The Executive Director, Finance and Resources introduced the report which set out the Revenue Monitoring for the first quarter using the new Strategic Purposes, which had been agreed by Council. Unfortunately, these showed a significant overspend, the Team had not allocated the Covid-19 grant as she had wanted Members to see a “clean” position that the Council is facing. This did not include Council Tax or Business Rates, which would not normally be included, but what was included was the losses from car parking. The position was not in fact as bad as it looked but it was important for Members to see the wider picture in respect of Covid-19. There were a number of explanations around some of the underspends and projects which had not been undertaken. She explained the position in respect of the Leisure Centre and the how this had to be shown for accounting purposes. The Government grant of £1.2m was much needed, together with the compensation fund. The position would be much clearer when Quarter 2 was produced as this would reflect the whole position.
The Executive Director, Finance and Resources advised Members that Human Resources had requested a shared allocation of the training budget, which would mean a reduction in it for Bromsgrove. This could be allocated back to the Councils savings target, which was important in the current circumstances. In respect of Capital, a budget of £4.371m and underspend of £200k against Living Independently and this was mainly on Disabled Facilities Grants. This was largely due to being unable to access Occupational Therapists into people’s homes from April through to June 2020.
The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources commented that, as had previously been discussed, the availability of Occupational Therapists and whether there was anything the Council could do to bypass this by employing them itself, as this had been an ongoing problem prior to Covid-19. The Executive Director, Finance and Resources confirmed that she would speak to the Head of Community Services in order to explore this option further.
In respect of car parking, the overspend of £240k was discussed and the proportion of this that would be refunded by Central Government. It was confirmed that this would not cover the period that the shops re-opened, but the Council chose to continue to allow free parking until the payment app was in place.
RESOLVED that the current financial position in relation to revenue and capital budgets for the financial period April 2020 – June 2020 as detailed in the report be noted.
a) that a change in the 2020/21 Capital Programme of the S106 scheme already approved for Barnt Green Millennium Park – Toilet £62k be reallocated to a new scheme at Bittell Road Recreation Ground in relation to infrastructure/fitness route improvements due the requirements of the original project no longer needed. (See 6.1 of the report) be approved;
b) that the training budget held within the Human Resources service, is allocated to a shared service budget meaning that any training provided to our staff is beneficial to both Councils as we upskill our workforce be approved; and
c) that the inclusion of the £1.154m of Government Grant in relation to Covid pressures and losses of income into the 2020/21 revenue budgets (see 3.6 of the report) be approved.