Merton Council

Home Home Merton Adult Education Home Home Jobs in children's social care Home Merton Means Business Home Wandle Valley Low Carbon Zone Home Safeguarding Children Board
How do I contact my councillor?

Agenda item

Financial monitoring report, Quarter 3, 2018/19


The report was introduced by Caroline Holland, Director of Corporate Services. She said that during period 9 the revenue budget had moved from a forecast overspend of £0.2m at year end to a forecast underspend of £1.49m, with improvements in the forecast outturn position for all departments except Community and Housing. She drew the task group’s attention to the updated information on the capital programme, progress on savings, debt monitoring and vacancy data.


Caroline Holland, Roger Kershaw (Assistant Director of Resources) and David Keppler (Head of Revenues and Benefits), provided additional information on specific sections in response to questions:



·         The forecast underspend in Environment and Regeneration is unlikely to fully persist into 2019/20. Whether the forecast underspend in Community and Housing persists into 2019/20 will depend on the extent to which the budget is affected by winter pressures.

Corporate Services

·         The bailiff service income is forecast to be about £1.5m for Merton and £0.5m for Sutton.

·         Contract management is provided by individual contract managers. The procurement board provides strategic overview. The Veolia contract is managed with the Environment and Regeneration Department.

Environment and Regeneration

·         It is hoped that the reduction in total waste tonnage will continue but, as it may be linked to the downturn in the economy, it may increase again. The service is working hard to increase recycling rates.

Children Schools and Families

·         SEN transport (page 13) is a difficult area to forecast. A review of transport for children and adults is underway.

·         The forecast deficit for the Dedicated Schools Grant will not be reflected in the General Fund balance. The council is in discussion with the external auditors regarding the appropriate accounting treatment of the deficit.

·         Independent Day School provision (page 17) is for children on EHCPs who are placed out of borough. It is hoped that better rates may be negotiated for new placements.

Community and Housing

·         The council will fund temporary accommodation where it has responsibility for doing so. Where the client is in receipt of housing benefit, the council will be able to recoup up to 50% of the temporary accommodation cost.

Debt update

·         Car parking debts comprise a combination of one-off debtors, persistent offenders and those with 2-3 unpaid tickets. Once the debt is passed to the bailiffs, they work hard to track down the car owner, one third of which are registered outside the borough.

·         The task group AGREED that it would like some information on the potential for raising income from selling debts to be included in the update report to the next meeting. ACTION: Head of Revenues and Benefits


In their discussion of the establishment control and vacancy reporting data, task group members commented that, without information on the level of turnover, it was difficult to interpret changes in the unfilled vacancies and agency workers from month to month. Caroline Holland said that turnover is currently below the council’s target of 12% and offered to include the number of posts recruited to in the overall data table (Annex A). ACTION: Head of HR

Supporting documents: