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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 13/11/2006
DRAFT GENERAL FUND REVENUE ESTIMATES 2007/2008



Summary & Purpose
The purpose of this report is to seek this Committee’s views on the draft Revenue Estimates for the services within its remit.

APPENDIX L
Waverley Borough Council

COMMUNITY OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY Committee
13TH NOVEMBER 2006
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Title:
DRAFT GENERAL FUND REVENUE ESTIMATES 2007/2008
[Wards Affected: All]
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Summary and purpose:

The purpose of this report is to seek this Committee’s views on the draft Revenue Estimates for the services within its remit.
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Environmental implications:

There are no direct environmental implications as a result of the recommendation of this report. However, the estimates do include services that do have very significant environmental benefits.

Social / community implications:

There are no direct social/community implications as a result of the recommendation of this report. However, the estimates do include services that do have very significant social/community benefits.

E-Government implications:

The Estimates contain budgets to enable the delivery of Waverley’s E-Government Strategy.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no direct legal implications as a result of the recommendation of this report. Resource implications are contained throughout the report.
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Introduction

1. On the 30th October the annual Finance Seminar took place at Cranleigh Arts Centre. All Members were invited to attend with copies of the presentation sent to those not in attendance. The seminar covered an update of the Financial Strategy and particularly focused on issues regarding the Councils draft Budget for 2007/2008. It also focused on the Corporate Plan and the links between the two.

2. The draft Budget allows for the full-year effect of the ongoing items reported at Budget Monitoring. These should amount to a saving of some 500,000 in 2007/2008, including: additional interest from higher balances, higher interest rates and improved cash-flow; and additional recycling income, reflecting the success of alternate-weekly collection. The January 2007 pay award is not yet known and at this stage the figures exclude any allowance for this.
2007/2008 Draft Revenue Estimates

3. The draft Revenue Estimates for 2007/2008 for the services within the remit of this Committee are attached in the following annexes:
Parishes, Partnerships and Local Economy Portfolio - Annexe 1
Housing, Procurement and E-Government Portfolio (Community Overview and Scrutiny items only) - Annexe 2
Community, Youth and Car Parks Portfolio (Community Overview and Scrutiny items only) - Annexe 3

4. Applications for grants under the Sponsored Organisation Scheme for 2007/2008 will be the subject of a separate report to this Committee. At this stage, the detailed estimates for 2007/2008 relating to each organisation have been left blank. However, a global figure based on existing amounts has been included within each portfolio summary in order to show the overall budget situation.

5. The Asset Charges made to services do not include a charge for interest. The Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) 2006 removed the need to make notional capital financing charges. The effect on the Budget is neutral.

Statutory Services

6. Each budget page contains an indication of whether the service provided is statutory, discretionary, or a mixture of the two. There are some statutory services where the level of service provided is greater than that required by law. This analysis will assist Members in giving consideration to the resources allocated to the various services. There will of course be other factors, such as the Council’s approved aims and objectives, public demand and political priorities.

Fees and Charges

7. It is the Council’s practice to review its fees and charges each year with effect from the forthcoming 1st April. Planning and Building Control fees are largely determined by statutory Government guidelines. In other areas, increases in charges in line with delegated authority have been allowed for within the draft Estimates. However, in some areas it may be necessary to recommend further increases and these will be subject to consideration by the Executive on 5th December 2006 and during the subsequent Committee cycle.

Proposed Service Variations

Parishes, Partnerships and Local Economy Portfolio

8. Community Transport Initiative – Hoppa grant request 115,000. This grant was a one-off in the 2006/2007 budget and Hoppa has requested a reduced grant of 115,000 in 2007/2008 reflecting a prudent assessment of an improved business position based on current operation. The business plan indicates reducing reliance on Waverley for financial support in future years.

9. Web Casting 20,000 - Additional income from the European Project may reduce this sum.



Housing, Procurement and E-Government Portfolio

10. Other General Fund Housing Services – Housing Advisor 28,000. A changed approach to advice in respect of Homelessness issues has lead to significant reductions in the Homelessness budget over the last few years. This additional post has been requested in order to allow this advisory approach to be maintained and increased. This matter is the subject of a separate report to Members.

Community, Youth and Car Parks Portfolio

11. Concessionary Fares - 20,000 is required to employ consultants to advise on the implications of the proposed National Scheme from 1st April 2008.

12. Meals on Wheels (MoW) - 11,000 increase in grant beyond inflation is required. The MoW service is experiencing reduced demand without compensating reductions in expenditure. Prices for its meals are already relatively high, compared with other providers, and the MoW service feels unable to increase its prices to its customers. Consequently, a request for additional grant has been made.

Budget Variances

13. In general, no unavoidable growth in expenditure has been permitted within the draft 2007/2008 base estimates. However, there are areas where budget variances have arisen. These may result from such matters as contractual commitments, changed levels of use, changes to manpower allocations, or updated asset charges. A brief explanation of each significant budget variance within the remit of this committee for 2006/2007 is given below:

Housing, Procurement and E-Government Portfolio (Annexe 1)

14. Homelessness – the planned reduction in the use of private leased properties, which arises from the new approach to Homelessness issues, is the main element in the net reduction in expenditure of some 52,000 budgeted for 2007/2008.

15. Rent Allowances – the net increased cost of Rent Allowances is principally the result of increased salary allocations. The corresponding reduction in salary allocations can be seen in the Council Tax Benefits service.

16. Rent Rebates – the net increased cost of Rent Rebates is principally the result of increased salary allocations. The corresponding reduction in salary allocations can be seen in the Council Tax Benefits service.

17. Central Communications – income to this service will reduce because the recharge to the Housing Revenue Account for the Central Communications services has been reduced by 50,000 in order to better reflect the market value of this service.

Community, Youth and Car Parks Portfolio

18. Concessionary Fares – increased cost of payments to the Bus Companies. The increase of some 34,000 reflects the number of bus passes issued to Waverley residents. The cost is shared throughout the Surrey authorities, based on passes issued, and the Government’s method for allocating the cost of this scheme is through Revenue Grant payments.


Conclusion

19. The views of this Committee will be reported to the Executive Committee on 5th December 2006 when it will give initial consideration to the draft Budget for 2007/2008. This consideration will include proposals to restrict expenditure levels in line with the Financial Strategy. The Government’s provisional Revenue Support Grant Settlement for 2007/2008 is due to be announced at the end of November and the implications of this will be reported on 5th December 2006. The Executive and Overview and Scrutiny Committees will give further consideration to the Budget in January and February with the final decisions being made at Council on 20th February 2007.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Committee inform the Executive of its views on the draft Revenue Estimates for the services within its remit.
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Background Papers ( DoF )

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Mr B Long Telephone: 01483 523253

E-mail:blong@waverley.gov.uk


comms\o&s2\2006-07\053.doc