Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 17th August, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Emily Kennedy  Tel: 03000 419625 Email:


No. Item



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Mr Oakford attended virtually.


Declarations of Interest

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There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the meeting held on 29 June 2023 pdf icon PDF 230 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting on 29 June 2023 were a correct record and that they be signed by the Chair.



Cabinet Member Updates

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1) Mrs Chandler said KCC was involved in 3 separate judicial review claims in relation to the care of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) and their accommodation in hotels by the Secretary of State for the Home Office. An expedited preliminary issues hearing of claims took place on 20 and 21 July 2023 and the outcome of the judgement had continued to be explored in court. There were to be further hearings as other elements of the claim were considered and brought forward by the court. KCC’s principal concerns related to the operation of the National Transfer Scheme (NTS) and these were to be raised substantively with a court hearing which was likely to be in October.


Social workers at the Port and across the county were paid tribute to as they had worked tirelessly to demonstrate to the court how seriously KCC took the issues relating to UASC. Thanks were given to the Corporate Director for Children’s, Young People and Education; Assistant Director (Front Door Services); and the Service Manager (for Reception and Safe Care Service). The work done by KCC was unparalleled in the country and work was being done to support all vulnerable children in the county.


KCC had been required to refuse to receive some UASC into the county’s care as the last resort. It had been necessary since the judgement on 27 July 2023 because of the high numbers of UASC arriving by small boats to the Kent coast. The situation for frontline children’s services and UASC was very challenging and unsustainable without meaningful government intervention and leadership.


At the time of the meeting, 605 UASC were being looked after by KCC under the Children Act 1989. This was 259 more than the National Transfer Scheme’s 0.1% threshold. 277 UASCs had arrived in Kent since 27 July 2023 and of this cohort, KCC had accommodated 208 located in Kent or in placements in other local authorities. A large number of arrivals were anticipated in the coming week. KCC was taking all possible steps to accommodate consistently with the duties under the Children Act 1989 and it was only as a last resort that KCC determined it could not accommodate a child. The primary consideration is whether KCC can keep the individual child safe. Safeguards were built into this process and senior management approval was required for each UASC. The 3 Section 5 reports that had been issued demonstrated the seriousness with which KCC took these matters. The primary focus was always the safe care of the children arriving and those already residing in Kent. KCC respected its statutory duties and shared the court’s concern about compliance. Due to the geographic position of the county, KCC dealt with a significant proportion of arriving UASC and it was considered that the government needed to implement and enforce the NTS. In his judgment, the judge indicated that there were a range of options open to The Secretary of State for the Home Department and The Secretary of State  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Securing Kent's Future - Budget Recovery Strategy & Financial Reporting pdf icon PDF 287 KB

Report to follow.

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Zena Cooke, Corporate Director of Finance and Joel Cook, Democratic Services Manager were in attendance for this item



1) The Leader introduced the report which related to both the outturn and projections for the year, out of quarter 1 of the financial year. The report outlined the pressures, actions already being taken, the need for a short term plan and also longer terms measures to build a sustainable position for KCC.


2) Mr Oakford outlined the report which said the 2023-24 revenue budget was showing a forecast overspend of £43.7.m before management action.The overspend from 2022-2023 was severely impacting KCC’s financial resilience. The General Fund reserve level was now £37.4 million which was well below the agreed £65.8 million (5% of the net revenue budget).


The forecast revenue overspend from 2022-23 was taken into account when determining the 2023-24 budget and future medium term plans, with significant additional spending growth of £182.3m allocated in the 2023-24 budget.


Despite the additional spending growth allocated in the 2023-24 budget, the revenue forecast outturn position for 2023-24 was an overspend of £43.7m (excluding schools) before management action. Initial management action was expected to reduce this forecast overspend to £26.7 million. Significantly more action was needed to reduce this further. Work was being prioritised throughout the council to develop further management action that can be taken immediately in the current year, and over the medium term and this was to be reported back to the Cabinet meeting of 5 October.


Within the overall outturn position there were significant forecast overspends (before management action) in Children’s, Young People and Education totalling £28.4 million, and in Adult Social Care & Health totalling £25.8 million. Detailed analysis of the main areas of overspend was being undertaken to help understand the underlying causes, the degree of common features and pressures being experienced by other councils and how these were to be mitigated. The council would need to limit its actions to focus on essential activities and priorities until the financial position was brought under control. The results of the analysis and resulting actions were to be reported back at the October meeting of Cabinet.


The forecast overspend presented serious and significant risk to the council’s financial sustainability, if it was not addressed as a matter of urgency. The risk reserve set aside to deal with any overspend in 2023-2024 was only £12 million, so further action was needed to ensure the budget was brought back to as close to balance as possible by the end of the financial year. The action taken, building on the initial management action detailed in the report, would need to focus on recurring cost reductions and savings to ensure the 2024-25 budget and medium-term financial plan were not impacted.


3) Ms Cooke said the report which was to be brought to the meeting of Cabinet on 5 October was key in demonstrating that KCC was reducing the overspend, in order to demonstrate that KCC was still financially viable and financially resilient.


4) The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.