To note issues associated with the policy and resources strategy and agree recommendations.
The report had not been circulated five clear days in advance of the meeting. The chair agreed to accept the report as urgent as the council were committed to publishing budget proposals at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure they were available to the public for comments and questions. Presenting this report to cabinet on 21 January gives the opportunity for debate prior to presentation of budget figures to cabinet on 4 February 2020. Under the council’s constitution, there is a requirement for the overview and scrutiny committee to review and challenge budget proposals and this is due to take place on 27 and 29 January 2020.
1. That it be noted that the provisional local government finance settlement published on 20 December 2019 was unchanged from that forecast in the report to cabinet on 17 December 2019 (paragraphs 25-28 of the report).
2. That it be noted, as reported to cabinet on 17 December 2019 and recognising the continued uncertainty for local government funding, the intention remains for the council to prepare a balanced one-year 2020-21 budget for approval by cabinet in advance of council assembly on 26 February 2020 (paragraph 24 of the report).
3. That the current budget options proposed to help achieve a balanced budget 2020-21 (Appendices B to E of the report) be noted.
4. That the proposed increase in the adult social care precept of 2% in line with the government flexibility be noted.
5. That the proposed increase to the Southwark element of the council tax in line with the government threshold by 1.99% in recognition of the spending pressures in services, particularly those that protect and support vulnerable people (paragraph 56 – 57 of the report), be noted.
6. That the budget proposals for 2020-21 contained within the report be noted that include:
· Estimated general grant resources of £152.317m, an increase of £2.442m from 2019-20
· Additional grant income of £11.095m, including increased social care grant of £7.332m
· Estimated retained business rates growth of £24.739m (paragraph 59 of the report), a decrease of £1.261m over 2019-20 (paragraph 63 of the report)
· Estimated council tax revenue of £117.849m, including growth in the tax base of £2.795m and additional income of £4.522m generated from increasing council tax by 3.99% (including 2% adult social care precept)
· A net brought forward deficit on the collection fund, after application of the 2019-20 Pooling Benefit, chargeable to the 2020-21 budget of £0.612m
· Pay award and contractual inflation of £3.919m (excluding children’s and adult services)
· Retention of the contingency budget in the sum of £4m to mitigate underlying budget risks (paragraph 78 of the report).
7. That the current budget options proposed to help achieve a balanced 2020-21 budget (Appendices B to D of the report) be noted including:
· Efficiency savings of £5.964m
· Income generation of £2.376m
· Savings impacting on services of £0.420m.
8. That it be noted that in order to ensure that the base budget is on a secure financial footing a number of commitments are proposed for 2020-21 totalling £19.805m, including £7.332m for children’s and adult’s services (paragraph 85 of the report).
9. That it be noted that the current budget proposed for 2020-21 is balanced after the incorporation of updated proposals and a 3.99% council tax increase.
10. That the dedicated schools allocation of £332.7m and the continued deficit on high needs provision (paragraphs 46-49 of the report) be noted.
11. That the performance of the London Business Rates Pool arrangement in 2019-20 (paragraphs 69-72 of the report) be noted.
12. That the allocation of an additional £0.250m for the Positive Futures Fund funded from the London Devolution Reserve (paragraph 69 of the report) be approved and the unallocated London devolution Pool resources of £1.286m from 2018-19 be noted.
13. That the ongoing negotiations regarding the continuation of the London Business Rates Pool arrangement into 2020-21 (paragraph 71 of the report) be noted and that authority be delegated to the strategic director of finance and governance, in consultation with the head of legal services, to make any amendments as may required by the Secretary of State, and to enter into the final Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the council.
14. That the departmental narratives (Appendix A of the report) and the equality analyses provided for the budget proposals be noted.
15. That it be noted that this report will be considered by overview and scrutiny committee on 27 and 29 January 2020 and that any recommendations arising will be incorporated into the final report to cabinet on 4 February 2020 for recommendation to council assembly on 26 February 2020 (paragraph 95 of the report).