Agenda item

Month 5 Budget Monitoring

To scrutinise the budgetary position (revenue and capital) for services falling within the committee's remit at Month 5.


Cabinet Member Ben Callard and Peter Davies introduced the report and answered the members’ questions with Jonathan Davies, Frances O’Brien, Paul Griffiths, Jane Rodgers and Nikki Wellington. 


Key Questions from Members: 


·        How are the responsibilities split between the two Cabinet Members for Resources? 

·        Pressures on providing accommodation for homeless are increasing and the costs seem to be reactive – are there plans to mitigate this and be more proactive?– ACTION (provide members with trend data and information on B&Bs and Homelessness) 

·        There are shortfalls in Social Care and Health because of complex demand and children with ALN provision – what implications are there for users of these services and what plans are in place to manage these factors? 

·        The report indicates a target of £550k savingsrelating to continuing healthcare (p22); we’ve achieved£141k at Month 5, so falling short of the target. Is there a power imbalance between MCC and the health board?Are we doing enough to equip our staff to challenge the health board? 

·        Has the reduction in the hours of unmet care need been because we had more carers and hours provided or have people who would have qualified for care packages in the pastbeen ruled out? If so, are we failing to serve the most vulnerable people? 

·        We hear anecdotally that smaller care packages go to full panels, and social workers are tied up for hours in panel meetings rather than being out on the frontline – is that the case? 

·        Is the overspend of £111k related to Castle Gate business park an actual loss? 

·        Item 3.12, why has there been a delay in resourcing the team to meet the energy targets reduction and when can we expect to see the reduction? 

·        Are the shortfall in mileage reduction and delays to the rollout of the pool car scheme now being addressed? 

·        Note that in regard to homelessness (p27), it’s important for people recovering from addiction to stay in their networks of support 

·        Can we be reassured that there won’t be a reduction in the Housing Support Grant and that the charities that benefit from it, such as Mind Monmouthshire, won’t be affected? 

·        What’sthe latest indication on the likelihood of the unbudgeted grant of £1m being awarded? 

·        How is funding from Welsh Government that is not materialising e.g. for universal free school meals for primary pupils being followed up? 

·        Regarding the Housing Support Grant, would it be constructive to send a letter to the Welsh Government director reiterating the importance of knowing MCC’s funding allocation as soon as possible? ACTION 

·        The forecast overspend for services is £6.2m, the recovery to bring that down to a pressure of £124k are to be met by -related items, of which some are ‘one-off’ – would we expect plans to come forward that we can look at in advance of next year’s budget discussions? 

·        P8 of the cover report, schools catering, £2.90 per meal is identified as not sufficient – what is the actual cost that we would look to be retrospectively funded by Welsh Government? 

·        Schools balancesare down 86% in-year is that a very significant exposure for next year? 

·        The Chair commented that if committee members can contribute in any way, e.g. if Aneurin Bevan colleagues could join us for a meeting to understand how they are applying continuing healthcare and enhance understanding, they would be happy to do so 


Chair’s Summary: 

Thank you to the Cabinet Member and officers. The committee was asked to scrutinize therevenue budget forecast for 23-24 up to Month 5, to assess whether effective budget monitoring is in place and the extent to which budgets arespent within the agreed budget and policy framework, including the reasonableness of the explanation for variances, and to consider the achievement of progress to meeting budget savingstargets. We have done so thoroughly and therefore the reportis moved. 


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