This report details the final revenue and capital outturn position for the financial year ended 31 March 2022.These figures will form part of the Council’s Statement of Accounts, which will be presented to the Audit Committee following the completion of the External Audit. The report also presents a summary of debts written off during the 2021/22 financial year in line with the constitutional requirement to submit a report to Cabinet on an annual basis setting out details of all debt written off.
The Committee considered a report which detailed the final revenue and capital outturn position for the financial year ended 31 March 2022.
The following issues were discussed:
· Rural Liaison Grant – It was reported that one application had been received from a Parish Council and was currently with the Leader for consideration.
· Use of reserves - Concern was expressed that the Council was using its reserves to balance the budget, and this would increase once Covid support grants were no longer available. The Chief Operating Officer responded that last year the Council had budgeted for the use of reserves to make up for an anticipated loss of income but had not needed to as the recovery had been more robust than expected. This year’s budget has again made assumptions about the use of reserves.
· Lobbying of Government and local MPs – The Chief Operating Officer assured Members that Kent and Medway Chief Officers continued to lobby the Government regarding next year’s Local Government settlement. A Member proposed that a letter be sent to the local MPs raising concerns about the ongoing financial pressures on Adult and Children’s Services.
· Adult social care – The view was expressed that no further savings should be sought from this budget. The Chief Operating Officer advised that all services would need to identify savings. The Better Care Fund was ringfenced for Medway and discussions were ongoing on how it could be used differently.
· Children’s social care – The view was expressed that, given the care providers market was largely unregulated, more needed to be done locally to impose some regulation. The Chief Operating Officer said that it was recognised that the solution would be to reduce the number of children in need of extensive care by intervention at an earlier age. The Children and Adults Directorate was trying to ensure that all key posts were filled.
· Use of Section 106 (S106) developer contributions for adult and children’s social care – In response to a question on whether this would be possible the Chief Operating Officer said that it was for the NHS to determine how the S106 funds that had been ringfenced for health should be used. The Council had identified that the outstanding amount would make up the shortfall for the proposed Healthy Living Centre on the first floor of the Pentagon Centre.
· Clarification on the management of the Dedicated Schools Grant deficit - The Chief Operating Officer explained that the deficit had accumulated over a number of years after the Special Educational Needs and Disability reforms of 2014. The Department of Education had selected Medway for the safety valve programme which sought to clear this deficit if Medway delivered a robust deficit recovery plan.
· Housing Revenue Account underspend – It was confirmed that the £239,000 underspend would be ringfenced.
1. The Committee noted that 2021/22 revenue and capital outturn position.
2. The Committee recommended that a letter be sent to the 3 local MPs raising its concern about the ongoing financial pressures facing Children and Adult Services.