Council services by letter

Agenda item


Draft Revenue Budget 2018/19 and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018/19 to 2020/21

Report of the Director of Finance


The Forum received a report of the Director of Finance which set out the draft revenue budget for 2018/19 and draft Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for 2018/19 to 2020/21.


Following questions and comments from members of the Forum, the Director of Finance advised that:


·                     the challenges involved in setting a 3-year budget meant that inevitably some items may need to be removed.  This could be due  to changes in legislation,  the lead in time or consultation.  The Infinity project had been reversed from the budget, however, work on the development and marketing of Project Infinity would continue and any income generated would be re-instated into the budget as and when realised. Any shortfall would be covered from a number of other sources, for example, collections fund resources, savings on capital financing and additional grant monies;


·                     the overspend in Adults was being mitigated through the receipt of additional income received after budget setting and the remaining shortfall would be offset through some technical entries and centrally held corporate budgets.  The ‘Home in Harrow’ project had been developed following an evaluation of adult social care delivery in Harrow and was aimed at reducing the number of people requiring residential care packages.  A very large proportion of the adult social care budget was spent on residential care packages.  She undertook to find out if the Home in Harrow project was part of the Supported Living scheme and would circulate this information to Forum members after the meeting;


·                     the Council, in conjunction with other West London Authorities had entered into a contract with West London Waste (WLW).  The return on the investment income from this was reflected in the investment income budget.  These items were reported in the Treasury Management Budget reports.  She undertook to circulate more detailed information regarding this to Forum members after the meeting;


·                     the Portfolio Holder for Community advised that Harrow was in the ‘pay as you throw’ scheme.  The Council received a rebate from WLW, which was allocated to the central budget.  He pointed out that costs and returns for waste could vary due to fluctuations in the recycling market.  He undertook to look into the figures and share this information with Forum members after the meeting;


·                     Directorates had been requested to ensure that any savings listed in the budget should be achievable.  In cases where a Directorate struggled to achieve savings, it would in the first instance be expected to cover this from within the Directorate and failing that, the shortfall would be achieved across the Council as a whole.  She added that the budget monitoring process would begin early, as in previous years, so  shortfalls could be identified early and appropriate mitigating measures put in place;


·                     with regard to the impact of the saving proposals on FTE’s, she did not have the exact figures and undertook to provide this information to the Corporate Joint Committee meeting scheduled to take place at the end of January 2018;


·                     the £8.4m figure related to the cost of borrowing money to fund the Council’s Capital Programme, which included essential building and maintenance projects such as schools, roads etc.  The Council received investment returns of £1.3m which included returns on the WLWA contract.  The investment income from the Council’s commercial ventures amounted to approximately £700k and the Council currently had £50m cash balances.


RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

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