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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Civic Centre - 8th floor meeting room 3

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Peter McCabe, due to clash with meeting of Standards Committee.


Minutes of meeting held on 5 November 2014 pdf icon PDF 25 KB




Financial monitoring report - quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 975 KB


At the suggestion of the chair, task group members agreed to discuss concerns and raise questions as part of the discussion of the next agenda item – planning future meetings.


Planning future meetings

The task group is asked to identify what information it wishes to receive at its next meeting in order to support the work referred to it by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission to investigate the scope for alternative sources of revenue to fund some of the savings. Members are also asked to consider the motion to Council in February 2014 regarding the council’s capacity to undertake its capital programme.


No meeting dates have been set so members are asked to bring their diaries.


Caroline Holland, Director of Corporate Services, and Paul Dale, Assistant Director of Resources, provided additional information in response to questions:

·         regarding the relationship between reserves held by schools  - a total of £12m is held by schools across the borough, mainly for contingencies. This would not be used by schools for capital works, other than for small projects as schools are not able to borrow money for capital works in their own right.


·         regarding the level of overspend in 2014/15, Caroline Holland said that this year has shown a different pattern to previous years. Her prediction is that the overspend will reduce to between £3m and £4m by the end of the financial year. A number of factors have contributed to the overspend and these are set out in the report.


·         the £1m additional cost to the pension fund this year was due to a higher than average number of deaths in service and ill health retirements and does therefore not represent a recurring cost. The council funds the cost of deaths in service and certain redundancies where the pension is released early.


·         The South London Waste Partnership is a governing body that oversees tendering processes. The recycling firm EWC went bankrupt and service was taken over by Kingston Council leading to a one-off overspend. This situation is unlikely to arise with the parks maintenance contract because they are likely to attract much larger companies. A financial assessment of companies’ credit worthiness will be carried out at an early stage in the tendering process.


·         Savings are tracked closely and reviewed. Managers are expected to put forward alternative savings for any that can’t be delivered.


Caroline Holland undertook to provide information on the level of outstanding debt written off each year over the past five years. ACTION: Director of Corporate Services


Task group members agreed that it would be helpful if budget savings and monitoring information showed percentage variances and trends so that problem areas could be easily identified and scrutinised.


Task group members identified a number of issues and areas of concern that they would like to scrutinise in more depth in future:


Capital programme

Agreed that it would be helpful to have information at a subsequent meeting to address:

·         capacity of the capital programme

·         process for items being accepted on to the capital programme, subsequent prioritisation and review of items that have been on for some time.

·         funding of the capital programme and link to the revenue account

·         links to the treasury management strategy

·         capital programme month by month spend profile

·         out-turn data for 2014/15 compared to the forecast at month 9 so can look at quality of monitoring by area of spend


Community transport

Members expressed concern about the predicted overspend in SEN and FE transport costs (page 11 and 14 of the report) and the adult transport services (page 20) would like more detail in order to scrutinise the budget allocation and model of delivery:


·         number of children

·         number of escorts

·         number of journeys

·         costs of each  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.