Reason for Decision:
Given the Council’s financial position, Cabinet now receives a monthly report setting out the latest forecast and actions being taken to balance the budget by the end of the financial year. Adjustments to both the revenue and capital budgets which reflect a reallocation between Key Services in light of the 2022-23 final spend and activity levels and the latest service transformation plans require approval from Cabinet. Cabinet approval is also required for the proposed additional contributions to, and transfers between reserves, as effectively these represent a variation from the approved budget, and the award of a call-off contract for Early Payment Services.
A high-level position report on the Council’s financial position as at the end of June 2023 was reported to Cabinet on 17th August 2023 which showed a forecast overspend of £43.7m before management action. As part of that report, it was agreed that the Cabinet on 5th October would receive a progress update report setting out in more detail the additional actions taken and those actions and decisions requiring Cabinet approval to bring the forecast overspend down to as close to a balanced position as possible. The report would set out the framework for the medium to longer term plan for “Securing Kent’s Future” with sustainable spending and sufficient financial resilience.
Framing Kent’s Future (FKF), the KCC Strategic Statement, was approved at County Council in May 2022 and sets out the council’s ambition and strategic priorities until 2026. FKF acknowledged the significant financial and demand pressures the council would be facing over the coming four years, whilst concurrently delivering an ambitious agenda for Kent residents, businesses, and local communities.
The Securing Kent's Future plans and this related Finance Monitoring report 2023-24 reflects the need to confirm a re-prioritisation of Council business within the framework of Framing Kent's Future - further details are set out within the “Securing Kent's Future” Cabinet report.
The finance monitoring report could continue to be provided quarterly but it is critical that the financial position is considered more regularly to ensure the decisions needing Cabinet approval to balance the budget can be taken as quickly as possible.
Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision published: 08/11/2023
Effective from: 05/10/2023
The Cabinet agree to:
(a) note the Council’s updated financial position,
(b) approve the required budgetary changes, including the creation of a new emergency capital events & abortive costs reserve and budget recovery reserve and the transfer of funds to those; the transfer of funds to DSG adjustment account for the planned drawdown under Safety Valve agreement, specifically:
- the transfer of £1m recurring saving from the recalculation of debt charges to a new capital reserve
- the transfer of £2m from the Earmarked Reserve to Support Future Years Budget to a new Budget Recovery Reserve
- the transfer from the Kings Hill Smoothing Reserve of £14.4m to fund the 2023-24 safety valve
(c) approve the Revenue and Capital budget adjustments detailed in sections 14 and 15 of the budget monitoring report
(d) approve the award of a call-off contract for the supply of Early Payment Services
(e) in relation to (d) delegate authority to the s151 Officer to, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, finalise and enter into relevant contracts to implement the required contract award; and
(f) in relation to (d) delegate authority to the s151 Officer to take other actions, including but not limited to entering into contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement the decision.
Lead officer: Cath Head