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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee room E - Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden SM4 5DX. View directions

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Dennis Pearce and from Paul Dale, Interim Assistant Director of Resources.


Election of chair


Councillor Suzanne Grocott was elected chair.


Financial monitoring report - quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 590 KB


Caroline Holland, Director of Corporate Services, introduced the report. She said that Cabinet would be receiving the report plus figures for July at its meeting on 15 September. She drew the task group’s attention to the year end forecast overspend of £2.69m. This is of concern because at this point last year and the previous year the forecast was for a small underspend so there will be further analysis of budgets in order to understand why the pattern is different this year and what impact this would have on savings targets for this year and subsequent years. An update will be included in the quarter two monitoring report.


In response to questions about reasons for the forecast underspend, Caroline Holland said that it may be due in part to insufficient analysis by budget managers but there may also be services that have given up underlying underspends from previous years and therefore now facing budget pressures.


A task group member commented that the service areas that were on target for the 2014/15 savings had provided a better analysis. Caroline Holland agreed and said that she was not happy with some of the commentary that had been provided on the savings.


Caroline Holland drew the task group’s attention to the capital programme, which continues to have low spend compared to the budget and so she has asked officers to review and provide updated profiles.


Corporate Services Department

Caroline Holland provided further detail in response to questions:


·         iTrent issues still not resolved

·         the customer services forecast underspend will not impact on services residents – the largest component is the underspend on the Local Welfare Support discretionary scheme on which there is no funding for 2015/16 so the underspend will be carried forward


Task group members urged action to address the continuing overspend on corporate communications. Caroline Holland said that there had been some staff reductions and that sponsorship opportunities were being sought.


Children Schools and Families

Cost pressures caused by an increase in spend on supporting care leavers to age 21 (and, in some, cases 25) and on people with “no recourse to public funds” have impacted on this budget and on third party payments (table on page 3) as these are not fully funded by government. Caroline Holland said that detail would be provided to London Councils to help their lobbying position and could also be sent to task group members.

ACTION: Director of Corporate Services


In response to concerns about the use of public health funds, Caroline Holland said that the monies being used were the public health underspend from last year and that these would be used to support public health initiatives in the departments.

Caroline Holland said that the Director of Environment and Regeneration is leading a working group to review the cost of the provision of the transport services used by the departments and that further information would be provided in the next quarterly monitoring report.


Community and Housing

A task group member expressed concern that the forecast  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.