Agenda item

Budget 2024/25: Review of Service Dashboards and Service Change Impact Assessments (SCIAs)


The Chief Officer – Finance and Trading presented the report which set out updates to the 2024/25 budget process within the existing framework of the 10-year budget and savings plan.


Some changes had been made to future assumptions and they would continue to be reviewed during the budget process. The key cost driver continued to be inflation, with pressure coming through on service demand, the pay award and the cost of goods and services. The items listed in Appendix E reported a current annual budget gap of £1.368m. Members were advised that they were likely to have to make more difficult decisions during the 2024/25 budget setting process than they had had to make for many years.


Informed by the latest information from Government and discussions from Cabinet, it was proposed that the Council once again set a balanced 10-year budget and continued to aim to be financially self-sufficient with no direct funding from Government through additional Revenue Support Grant or New Homes Bonus.


The report presented growth and savings items that had been identified which needed to be considered, and requested further suggestions from the Advisory Committee, before finalising the budget for 2024/25.


It was noted that the growth items SCIA 08 and SCIA 09 identified in Appendices G and H were considered in further detail in Minute 37 – Pest Control Service Review, and Minute 38 – Cess Pool Service Review, and consideration of these items would be better conducted separately.


The Committee considered the savings proposals set out in Appendices G and H, which were the removal of the supply of black sacks for residents, the provision of recycling “bags for life” in place of disposable recycling sacks, and the closure of the Bat & Ball and Greatness Air Quality Monitoring Stations. There was support for these proposals.


Members gave further consideration to additional suggestions for growth and savings which had been suggested by Members and required consideration of the Committee. Those suggestions relevant to this Advisory Committee were as follows:


·       Reduce the number of refuse collections and street cleaning sessions per month by one.

·       Issue sustainable, stronger waste bags to residents, and collect them fortnightly rather than weekly.

·       Provide a new market in New Ash Green

·       Reduce the Net Zero budget.


Following debate Members agreed that none of the suggestions would be recommended to Cabinet.


Public Sector Equality Duty

Members noted that consideration had been given to impacts under the Public Sector Equality Duty.


Resolved:  That it be recommended to Cabinet that


a)      The saving proposal (SCIA 4) identified in Appendices G&H to the report applicable to this Advisory Committee, be considered; and


b)      That no further income or growth proposals were identified.


Supporting documents:


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