Agenda item

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


The Head of Finance 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 be continued 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.


In response to questions, the officer explained that the budget retroactively incorporated external funding, but did not assume its existence for the purposes of balancing the budget. Balancing the budget over 10 years allowed for greater flexibility in addressing large surprise costs.


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


The Committee considered the savings proposals as set out in Appendices G and H, which were for a reduction in the contact hours of the Customer Solutions service, and for a new Commercial Property fees and charges schedule. Members asked questions regarding the proposals, and were advised that the increases in fees and charges were on a cost-recovery basis, as they related to statutory services. Members supported both proposals.


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


·         Drop the IIP Accreditation

·         Land Charges Service Review

·         Improvements to the Procurement Strategy

·         Investigate over-delivery on certain Performance Indicators


Following debate, Members agreed that only the second suggestion should be referred to Cabinet for further consideration. It was noted that the third suggestion was being investigated outside of the budget process through the Audit Committee.


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 savings proposals (SCIA 13, SCIA 14) identified in Appendices G&H to the report applicable to this Advisory Committee, be considered; and that

b)      Cabinet consider the following suggestion:


·         Land Charges Service Review

·         Improvements to the Procurement Strategy

Supporting documents:


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