

1.33%

Other Services (Incl. Transport)

73,419

73,734

315

0.43%

Total

234,099

233,966

-133

-0.06%

 

The figures shown in the tables above show that in 2012/13 the Vale overall spends at 1.09% below its total SSA. The Welsh average budgets were also very slightly below SSA at -0.06%. However, whilst the Vale’s Education budget was below SSA (-1.04%) the Welsh average was now below SSA to a greater extent

(-1.25%). In addition, the Vale SSA per pupil (£4,431) places the Vale of Glamorgan 22nd of the Welsh Authorities. The Budget per pupil figure placed the Authority 21st at £4,385 per pupil, the Welsh average was £4,813.

 

The base budget for Social Services was 1.59% below SSA whereas the Welsh average budgeted spend was 1.33% above SSA. The Vale of Glamorgan’s SSA per head of the population was £388 per head and the Vale was ranked 20th for SSA. The budgeted spend per head in this area was £382 per head which shows the Vale ranked 21st. The Welsh average spend in this area was £442 per head. There was quite significant deviation in this area with authorities ranging from spending 21% over SSA to spending 10% below SSA. 

 

Disparities also exist between the comparative SSA and funding levels of Children and Young People’s Services and Adult Services. However, the allocation of resources within the different functions within Social Services was viewed as a matter for the Director of Social Services, in consultation with the relevant Cabinet Members, to propose as part of his overall strategy for the Service.

 

In making the above comparisons, it should be noted that in 2012/13 the Vale allocated a sum of £2.544M from reserves to offset Social Services budget pressures. Whilst this was a temporary arrangement under the Social Services Budget Plan, it nevertheless provided overall funding for the Service at a level which was 3.55% above SSA for the year.

 

Other Services covers a number of service areas including Transport, Waste, Libraries, Planning, Street Lighting and Trading Standards. The Vale budgets to spend 0.76% below SSA whereas on average Welsh Authorities budget to spend 0.43% above SSA. The SSA approximates at £286 per head and the budget was roughly £285 per head. Of specific note was the fact that Vale was 15% below SSA in the area of Roads and Transport, and spends almost at SSA for Other Services.

 

Not included in the above was expenditure which was funded from the Visible Services Reserve to address specific issues associated with priority services such as highways, flooding and drainage. 

 

As previously stated, to bring spending on all services to SSA was only possible through council tax increases or a reduction in SSA. The decision was, therefore, primarily one of service area priority. The aspiration to fund Education at SSA has been one which has been long promoted although to do so would be at the expense of either Social Services or Other Services in moving further away from their respective SSAs.

 

The base Social Services budget in the Vale of Glamorgan was below SSA to a greater extent than the overall budget requirement and also significantly below the Welsh average. There were also significant demographic pressures in this area which together with legislative changes (e.g. First Steps initiative capping non-residential care at £50 per week) may require reconsideration of the financial targets set under the Social Services Budget Plan.

 

The BWG has had regard to all of the above analysis when considering the financial strategy to be adopted, whilst recognising that the detailed information must be treated with caution due to the potential flaws in the way that SSAs were calculated and Councils report expenditure.  Nevertheless, the following factors had been taken into account when considering the financial strategy to be adopted:

  • The continued case for funding Education at SSA;
  • The need to review the existing financial strategy for Social Services;
  • The potential for Other Services to make savings.

These were explored further in the Financial Strategy section of this Report.

 

Reserves

 

Reserves were a way of setting aside funds from budgets in order to provide security against future levels of expenditure and to manage the burden across financial years. Funds no longer required may be transferred to the General Fund surplus and then set aside for other purposes or used to reduce council tax.

 

In undertaking the Budget Review, the BWG further considered the position on use of Reserves. Certain reserves were ring fenced and may only be utilised for an explicit purpose (e.g. HRA, schools balances). Others had been earmarked for specific purposes with the continued need for and level of such reserves reviewed at least twice yearly. Certain funds, such as the Insurance Fund, were maintained to minimise the Council’s exposure to risk whilst minimising the costs of maintaining external insurance premiums.

 

The Section 151 Officer’s view was that the minimum level for the General Reserve was £7M. This was considered sufficient to usually cover unforeseen expenditure whilst, in the short term, maintaining a working balance. Whilst there was no set requirement for the minimum level for the General Reserve, some commentators use 5% of the net budget as a guide. For the Vale this was some £10M. However, in view of the prudent approach the Council takes with regard to Specific Reserves, £7M was considered a reasonable minimum.

 

The BWG has examined the Council’s reserves to ascertain their adequacy and strategy for use. It was their view that with regard to:

  • Level – the amounts held in funds were sufficient to requirements and
  • Purpose –the need to hold the funds were still relevant.

The estimated reserve balances as at 31st March 2013 are summarised below:

 

Reserve Category

Estimated Balance 31st March 2013

£’000

Housing Revenue Account

13,049

General Fund

10,018

Earmarked Reserves

30,584

Schools Balances

  2,438

 

Review of Financial Assumptions

 

At the time of the provisional settlement, the shortfall in the 2013/14 budget was estimated at £8.426M (assuming all cost pressures were met). Future resource requirements were also assessed having regard to the likely future revenue settlements and cost pressure information provided at that time by services to 2016/17. These showed an overall projected shortfall of £17.555M for the 3 years 2014/15 to 2016/17.

 

The BWG had carried out a review of these financial assumptions as a means of determining the level of savings to be achieved in future years. Although this review was based upon the best information available at the time, in view of the difficulty in predicting future levels of inflation and cost pressures, these assumptions still need to be treated with a degree of caution and the eventual position may be better or worse than stated.

 

Previously assumed changes in AEF from 2014/15 had been reaffirmed, i.e. 2014/15 would rise in line with the WG forward indication and 2015/16 and 2016/17 would see no increase.  For each 1% difference in this assumption the impact on a year's shortfall would be £1.6M.  Similarly, council tax had been assumed to increase in line with general price inflation (2%). The table below shows the projected budget requirement based on these assumptions:

 

Revised Financial Projections

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

Previous year’s Budget

218,734

220,818

221,698

Assumed Increase in AEF

1,204

0

0

Increase in council tax

880

880

880

Projected budget for year

220,818

221,698

222,578

% increase

0.95

0.4

0.4

 

With regard to expenditure, a figure of 1% had been factored in for annual pay increases and 2% for price inflation. Those areas where inflationary increases were considerably in excess of the 2% estimate were considered as individual cost pressures (e.g. energy increases).

 

In terms of cost pressures, these had by far the biggest impact on the size of the originally projected shortfall and were in the main attributable to legislative, demographic or grant-related issues. Cost pressures totalled £9.442M in 2013/14 alone with a further £15.089M identified by services for the following 3 years. The BWG had, therefore spent a considerable amount of time reviewing each of these pressures not only in terms of their values, likelihood and timing but also the mitigating action that could be taken to manage them downwards.

 

The results of this exercise were attached at Appendix A with the totals between 2014/15 and 2016/17 revised to just over £10M. Cost pressures attributable to 2013/14 had been separately considered as part of the budget proposals for that year. Those recommended to be funded were included in Appendix B Net Growth 2013/14.

 

In order to provide options for consideration in relation to the original shortfall prediction, each Director was asked to identify savings at least equivalent to their pro rata share of the shortfall based on their controllable expenditure. Schools had been excluded from the target as a result of the existing Welsh Government Minimum Funding Commitment for Schools and were examined separately during the Review. The resulting proposed areas for savings as identified by Directors to date were reported to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 8th February and totalled £29.3M (£22.67M of which were post 2013/14).

 

In the context of the above, a revised projected funding shortfall for the years 2014/15 to 2016/17 was now as follows (it has been assumed that schools meet their own inflation and costs pressures within their overall increase included in cost pressures):

 

Revised Financial Projections

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

Total

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

Assumed Increase in AEF

(1,204)

0

0

(1,204)

Increase in council tax

(880)

(880)

(880)

(2,640)

 

 

 

 

 

Pay and Price Inflation

2,125

2,146

2,168

6,439

 

 

 

 

 

Cost Pressures

4,934

2,784

2,345

10,063

Adjustment

100

341

1,300

1,741

 

 

 

 

 

Revised shortfall

5,075

4,391

4,933

14,399

 

The adjustment related to the reduction in use of the Social Services fund and previous one-off budget increases.

 

In view of the reassessment of the projected shortfall by the BWG, the necessity, value and timing of the savings required had also been reviewed. This was developed further as part of the financial strategy to 2016/17.

 

Financial Strategy 2013/14 to 2016/17

 

In considering a financial strategy to take the Council to 2016/17 and achieve the set objectives for establishing a sustainable budget linked to corporate priorities, the BWG had carefully considered the outcome of the Budget Review exercise. This has had regard to:

  • The views of the scrutiny committees following on from consultation on the initial revenue budget proposals for 2013/14.
  • The results of consultation on the budget proposals and draft Corporate Plan 2013 to 2017.
  • The results of the corporate priority and risk rating of all cost centres that make up the Council’s budget.Results of the statistical analysis of budget against SSA for the Vale and All Wales across Education, Social Services and Other service areas.
  • A review of the level of reserves, their purpose and application.
  • Revisions to current and future expectations for changes in funding and inflation.
  • Revisions to the cost pressures facing all services.
  • Proposals for savings in the light of the above.

The BWG had reaffirmed the original assessment of corporate priority and risk provided as part of the Initial Revenue Budget Proposals. In terms of individual services, those areas which regularly feature highest were those associated with Education and Schools; Social Services; those potentially affected by Welfare Reform changes (e.g. homelessness, housing/council tax benefit); waste and highways. Feedback from consultation with the Scrutiny Committees had also placed emphasis upon the level of proposed Social Services savings and the impact of Welfare Reform changes.

 

However, it was the application of the above to the results of the work undertaken in comparing the relative budgets against SSA which has proved invaluable in defining the strategy to be followed. In terms of funding, the BWG had, therefore, reconfirmed Education as a priority service and had revisited the position for Social Services in the light of this analysis together with specific issues now facing the Service.

 

In addition, the draft Corporate Plan 2013 to 2017 had set considerable store on issues connected with regeneration and sustainability and these had also been factored into future budget proposals particularly the Capital Programme.

 

Taking all of the above issues into account, it was the view of the BWG that a ‘one size fits all’ financial strategy would not be appropriate for the Council if a sustainable budget for the future was to be achieved. This would fail to take into account the very real and different considerations that must be applied to different service areas. As such, it was proposed that separate financial strategies were developed for Education and Schools and Social Services with a core strategy being applied for all Other Services.

 

In considering this, of immediate concern to the BWG was the need to establish a sustainable base from 2013/14 which services can then use to move forward in future years. In order to achieve this, a pragmatic approach had been made on the level of savings that could reasonably be expected to be implemented in 2013/14 and those cost pressures which if not already identified as committed growth would still need to be met in order to maintain essential services. Such a position could not be achieved without increased funding either from council tax, temporary increased support from use of reserves or a mix of both.

 

The proposed base budget for 2013/14 was considered in greater depth later in this report and a summary was attached at Appendix C. The budget required savings in excess of £4.4M with funded committed growth and cost pressures of some £6.9M (excluding transfers into the settlement and the Council Tax Reduction Scheme). Use of the General Fund Reserve has also increased by £1M to £1.5M.

 

The individual strategies are detailed below and incorporate the key considerations listed above as they relate to each service area.

 

Education & Schools – Financial Strategy

 

Welsh Government had previously established a minimum funding commitment for schools equivalent to1% above the block grant settlement that WG received from the Treasury in each year to 2014/15. This equated to a 2.08% increase for 2013/14. A forward indication of an increase of 1.27% had been received for 2014/15 but it was unknown whether this position would be extended post 2014/15.

 

It was proposed that the minimum future increase for Education and Schools should at least match the overall increase in the Council’s budget. For 2014/15 it was also proposed that the minimum WG funding commitment for schools be applied. This was estimated to be increases of 0.95% for central education and 1.27% for schools for 2014/15. For 2015/16 and 2016/17 the increases were estimated to be 0.4% in each year. Inflation and cost pressures would need to be contained within this allocation emphasising the need to manage demand. It should be noted that the percentages quoted could change dependant on the actual level of the settlement and council tax. 

 

The total SSA for Education in 2013/14 at £96.392M accounts for 44% of total SSA. From an aspirational perspective, the funding of Education and Schools should be in line with the SSA (IBA) for the service. However, the Council’s total spending was below SSA and this can only be resolved by high increases in council tax (or a reduction in SSA). In addition, fluctuations in SSA from one year to another, significant cost pressures or reductions in funding may not always allow for this to be achieved. However, the Council would strive to ensure that the budget for Education would be the same proportion of the Council’s total budget as the Education SSA was to the total SSA for the Council.

 

Irrespective of the level of funding provided to Education and Schools, it would still be necessary for the service to implement savings in order to meet certain of the cost pressures associated with the service. Schools cost pressures would need to be accommodated within their minimum funding commitment cash limit.

 

Social Services – Financial Strategy

 

The BWG considered that the principles which had been applied to Education & Schools also stood for Social Services with the minimum future increase at least matching the overall increase in the Council’s budget. Inflation and cost pressures would need to be contained within this allocation emphasising the need to manage demand.

 

The Council would also strive to ensure that the budget for Social Services would be the same proportion of the Council’s total budget as the Social Services SSA was to the total SSA for the Council. The total SSA for Social Services in 2013/14 at £52.569M accounts for 24% of total SSA.

 

The above strategy would require an increase in Social Services base budget of about £700k. However this would not need to be effected until 2016/17 as until that date the use of the Social Services Fund boosts Social Service expenditure to the above target.

 

The currently approved Social Services Budget Plan was put in place to bring expenditure back in line with the budget by 2015/16. However, the strategy now being proposed for Social Services together with the assessment of cost pressures and proposed savings would necessitate a revision of the savings required and the timeframe required for completion.

 

The original savings plan and revised profile was set out below although it was stressed that changes in assumptions on SSA, AEF or cost pressures would necessitate further savings by Social Services if these cannot be effectively managed. In addition, the greater the delay in achieving the savings, the higher the use of funds required to fund budget shortfalls. In particular, the savings targets for 2014/15 onwards were predicated on the prior implementation of collaborative arrangements (e.g. Wyn Campaign and proposals under the Regional Collaboration Fund for Health and Social Care Integration).

 

 

Original

Revised

Financial

Year

Savings Target

Use of Reserves

Savings

Target

Use of Reserves

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

2013/14

2,150

2,241

2,150

2,241

2014/15

2,159

1,424

838

2,074

2015/16

1,424

0

1,700

1,300

2016/17

Not set

0

1,315

0

Total

5,733

3,665

6,003

5,615

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Other Services – Financial Strategy

 

Clearly, the financial strategies proposed for Education and Schools and Social Services was not something that could be extended to all services Council-wide. For the remaining services, cost pressures would be subject to careful consideration as the demand would either need to be managed downward or additional savings made from within the All Other Services category in order to accommodate them.

 

In addition, any shortfall to achieve the minimum funding levels for Education and Schools and Social Services, would need to be met from corresponding savings made from within All Other Services for the duration of this Strategy.

 

For each individual Service within this category, cost pressures which were not funded were required to be managed downwards (or additional savings found by the relevant service to meet them).

 

Cost Pressures were estimated to total just over £10M for the period 2014/15 to 2016/17 but over the period these could increase substantially.

 

In developing the financial strategy, it had been necessary to establish some core principles to be applied to future years’ budgets. These follow and would apply across the board regardless of service area and as such would impact upon the specific strategies for Education and Schools, Social Services and Other Services.  

 

Future changes to assumptions on funding. The assumptions regarding future AEF and council tax increases were reviewed by the BWG as part of the Budget Review process. Future changes to AEF would be largely determined by the next Central Government spending review. Consequent reductions in funding from these sources would need to be managed from within the remaining Council resources or through increased savings.

 

The potential for the use of reserves.  Whilst the importance of reserves should not be underestimated it was important to realise that they were ‘one off’ in nature and should consequently not be utilised to fund recurring expenditure unless as part of a considered, time-limited strategy. Given the Council’s overall funding position this had been a key consideration for the BWG when setting the future financial strategy.

 

The Council would, therefore, continue to take a prudent approach with regard to Specific Reserves and use them to mitigate known risks (financial and service) and contingent items, e.g. Insurance Fund, Single Status. Other Reserves would be used to fund Council priorities, e.g. Visible Services and in particular the Capital Programme, e.g. School Investment Reserve, Project Fund, IT Fund, Building Fund. This was important as the Council had limited capacity to realise sufficient sums from the sale of assets for capital investment. Sums were also set aside to assist in budget management, e.g. Social Services Budget Reserve, Children’s Placement Provision (as advocated under these budget proposals), Early Retirement etc. The Housing Revenue Account Reserve was ring-fenced to Housing and the majority would be used to fund improvements to the Council’s housing stock.

 

The BWG reaffirms the Section 151 Officer’s view that £7M was a reasonable minimum for the level of the General Reserve.  Although the estimated take from the General Fund Reserve in 2013/14 was £1.5M, it would be necessary to reduce dependency on the reserve by £1M over the period of the strategy. This would be done in two phases, a reduction of £0.5M in 2014/15 and £0.5M in 2015/16. Following this strategy the estimated balance on the General Reserve at 31st March 2017 was just over £6.5M and it was proposed that over the period of the strategy opportunities would be sought to increase this to £7M.

 

Future changes to assumptions of inflation. Future price inflation could change significantly from that currently estimated depending on changes in World markets and UK economic policy. Similarly, increases above the annual assumption for pay awards would cost the Council approximately £670k for each further 1% increase. As with changes to funding levels any subsequent increases in inflation would need to be managed from within the remaining Council resources or through increased savings.

 

Expectations regarding future cost pressures.  In order to achieve a sustainable financial position it was essential that services make every effort to manage and reduce the level and cost of future demand, e.g. different ways of meeting need, participating in collaborative arrangements/partnerships. Failure to manage these pressures would necessitate increased savings being identified by the service in question. As mentioned in the Budget Review section of this report, Cost Pressures had been reviewed over the period 2014/15 to 2016/17 and were currently estimated to total £10.06M. However, as time progresses and issues become clearer in the light of legislative, demographic or grant-related changes affecting services, these could well increase.

 

Limitations as to the level of savings to be achieved. Similarly, whilst the expectations for savings in 2013/14 were reduced for practical considerations, limitations as to the levels of savings to be achieved over the remaining 3 years had also been considered. In reviewing these savings, the BWG paid particular attention to their priorities, values, service implications and timescales when developing the financial strategy to 2016/17. More specifically, they had been considered in the light of amendments to cost pressures detailed above.

 

Although significantly less than those indicated as part of the Initial Revenue Budget Proposals for 2013/14, they would nevertheless be extremely challenging for services to achieve.

 

The details of the savings were included in Appendix D and included those savings required for Central Education and Social Services. However, savings for schools were not shown as these would be for each individual school to determine. Due to the uncertainties within the forecast it was possible that the level of savings required could increase substantially over time and the targets should be regarded as a minimum.

A summary of the savings is set out in the following table: 

 

Proposed Directorate Savings Targets

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

Total

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

Learning & Skills

309

465

 343

480

1,597

Social Services

2,150

838

1,700

1,315

6,003

Visible Services & Housing

645

996

430

929

3,000

Development Services

153

687

475

473

1,788

Resources

351

856

560

750

2,517

Corporate & Customer Services

66

183

153

256

658

Council-Wide

734

1,050

730

730

3,244

Use of General Fund Reserve

1,000

0

0

0

1,000

Total

5,408

5,075

4,391

4,933

19,807

                                          

Proposed Budget 2013/14

 

The proposed budget for 2013/14 had been set in line with the above strategy and a summary of the overall position was attached at Appendix C.

 

IAS/Asset Rents – relate to accounting items outside the control of services. They reflect charges to services for the use of capital assets and adjustments in respect of pensions to comply with accounting standards.

Recharges/Transfers – relate to changes in inter service charges and the transfer of functions and responsibilities between services. Included in these figures was a transfer from Policy of £745k representing the impact next year of Job Evaluation. There was no overall effect on the budget of recharges and transfers.

 

Budget Adjustments comprised of :

  • A sum of £672k had been removed from Service’s Budgets for the estimated April 2012 pay award that did not materialise.
  • The removal of “one-off” allocations totalling £180k included in the 2012/13 budget.
  • An adjustment to reflect the fact that £303k of Social Services savings would be used to reduce their use of the Social Services fund in line with the approved strategy.
  • A net favourable sum of £165k was available following the Senior Management restructure.

Inflation amounted to £2.778M of which £1.009M related to 1% allowance for pay awards and £1.769M for general price increases.

 

Net growth amounted to £19.022M. The breakdown of this sum was shown at Appendix B and included £8.735M new burdens funding in the settlement from WG in respect of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

 

The savings for 2013/14 totalled £5.408M and were detailed at Appendix D. This sum included a £1M increase in the use of the General Fund Reserve. Savings over the 4 years to 2016/17 had been identified totalling £19.8M.

 

These were considered to be the minimum level of savings required over this period if a sustainable budget was to be maintained.

 

Services Learning and Skills

 

 

Educ./

Schools

Libraries

Lifelong

Learning

Youth Services

Catering

Total

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

Budget 2012/13

90,941

2,656

195

1,081

1,010

95,883

Recharges/Tfrs

(26)

(63)

9

11

54

(15)

Adjustments

(176)

(13)

(7)

(6)

(1)

(203)

Inflation

879

29

10

16

17

951

Net Growth

2,715

0

0

0

725

3,440

Savings

(253)

0

0

0

(56)

(309)

Changes in Asset Rentals/IAS 19

120

(1)

(9)

52

(1)

161

 

WG had continued to build into the settlement protection for schools, which was equivalent to 1% above the change in the WG’s revenue funding allocation from the UK Government. To fulfil WG’s commitment councils needed to ensure that their net Individual Schools Budget (ISB) was increased by at least 2.08% after adjusting for changes in pupil numbers. The protection had been applied in the budget proposals in this report and more information on the exact calculation for the Vale’s schools was in Appendix E.

 

Inflation for schools’ budgets (ISB) was included and covers the costs of pay awards (£425k) and price inflation (£249k). The details of the Net Growth were shown at Appendix B and included transfers into the settlement and additional funding to meet Additional Learning Needs pressure. 

 

The Chief Learning and Skills Officer needs to build on existing work and prepare a further medium term service and financial strategy specifically for Education. The strategy should identify the options necessary to keep the service within its likely resources and meet savings. These should include the potential for reconfiguring schools.

 

The Chief Learning and Skills Officer should also set out how she would provide support to schools in planning their own budgets over the medium term and achieve their savings.

 

It was suggested that the Schools Budget Forum be consulted before any final decision was made on the split of the funding between Central Education and the Schools. It was recommended that delegated authority be given to the Chief Learning and Skills Officer to determine the split in the light of that consultation, subject to the minimum WG target for the ISB being met and other reservations contained in this report.

 

WG requires each local authority to compare its total budget for education to its Education Indicator Based Assessment (IBA).  It must then report on the reasons why it may have chosen to set a budget for education that differs from its IBA (£96.392M for the Vale). The report would need to be made available for consideration by the Council’s Schools Budget Forum, full Council and by WG. A proposed draft of this report had been prepared jointly by the Chief Learning and Skills Officer  and the Managing Director and was attached at Appendix E. Overall the Education budget exceeded its SSA by £333k.

 

In September 2012 a Joint Education Service was established for the delivery of School Improvement Services collaboratively as part of the Central South Consortium (CSC) which consisted of five authorities (Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Cardiff). A revised budget for the CSC was taken to the Joint Committee on the 14th February 2013. This budget covered the CSC School Improvement Service (CSC SIS) and the CSC Learning and Innovation Network for Schools (CSC LINKS).

 

The School Improvement Service costs were apportioned to each Authority using Education Indicator Based Assessments (IBA) The required contribution to the CSC SIS service for 2013/14 was £653,275 and has been built into the Education and Schools Budget for 2013/14. The CSC LINKs budget was based on assuming projected income of £2,882,326 in 2013/14 from Schools, School Improvement Services in Local Authorities commissioning work and grant funding.  After taking expenditure requirements including a commissioning budget of £674,631, a surplus of £92,979 was projected for 2013/14.

 

Social Services

 

 

Children & Young People

Adult

Services

Bus.

Man & Inov.

Youth Offending Services

Total

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

Budget 2012/13

13,969

33,634

264

677

48,544

Recharges/Tfrs

21

39

202

(19)

243

Adjustments

2

171

(17)

(6)

150

Inflation

212

549

37

12

810

Net Growth

533

3,220

0

53

3,806

Savings

(490)

(1,560)

(100)

0

(2,150)

Changes in Asset Rentals/IAS 19

8

(9)

(7)

0

(8)

Budget 2013/14

14,255

36,044

379

717

51,395

 

The details of the Net Growth were shown at Appendix B. This included demographic growth for Children & Young People’s Services placements of £233K and £300k for other pressures. In addition, in accordance with the proposed financial strategy for Social Services, the existing provision for legal claims had been re- assessed by the BWG and it was proposed that £780k (the equivalent of 3 expensive placements) was transferred into a new provision for Children’s Placements.

 

Growth for Adult Services included transfers into the settlement. Transfers into the settlement include £1.235M in respect of Learning Disability Resettlement Grant and £16k for the Blue Badge Scheme.

 

Further demographic growth of £469k had been provided in respect of Adult Services and a £1.5M uplift had also been included in relation to other pressures facing the Service (e.g. non-residential care costs).

 

The savings required for 2013/14 at £2.15M were in line with the original Social Services Budget Plan. However, the proposed financial strategy for the Service set out a revision to the savings targets, use of the fund and time frame. This was set out in the proposed Financial Strategy for Social Services. On this basis, the savings required to be met by Social Services between 2014/15 and 2016/17 as detailed in Appendix D totalled £3.853M

 

Subject to approval of the above strategy, it was proposed that the Director of Social Services produces a revised Budget Plan which accords with the targets and timeframe required. As previously required, each savings area should be subject to an approved project outline and it would be essential that tight control over expenditure was maintained in order that no further overspending occurs so that no more reserve was required than the £5.615M stated in the proposed strategy.

 

Visible Services and Housing

 

Env. And Visible Services

Parks and Ground Maint.

Building

Services

General Fund Housing

Total

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

Budget 2012/13

17,643

3,207

11

1,022

21,883

Recharges/Tfrs

79

93

(21)

0

151

Adjustments

(64)

(13)

(7)

(5)

(89)

Inflation

238

31

10

21

300

Net Growth

1,020

50

0

125

1,195

Savings

(625)

0

0

(20)

(645)

Changes in Asset Rentals/IAS 19

148

39

0

(1)

186

Budget 2013/14

18,439

3,407

(7)

1,142

22,981

 

 

Net Growth for Visible Services and Housing totals £1.195M and were detailed at Appendix B. These included a transfer into the settlement of £304k to cover the Local Government Borrowing Initiative for improving the local roads network. A further £300k had been added to extend the ‘Big Fill’ for highways and £150k to increase the operational budget for flood, drainage and coastal defence. Continuation of an £8 per tonne increase for landfill tax has resulted in £216k being added to the Waste Management budget.

 

Increase in homeless individuals from tenants falling into arrears on their rent, due to the Welfare Reform was estimated to require an increase in the General Fund Housing base budget of £125k.

 

Savings for 2013/14 totalled £645k of which £340k related to the roll out of town centre car park charges. A further £2.355M of savings would be required from the Service by 2016/17. These were detailed at Appendix D.

 

Development Services

 

For Private Sector Housing, new burdens funding in the WG settlement for the new Council Tax Reduction Scheme totalled £8.735M. Additional costs of the Scheme from a projected increase in claimants and level of taxes was estimated at £702k and a £215k increase in Discretionary Housing Payments has been included to help benefits claimants in need of extra financial assistance to meet their full rent/council tax.

 

Income from planning and highway development fees was again expected to fall, estimated at £150k due to the current economic climate. This had been provided for in 2013/14 but if the income position was not rectified, £75k would need to be found from staff and running costs by 2015/16. Similarly, £70k had been included to cover loss of Planning Improvement Grant with savings of £30k required if the position was not addressed by 2014/15.

 

A sum of £12k had been included to deal with costs incurred due to the problems regarding the abandonment of horses on Council land. It was anticipated this would no longer be required in 2014/15 and the budget would be adjusted accordingly at the time. Loss of income at Vale Enterprise Centre due to under-utilisation was estimated at £40k. It was anticipated that occupation would improve and the £20k would no longer be required by 2015/16. The budget would be adjusted accordingly at that time.

 

A provision of £80k had been made in respect of redundancy costs resulting from the Employment & Training Services Restructure (previously known as Lifelong Learning Education & Training Services). This would be met from the Early Retirement/ Redundancy Reserve. Full details of all Net Growth for Development Services was shown at Appendix B.

 

Savings for the Directorate total £153k in 2013/14 with a cumulative total for the 4 years to 2016/17 of £1.788M. This included additional savings of £540k (i.e. over and above the £1M already achieved) in relation to the Leisure Centres Partnership Contract with Parkwood Leisure. The savings were detailed at Appendix D.

 

Managing Director

 

 

Resources

Corp. and Customer Service

General Policy

Total

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

Budget 2012/13

315

233

22,419

22,967

Recharges/Tfrs

(91)

338

(612)

(365)

Adjustments

(197)

(218)

200

(215)

Inflation

268

33

224

525

Net Growth

350

0

180

530

Savings

(351)

(66)

(734)

(1,151)

Changes in Asset Rentals/IAS 19

(91)

(13)

(239)

(343)

Budget 2013/14

203

307

21,438

21,948

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The full details of the net growth were included in Appendix B and included a total of £180k for funding the Capital Programme. A sum of £350k had also been included in respect of the costs of the Council Tax Discount scheme for the over 70s. This would, however, require the appropriate consultation and equality impact assessment before it could be implemented.  A further report on the details of the scheme would be brought to a future meeting of Cabinet.

 

Also included within the General Policy budget was income from WG for the Outcome Agreement Grant (£1.246M). Payment of the Grant was dependent on the achievement of targets contained within the Outcome Agreement the Council had with WG.

 

Savings from services within the Managing Director’s areas were detailed at Appendix D and totalled £1.151M for 2013/14 with a further £1M increase in the use of the General Fund Reserve bringing the total required for 2013/14 to £1.5M. The savings required over the 4 years to 2016/17 totalled £6.419M

 

The total budget shown at Appendix C was £218.734M. After adjusting for discretionary rate relief of £200k and Council Tax Support Grant of £788k, it was £1.466M below the Council’s SSA of £219.212M. The 2012/13 budget was £2.388M below the SSA.

 

The most significant reason for the reduction in the difference between budget and SSA was the increase in council tax income. The Council Tax increase required for the Council’s budget to match its SSA was 7.7%.

 

If the Council decided to budget at £218.734M, deducting from this Revenue Support Grant of £125.547M, redistributed non-domestic rates of £38.832M and Council Tax Reduction Scheme Grant of £788k produces a requirement of £53.567M to be met from Council Tax. Dividing this by the Council Tax Base of 54,375, gives a level of Council Tax for this Council’s purposes (excluding police and community council precepts) for Band D properties of £985.14. This was an increase over the current year of £45.09 or 4.8%.

 

The average of the Council Tax set by councils in Wales for 2012/13 at Band D was £972.24, whilst the Vale’s was £940.05. The BWG view was that the proposed increase in Council Tax at 4.8% was a reasonable compromise between the pressure on services, the impact on vulnerable people of further cuts and the financial pressures facing council taxpayers.

 

The proposed budget used £1.5M of General Reserve. The estimated balance on the General Reserve at 31st March 2014 was £8.518M. This was above the recommended minimum level of £7M but the proposal was to use a further £2M to support the budget during the term of the financial strategy.

 

Whilst the Council benefited from a reasonable level of reserves, they were not inexhaustible and had taken years of careful financial management to develop to their current level.

 

Attached at Appendix F was a schedule showing the reserves and the anticipated balances at the 31st March 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.The Appendix set out the title of the reserve together with its purpose. A summary of the position for the General Fund is set out below:

 

 

Summary of Estimated Reserves Projected to 2016/17

Est.  Bal.

31/3/2013

Net

Mov’t

Est. Bal.

31/3/2017

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

General Reserve

10,018

(3,500)

6,518

Specific Reserves

30,443

(15,882)

14,561

Total General Fund (excluding Schools)

40,461

(19,382)

21,079

Schools Balances

2,438

 

2,438

Total General Fund Reserves

42,899

(19,382)

23,517

 

The amount of savings required to balance the budget was challenging and a further risk was that price inflation had generally been provided at a rate of 2%. The Consumer Price Index for the year to January 2013 showed the annual increase to be 2.7%.

 

The budget proposals assumed that any reduction in specific grant would be matched by a reduction in expenditure. Details on all specific grants had not yet been finalised and there was a risk that should grants be cut and it not be possible to reduce expenditure correspondingly, the Council could overspend. This risk should be mitigated by the fact that Services should have in place “exit” plans for any specific grant ceasing and were usually aware of likely developments in the level of grant. Regular revenue monitoring should provide a warning should there be problems. In the first place each Service would be expected to fund any shortfall from its revenue budget. Ultimately, there was sufficient in reserves to cover for this contingency in the short term.

 

The 2013/14 final revenue budget proposals included the achievement of over £1M in savings from areas which could impact upon staffing levels and result in job losses.  The majority of these areas were still subject to review but could equate to as many as 34 full time equivalent posts with redundancies of up to double this figure including part time working. Every effort woulod be made to mitigate this as a proportion of the reduction may be found from vacant posts and others from natural wastage.

 

The above figures do not include the staffing implications relating to budget pressures within schools as the details need to be considered by individual Governing Bodies and supported by the Chief Learning and Skills Officer. Individual schools would also be impacted by whether they had growing or falling pupil numbers. There may be staff reductions and redundancies depending on each school’s circumstances. The Chief Learning and Skills Officer would need to establish the impact of the budget on employees in schools.

 

The Council had an Avoiding Redundancy Procedure that would be followed and included a requirement for the Council to search for suitable alternative employment. The numbers of employees referred to were those impacted in the budget. There could be further staff implications from other restructuring exercises during the year.

 

The trades unions would continue to be consulted on the details of any potential redundancies once known, as was the Government Department for Business Innovation and Skills in accordance with the Council’s own local procedures and statutory requirements.

 

In light of the staffing implications it was essential to ensure that consultation with the trade unions was carried out in accordance with the Council’s Avoiding Redundancy Policy and related legal requirements. A “change forum” of management and trades unions exists to help co-ordinate the consultation process and deal with cross-directorate issues. A similar approach, involving the Chief Learning and Skills Officer, needed to be considered in relation to schools to progress consultation in individual schools.

 

The numbers of potential redundancies over the next few years had required strengthening of the Council’s redeployment processes and tightening of the Council’s vacancy control processes. Where appropriate it may involve a targeted search for voluntary redundancies/reduced hours.

 

Statement of Section 151 Officer on Robustness of Estimates

 

The Local Government Act 2003 required that the Section 151 Officer must report on the robustness of the estimates, which were to be approved by Council. This section constitutes that assurance.

 

In view of the uncertainties of the current and future economic climate there was increased risk facing the Council’s financial position and as a consequence services. This had been recognised and referenced within this report, where relevant, together with actions that can be taken to manage that risk.

 

Savings were regarded as achievable and had been carefully examined with risk and measures to mitigate identified. It was important to stress the importance of the mitigating actions being implemented and the need to consider equality impact assessments.

 

Estimates in the budget report were robust subject to any reservations/ qualification or other commentary contained in the budget reports. All services’ expenditures were under pressure and there was always a risk that a service may overspend, particularly in light of unforeseen circumstances.

 

Reserves had been reviewed and were adequate to cover contingencies and the risks stated in the report.

 

At the meeting the Leader gave thanks to the Managing Director and her team for the amount of work undertaken to bring this report to Cabinet.

 

The Cabinet member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation commented that even with the challenges of central government led cutbacks it was encouraging to see a budget that included support for regeneration and in the building blocks of regeneration such as education.

 

The Cabinet member for Childrens Service’s commented that it was welcomed that the budget would ensure funding for the forthcoming year for education and that this would be above the standard spending assessment (SSA) level.

 

Furthermore, the Cabinet member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development commented that it was a very difficult situation with the current welfare reforms and this would have played a big part in setting the budget.

 

This was a matter for Executive and Council decision.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That Cabinet recommend to Council -

 

(1)       T H A T the Financial Strategy to 2016/17 be approved, incorporating individual funding proposals for Education and Schools and Social Services, as set out in the Financial Strategy section of the report.

 

(2)       T H A T the budget for 2013/14 be fixed at £218.734 million including a provision of £200,000 for discretionary rate relief to small businesses and other organisations.

 

(3)       T H A T the revenue budgets for 2013/14 as set out in Appendix C of the report be approved, the totals as follows:

 

                   £’000

Education and Schools

94,200

Libraries

2,608

Lifelong Learning

198

Youth Services

1,154

Catering

1,748

Children & Young People

14,255

Adult Services

36,044

Business Management & Innovation

379

Youth Offending Services

717

Environment and Visible Services

18,439

Parks and Grounds Maintenance

3,407

Building Services

(7)

General Fund Housing

1,142

Public Protection

2,447

Private Housing

11,213

Planning and Transportation

5,322

Leisure

4,190

Economic Development

830

Resources

203

Corporate and Customer Services

307

General Policy

21,438

General Fund Reserve

-1,500

 

(4)       T H A T the recommendations regarding Net Growth set out in Appendix B of the report be approved.

 

(5)       T H A T the savings targets set out in Appendix D of the report on the basis that the targets for 2014/15 onwards will represent the minimum targets expected to be met by services be approved.        

   

(6)       T H A T the Council Tax for 2013/14 for its own purposes (excluding police and town and community council precepts) be set at the following levels:

Band

Council Tax

          £

A

656.76

B

766.22

C

875.68

D

985.14

E

1,204.06

F

1,422.98

G

1,641.90

H

1,970.28

I

2,298.66

 

 (7)      T H A T the proposed draft report on Education Budget and IBA at Appendix E of the report be endorsed and the Chief Learning and Skills Officer make arrangements for it to be forwarded to the Schools Budget Forum and Welsh Government.

 

(8)       T H A T the Chief Learning and Skills Officer be given delegated powers to determine the amount of money to be allocated to the schools’ delegated budgets after consultation with the Schools Budget Forum, subject to the Individual Schools Budget being no less than the Welsh Government’s target.

 

(9)       …………….

 

(10)     …………….

 

(11)     …………….

 

(12)     …………….

 

(13)     …………….

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To ensure that a viable and affordable financial strategy exists for the revenue budget.

 

(2)       To set the 2013/14 revenue budget in line with statutory requirements.

 

(3)       To allocate budgets to services in accordance with the financial strategy.

 

(4)       To reduce risks to services resulting from unavoidable cost pressures.

 

(5)       To set savings targets for services.

 

(6)       To set Council Tax levels for 2013/14.

 

(7)       To ensure that the report is presented to the Schools Budget Forum and Welsh Government.

 

(8)       To set out delegated authority in relation to allocation of the Education and Schools budget.

 

(9)       …………….

 

(10)     …………….

 

(11)     …………….

 

(12)     …………….

 

(13)     …………….