Agenda item

Revenue Budget Monitoring 2021/22 Round 3

This report presents the result of the third round of the Council’s revenue budget monitoring process for 2021/22. The Council’s summary position is presented at Table 1, with sections 4-7 providing the detail for each service area.




Members considered a report which presented the result of the third round of the Council’s revenue budget monitoring process for 2021/22.  In introducing this item, the Chief Operating Officer explained that the £10.7 million improvement in the forecast position between the second and third rounds had been due to a change in the policy for funding SEN placements with a reduced contribution coming from the general fund; an improvement in Regeneration, Culture and Environment income projections as a result of recovery from the pandemic; and an overprovision for the  repayment of the Council’s debt which has been transferred into general reserves.


The following issues were discussed:


  • 2022/23 Budget – In welcoming the current revenue position, a Member expressed concern that it might not be sustained given the cost of living crisis, and that basing the 2022/23 budget on current assumptions might cause issues. In response the Chief Operating Officer said that the ongoing pressure on Children and Adults Services and the improved income projections had been reflected in the budget build. Assumptions had been made around savings targets and management actions that would be taken to reduce the impact of high-cost placements and other projected pressures. There had been no assumption that the circumstances of last year, when the Council was in receipt of Covid grants, would continue.


  • Mainstream home to school transport – A Member asked if the financing of home to school transport included the potential four additional buses that would be required to transport children from Chatham, Strood and Rochester to the new school in Stoke. A written response would be provided.  


  • Regeneration delivery forecast – With reference to a comment in the report that a range of small savings had been added to the HIF budget, a Member asked if there were other examples as he believed that everything related to the HIF got charged to the HIF. The Chief Operating Officer explained that this related to elements of a HIF claim submitted to Homes England that they had rejected, which had meant that those costs were a call on the general fund. He would provide further details in writing about these costs and their funding.


  • Housing benefit subsidy scheme – The Chief Operating Officer clarified that the types of claims that did not attract 100% subsidy included the more complex claims, such as exempt accommodation, which remained under the housing benefit rules rather than universal credit.


  • Local Plan and Public Planning Inquiries – Asked how the cost of consultants employed in the production of the Local Plan, and also the cost of public planning inquiries, were built into the budget, the Chief Operating Officer said that sums had been set aside in reserves for these matters.


  • In-house fostering – Clarification was sought on in-house foster carers which were not referenced in the report. The Chief Operating Officer responded that all would agree it was better for children to be placed in a home setting rather than a residential setting. However, the Council was losing some of its long- term foster carers which had led to an increased use of independent fostering agencies. There was a drive to increase the number of in-house foster carers and improve their skills sets so they could foster children with more complex needs.




The Committee noted the results of the third round of revenue budget monitoring for 2021/22.

Supporting documents: