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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Merton Civic Centre

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Cllr Sally Kenny (with Cllr Nick Draper as substitute) and Cllr Thomas Barlow (with Cllr David Williams as substitute).



Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 149 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.



Business Plan update 2022-2026 pdf icon PDF 1 MB


The Director of Corporate Services provided an update following on from the meeting of the Commission in November which scrutinised the first stages of the business plan and rolling forward of the MTFS.


To the December Cabinet we took some revenue savings to help mitigate the gap that we had identified and looked at the inflation, pay and prices provisions we had set aside.


Particularly of interest for this panel was the level of savings that have been identified and so we had looked to mitigate the gap, particularly in 2022/23, and there were savings being brought forward for 2023/24, but very few further savings in those later years.


We have built in some monies to assist with tackling our deficit ahead of information from the DfE about the outcome of the safety valve discussions. 


The position as at the end of December was a balanced budget for 2022/23 but still a gap of £12.8 million in 2023/24. We had at that stage built in the 2% Council Tax increase and the 1% Adult Social care precept.  


There will be further updates on the actual settlement at Cabinet in February. Certainly overall, it was a good settlement. However, it was still only a one-year settlement, so that is disappointing.


In response to questions, the Director of Corporate Services expanded upon keys areas of interest for the Commission;


With regards to the DSG, we expect to hear shortly from the DfE on the outcome of the safety valve discussions.  


We have put some additional resources into the business plan of £1.1 million per annum over the next five years to assist and give some capacity to Children, Schools and Families department to help deliver some of those changes required. The challenge is that whilst we asked for some monies, we do not know the level and size of the pot that was available, or our share of it, because the DfE were looking to help five other local authorities also.


Our current outturn position, which is a deficit, could potentially swing into a surplus position depending on the amount of funding we get because of the money we have currently set aside for the DSG. So there is quite a few moving bits and pieces still to come through with regards to the monies that we have set aside currently to fund our DSG deficit - What we have currently set aside in 2022/23 is £10.5 million. 


The statutory override that is in place ends at the end of 2022/23.


We are looking at expansions to our primary and secondary schools and potentially a new special school. If we're successful with the safety valve funding then those will be grant funded and we can bid for some more grant funding to support those.


With regards to inflation (running at about 5%);

At this stage, we have looked at increasing the inflation allowance to 2.5% but we are keeping that under review. Additional monies for utilities have also been added in.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Scrutiny panels comments and recommendations on the Business Plan - To follow


Taken with Item 4.


Identify questions for the Borough Commander


Members were asked to consider their questions for the Borough Commander.



Work programme pdf icon PDF 368 KB


The work programme was noted.