The Executive Member for Finance and Governance submitted a report for Executive’s consideration.
The purpose of the report was for Executive to approve the proposed fees and charges increases from 1 December 2023. The changes were outlined in the report following a review of fees for a range of services. The report also noted the impact on each Directorate’s forecast position. The review resulted in an uplift for inflation incurred since the last increase in November 2022. A full fees and charges review was being undertaken as part of the 2024/25 budget setting process.
The Council’s scheme of delegation gave the Executive collective responsibility for financial management and budget monitoring with budgets delegated to Directors for operational and strategic decision making.
It was proposed that going forward from the 2024/25 budget setting, that Fees and Charges would be increased annually as part of the budget setting process and incorporated into the Council’s decisions in February each year in line with the prevailing inflation rate determined by the s151 Officer.
A full review of fees and charges for discretionary services was being progressed as part of the 2024/25 budget setting process and this would consider the potential effect of increases in fees and charges upon demand for services. The review would feed into the 2024/25 budget setting with the effects of the review being included as part of the budget report to Executive and Council in February 2024. The review would also be undertaken in conjunction with external consultants as detailed in the Governance Improvement: Next steps – Resourcing the Financial Recovery and Resilience and Cultural Transformation Programmes report to Executive on 19 July 2023.
Details of the areas of Fees and Charges proposed to be increased from 1 December 2023 were summarised in Appendix 1 of the report, with the detail of the increases for each area contained in Appendix 2. A cautious approach had been taken to estimate the potential additional income that could be achieved in the remainder of 2023/24 considering the achievability of each increase, the consultation required, any statutory constraints and any adverse effect on demand. It was estimated that £0.116m of additional income would be achieved by the end of 2023/24. Table 1 in the report showed by Directorate the estimated additional income from the fees and charges implementation and showed a revised forecast position for 2023/24 if the additional income is realised.
ORDERED that Executive:
Approve the proposed fees and charges
increases for a number of services from 1 December 2023 as summarised in
Appendix 1 and detailed in Appendix 2 of the report;
Approve the proposed increases in fees
for land charges services from 1 December 2023 as detailed in Appendix 3 in the
3. Note that a full detailed fees and charges review for all discretionary services was being undertaken as part of the 2024/25 budget setting process and future increases would fall in line with the annual budget process thereafter.
To not propose the increase in fees and charges from 1
December 2023 would have resulted in the Council not covering the cost of
service provision for those discretionary services which would adversely impact
its financial position. A range of measures were being taken to mitigate the
in-year overspend in order to protect the Council’s level of revenue reserves
which were at a critically low level.
To enable the effective management of finances, in line
with the Council’s Local Code of Corporate Governance, the Scheme of Delegation
and agreed corporate financial regulations.
To contribute to the significant additional costs the
Council is incurring during 2023/24 as a result of the high levels of inflation
that persist in the economy. This would contribute to meeting the cost of
provision and support the reduction of the forecast overspend reported in the
Revenue and Capital Budget – Forecast Outturn position at Quarter Two 2023/24
report to Executive.
At this point the Executive Member for Finance and
Governance withdrew from the meeting for the duration of Agenda Item 8 – Asset Review.