The purpose of this report is to apprise the Corporate Support Committee of its forecast out turn against the 2023/24 budgets, which were approved by Full Council at its meeting of the 9 March 2023.
The Group Head Finance and Section 151 Officer introduced his report to members, where he explained the report outlined the committees budget forecast out turn against the 2023/24 budget. He explained that the virements that members were being asked to approve were not additional spend, it was presentational. He outlined the importance of members receiving this new report in order to keep them informed of performance against the approved committee budget. He then highlighted some of the underspends and overspends highlighted within the report, he confirmed that the finance team were actively working with Group Head and budget holders to drive down and mitigate overspending where possible and reminded members to read the Financial Prospects report being delivered to the Policy and Finance Committee at its meeting on 26 October 2023.
The Chair then invited questions from members where the following was raised, comments regarding the level of agency staff was asked, in particular how many agency staff were currently employed, what was the total cost of this to the council alongside what would the cost be should these positions be filled by permanent council employees. It was confirmed that the detail requested would be provided in writing to Committee members, however the Group Head of Finance also highlighted the difficulties with recruitment that were being faced since the pandemic. The Group Head of Law and Governance also confirmed that he was seeing the same difficulties, however specifically addressing comments made regarding paragraph 4.7, he stated that last year the spend had been over £420,000 and this year it was forecast to see a reduction of £100,000, confirming that the focus to drive down spending was effective as well as highlighting that the flexible working that has arisen from the pandemic was something that the council could take advantage of. The Group Head of Organisational Excellence confirmed that the Corporate Management Team (CMT) were reviewing the use of agency staffing very closely and regularly and there would be an improvement seen in this area over time.
The recommendations were proposed by Councillor Wallsgrove and seconded by Councillor Lury.
2.2. Noted the report.
RECOMMEND TO POLICY AND FINANCE COMMITTEE
2.3. that it approves virements of £190,900 from the Corporate Support Committee to the Economy Committee and £34,423 from the Policy and Finance Committee to the Corporate Support Committee