Agenda item

Revenue Budget Monitoring Report Round 2 2020/21

This report presents the results of the second round of the Council’s revenue budget monitoring process for 2020/21. Section 3 sets out the overall position, while Sections 4-7 and appendices 1-3 provide full details.



The Committee considered a report on the second round of the Council’s revenue budget monitoring process for 2020/21.


Members were advised that, since February, the Council had received £65m of Covid related grant, much of which was for passing on to businesses. This grant, and management action to contain expenditure, had reduced the pressure on the budget from £24m to £2.5m.


Members raised a number of issues which were responded to as follows:


  • Concern was raised regarding the worsening position in Adult Social Care due to the pandemic and the Chief Finance Officer agreed that the raising of the precept would be beneficial. Asked about the rising cost of nursing care, he agreed that this was not sustainable and negotiations with providers to reduce this cost were ongoing.


  • Negotiations with the CCG on funding placements as a result of early hospital discharges were continuing. Members were advised that such funding had to be claimed back from the Department of Health and NHS England via the CCG and clear records were being kept to ensure that claims were made.


  • In response to a question on social work agency fees paid to the Medway Commercial Group, the Chief Finance Officer advised that, whilst a premium would still be paid, a new Memorandum of Understanding had been agreed and this would enable MCG to support the Council in reducing the number of agency workers in social care through joint working on programmes such as ‘temp to perm’. 


  • With reference to the £500,000 spend on legal counsel, the Chief Legal Officer confirmed that two senior advocates had been recruited who could represent the Council in the High Court and above. Counsel was used for more complex matters which required attendance at court for longer periods and would prevent the Council’s lawyers from undertaking their other work. He reported that the spend on using Counsel had been brought down from £700,000 in 2016/17 to £183,000 in 2019/20. The current spend was unusual and was a result of Covid.  


  • Asked for more information on the Members priority fund, the Chief Finance Officer agreed to consult the Leader on whether he wanted to make commitments against it in the current situation and if so, what the process should be.


  • A Member noted that all sections of the budget under the Committee’s remit were underspent and that previous Q2 figures had sometimes been much higher. He acknowledged the good job that the Chief Finance Officer had done in previous years in ensuring that the figures that were presented to the Committee at the end of the financial year reflected the figures presented throughout the year.


  • With reference to the financial difficulties that had been reported at other Councils, the Chief Finance Officer reported that the Council’s debt exposure was much lower. Officers were currently assessing the measures announced in the recent Government spending review to assist Councils, such as continued support for responding to Covid.




The Committee noted the results of the second round of revenue budget monitoring for 2020/21.


(In accordance with Council Rule 12.6, Councillors Johnson, Maple and Murray asked that their votes in favour be recorded.)

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