Agenda Item No.











The report detailed the progress of revenue expenditure for the period above.  The projected outturn for the 2012/13 revenue budget was shown in comparison with the revenue budget at Appendix 1 to the report.  It was noted that the forecast for the Council was to overspend in the sum of £255,000.  There was an adverse variance on the Leisure Services budget of £255,000 which was partly due to timing issues whereby some staff costs such as those paid on timesheets were paid a month in arrears and as such when the centres transferred an additional month was paid (£55,000).  Income received via direct debits on a monthly basis partly covered a period in advance for a future month and likewise an adjustment had to be made to reduce income at the point of transfer (£95,000).  The remaining overspend of £105,000 had arisen as a result of general uncertainty prior to the start of the contract with Parkwood leading to a reduction in income, an increase in staff costs and additional work undertaken.  Further work would be undertaken to clarify the position and the funding for the adverse variance would be addressed in the revised estimates report to Cabinet in November 2012.


With regard to the relevant service areas, the following was presented to the Scrutiny Committee:


·               Directorate of Learning and Skills


Overall, the Education Budget was projected to balance at the end of March 2013, however, this would be after transferring £118,000 from Education Reserves, it being noted that any savings identified for the year end would be available to reduce the use of reserves or to redirect into the School Investment Strategy or other reserves.


·               Directorate of Social Services


There continued to be pressures on the Children's Placement Budget specifically from children with especially complex needs.  There was also pressure on the budget in respect of accommodation costs for all homeless young people.  Any increase in the number of children becoming 'looked after' by the Council could have a significant impact on the service.


With regard to Adult Services the budget was extremely volatile and could be adversely affected by outside influences, for example the introduction of the First Steps Initiative by the Welsh Government which capped charging for non-residential services to £50 per week. Another factor that could affect the year end position would be the 2012/13 fee set in respect of personal care costs for residents placed by the Council in residential and nursing homes provided by the independent sector. 


·               Director of Visible Services and Housing


Highways Maintenance and Engineering Design and Procurement - There was currently a £26,000 adverse variance to the profiled budget, mainly due to a slight overspend on employee costs.


Waste Management - The current underspend of £89,000, was reported as mainly due to tonnages to landfill dropping as the food waste and co-mingled recycling programmes increased in popularity therefore saving on costly landfill disposal.


Grounds Maintenance - An adverse variance of £63,000 was attributed in the main on new machinery as new legislation had come in to force for Hand Arm Vibration.


Support Services – The favourable variance of £48,000 budget was to be held for any cost pressures within Visible Services that may arise throughout the financial year. As for Building Services, it was currently anticipated that this area would breakeven at the year end.


·               Directorate of Development Services


Earlier in the meeting, Members had been informed that there had been a shortfall in achieving the £1m efficiency savings following the leisure partnership agreement due to delays which equated to £333,000 in four months.  The budget had been amended and had been reflected in Appendix 1 to the report.  However, a further adverse variance on Leisure Services of £255,000 also referred to earlier would require further work as the figures were based on leisure services estimates.  A report would be presented to the Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet in November 2012. 


There was an adverse variance of £92,000 on Lifelong Learning Education and Training Services as a result of receipts from the Government Work Programme not achieving the target to date which was currently under review. 


With regard to the Planning and Transportation Division there was a favourable variance of £137,000 predominantly due to income from planning fees for major schemes.  The timing of the receipts would impact on the budget variance


Members raised concerns in relation to the £255,000 adverse variance in leisure services.  It was confirmed that this would be investigated further and clarified in the revised estimates report I November 2012. 


For Social Services, although aware that the budget was a volatile budget, the Head of Financial Services was asked whether any progress had been made with the WLGA in directly lobbying Welsh Government on fee capping.  It was noted that the Authority was still continuing to press the Welsh Government on the matter and other local authorities throughout Wales were in a similar position, although the cap had had a greater impact in the Vale.  Any information received would be reported to Members as soon as possible.  The impact of fees for private care homes was also a potential substantial risk for the Council and officers were working closely with the care homes which were fully aware of the budget issues.


With regard to the adverse variance of £63,000 for Grounds Maintenance, it was queried whether this money could be taken from the Equipment Reserve that currently existed.  The Head of Service advised that although there was a vehicle replacement reserve this money was allocated for a planned programme but he would look further into the issue and report back to Members.


Having considered the report it was




(1)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to approve a virement from the Policy Budget to the Economic Development and Leisure of £333,000.


(2)       T H A T the position with regard to the Authority's 2012/13 Revenue Budget be noted.


(3)       T H A T the information in relation to the £63,000 Grounds Maintenance adverse variance as detailed above be e-mailed to all Members as soon as possible.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To fund savings not achieved.


(2)       Having regard to the information presented.


(3)       For Members' information.”





Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 16th October, 2012