The Director of Finance and the Head of Financial Planning and Support provided an update to the Board; the following points were highlighted:
Following the update, Members were afforded the opportunity to ask questions.
In response to an enquiry regarding Adult Social Care and Children’s Social Care and the potential impact of COVID-19 on those budgets over the coming years, it was explained that this was a concern, but there were a lot of unknowns at present. Consideration was given to increases in Adult Social Care costs and further increases in light of a greater need for home support. It was hoped that a funding review would be undertaken in the near future. It was acknowledged that this was an issue, which would be monitored closely.
A Member made reference to paragraphs 59-63 in respect of income reduction and queried how much of a risk this was going forward. In addition, a reduction to mileage for staff had been noted – it was queried whether this would be pursued at the current time and/or whether this would be revisited. In response, it was explained that the reduction in the mileage rate would be revisited in September by the Executive. This matter had been postponed due to the pandemic, during which time a reduction in mileage had been seen. There was a need to monitor the income longer-term, which was ultimately why as many reserves as possible needed to be built-up. The authority was not necessarily going to receive all of the income that had been received pre-COVID-19, which provided reasoning as to why some COVID-19 contingencies had been built into the budget in future years.
A Member referred to the balance of reserves and sought reassurance that matters were in hand and that there had not been any significant (recent) changes. In response, it was indicated that, in the budget report, the General Fund Reserve had been increased from £9.4m to just over £11.5m in anticipation of this. The aim was to increase reserves without affecting service provision.
A Member made reference to Appendix 2 and queried the anticipated return on the £26m that was being channeled into the Boho X development. In response, the Head of Financial Planning and Support advised that he would source further information regarding this.
The Chair thanked the Director of Finance and the Head of Financial Planning and Support for their attendance and contributions to the meeting.
AGREED that the information provided be noted, and the agreed action be undertaken.