Agenda item

Revenue Budget Monitoring 2017/18 - Quarter 1


This report presents the results of the Council’s revenue budget monitoring for

Quarter 1 of the 2017/18 financial year.





Members considered a report which presented the results of the Council’s revenue budget monitoring for Quarter 1 of the 2017/18 financial year.


The following issues were highlighted:


·         Income from car parking charges – a Member commented that the

recent increase in car parking charges had led to a reduction in income

received – for example income at the Council’s car park at Gillingham

railway station had reduced as a nearby non-council car park was now

cheaper. The Chief Finance Officer replied that the £400,000 overspend

was not a result of a reduction in levels of income but due to the fact that

the levels of additional income forecast in the budget had not been achieved.


Following a comment from a Member, officers agreed to investigate levels

of income across all Council car parks to help inform future decisions on levels of charges.


In response to a query about the NNDR pressure of £77,000 caused by an unexpected increase in the rateable value of car parks, the Chief Finance Officer advised this increase had not been foreseen in the budget setting process.


·         Leisure services – referring to a £1m reduction in spending on leisure services over the last three years, a Member queried whether this had led to a loss of confidence in the service amongst the public. The Chief Finance Officer advised that there was a three year programme to remove the subsidy for leisure services. However, the impact of competition from private gyms had not been foreseen when this decision to remove the subsidy had been made. A Member commented that, whilst that was a factor, a lack of investment in the maintenance of leisure pools was a contributory factor.


·         Bad debt provision – the Chief Finance Officer undertook to report back on what the figure was for bad debt provision requirement at the end of the 2016/17 financial year.


·         Gun Wharf – a Member queried what progress had been made in attracting tenants to Gun Wharf to achieve the target of £200,000 rental income. Members were advised that this target was not now achievable and other measures would need to be found.


·         Britton Park supermarket site- referring to the budget pressures resulting from the loss of the tenant a Member asked for regular reports on this to scrutiny. The Chief Legal Officer advised there were active discussions ongoing on the future of this site and progress reports would be submitted to Members.




·         Social worker vacancy rates – a Member referred to the high percentage of vacancies for social workers and commented that recent re-organisations appeared to have exacerbated the position. In addition a social care pilot was coming to an end and there was a need to learn lessons from this. The Assistant Director – Transformation advised that this needed to be seen in the context of a national shortage of social workers. The social worker academy and the new staffing agency were examples of measures the Council had taken to respond to this problem. It was not uncommon for some employees to leave an organisation following a restructuring. There were robust processes in place to recruit social workers and student social workers were also being employed. In response to a comment from a Member that too high a proportion of the latter could lead to an inadequate Ofsted rating, the Assistant Director assured Members that the right mix between student and experienced social workers had been struck for that reason. Lessons from the pilot would be learned across the Council.




The Committee agreed to note the result of the first round of revenue monitoring for 2017/18 and to note the forecast position and proposed management action.



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