Agenda item

Financial Action Plan Update


That the progress and issues set out in the Financial Action Plan be noted and that the report be recommended to Council.


The Lead Member for Financial Oversight & Council Assets introduced the latest update on the Financial Action Plan that set out the work being undertaken to respond the Council’s serious financial challenges and recommendations of external agencies.  The Cabinet was being asked to recommend the latest update to Council on 22nd November 2022.


It was currently estimated that the overall capitalisation direction could be reduced from a potential total of £782m to £369m.  This position had not changed since the previous report to Cabinet in September 2022 but would be revised for the budget reports in early 2023.  The Cabinet noted the key assumptions and risks that underpinned the significantly reduced capitalisation direction.  Continued delivery of the financial strategy of implementing savings plans and asset sales was the foundation of the Council’s recovery and the Cabinet welcomed the progress that was being made on the asset disposal programme which was ahead of schedule.  The proposed sale of the Akzo Nobel site would in itself make a particularly significant contribution to the programme.


In relation to savings for 2023/24, it was noted that the savings target was £23m of which £16m had been identified to date.  These proposals would go through the scrutiny process in December 2022.  The outcome of the Local Government Finance Settlement was awaited and it was noted that the impacts of the recent ‘mini-budget’ had caused significant uncertainty over interest rates and anticipated Government spending reductions.


The 2018/19 and 2019/20 accounts had been submitted to the auditors with 2020/21 expected in February 2023.  It was recognised that extensive audit work was required.  The restructure of the finance department was progressing well with advisements out for senior roles.  The Cabinet also noted the good progress being made on contract management and procurement and responding to the historic backlog of internal audit recommendations.


The Cabinet agreed that overall the report demonstrated that good progress was being made and that the Council was ahead of schedule in some areas such as asset sales.  However, it was recognised that the position remained very challenging and would require focus and commitment to deliver the financial strategy over the coming years.  The financial monitor now included a breakdown of savings by Cabinet portfolio and the Leader stated that Lead Members should regularly follow up with their respective executive directors to ensure savings were being delivered.


At the conclusion of the discussion the report was noted and it was agreed to recommend it to Council.


Recommended –


That the progress and issues set out in the Financial Action Plan be noted and that the report be recommended to Council.

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