Report of the Assistant Director Resources
The Assistant Director Resources submitted a report (previously circulated) requesting that Members give consideration to the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2022/23 to 2025/26.
In introducing the report, the Group Director of Operations reminded Members of the MTFP Briefing that was delivered to Members in December outlining the overall position of the MTFP, and advised that Members now had the opportunity to ask questions relating to the remit of this Scrutiny Committee and to forward any views or comments to the Economy and Resources Scrutiny Committee for consideration at its meeting scheduled to be held on 20 January 2022.
The Group Director of Operations provided an update on the finance settlement which had been received subsequent to the draft MTFP.
It was reported that the Council Tax and Precept levels remained as expected at 2 per cent and 1 per cent respectively; that the £1.5B additional funding announced in the Autumn Statement had been split into £822M Services Grant and £636M Social Care Grant; the Council would be receiving £1.579M from the Services Grant and £1.162M from the Social Care Grant, which was higher than the estimate included within the draft MTFP; and Members were advised that the Services Grant was a one-off payment whilst a further review of Local Government funding was conducted.
Members were also advised that the New Homes Bonus had been extended for a further year, and that this would net a further £1.4M above anticipated levels. It was reported that there were also a number of deductions from initial draft figures, however overall there would be an additional £1.073M funding for 2022/23.
Discussion ensued regarding staffing savings within Children’s Social Care and the provision of home carers; and Members sought clarification regarding increased demand in relation to Highways - responsive repairs.
Following a question regarding the provision for increasing staffing levels on the ground, with particular reference made to the arboricultural team, the Assistant Director Community Services advised Members that there was provision in the budget to recruit additional arboricultural officers; recruitment to these posts had been challenging however the posts had been reviewed and recruitment would continue.
Discussion also ensued regarding the Futures Fund and impacts of this being mainstreamed into the budget from 2025/26 onwards; the anticipated allocation of the additional £1.073M from the settlement; and Members sought clarification in respect of the allocation of the £310M that the Tees Valley Combined Authority had been allocated from the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement.
IT WAS AGREED – (a) That this Scrutiny Committee has no comment to make on the MTFP 2022/23 to 2025/26.
(b) That the Chair, in consultation with the Lead Scrutiny Officers supporting this Scrutiny Committee, be given authority to agree the Notes of this Meeting of the Committee, to enable the Notes to be considered at a Special Meeting of the Economy and Resources Scrutiny Committee, scheduled to be held on 20 January 2022.