Agenda item

Financial Monitoring Q3

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources which details year-end forecasts and progress made against agreed savings targets for the 3rd quarter ended 31 December 2018.


148.1              Councillor Hannah Norman, Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, introduced the report and highlighted key aspects. She advised that further improvements were anticipated and that there were continued pressures on the markets and cultural services.


148.2              Councillor Norman stated that a deficit in homelessness was anticipated but that the team was doing a considerable amount of work in prevention work. She further stated that planning, environment and parking services were forecasting a surplus. Additionally, she advised that a positive trend was borne out in comparison to the previous quarter.


148.3              Councillor Noakes, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, advised that action was being taken to improve her portfolio’s financial position. She cited the relocation of the Tourist Information Centre (the Overview and Scrutiny Committee having been involved in the plans) and savings from the Gloucester Life Museum. Councillor Noakes also advised that there were upcoming opportunities for income generation including the ‘moon museum’ during the summer. She further advised that income targets had previously been unrealistic and that this would be explored in the upcoming budget.


148.4              Councillor Wilson queried whether the £275k cited at para 6.2 of the Communities and Neighbourhoods portfolio included recoverable costs. The Head of Policy and Resources advised that this reflected the net position once housing benefit recoveries had been realised. Councillor Wilson also asked whether the marketing and events manager position had been filled and Councillor Noakes confirmed that it had.


148.5              Councillor Stephens shared his view that income targets for Culture and Leisure should be reassessed and queried how this area could be improved. With regard to the environment portfolio, he queried why there was an expected shortfall in income from recyclables. With regard to income from recyclables, the Head of Policy and Resources confirmed that revised figures had been provided and he was confident that the forecast was reasonable. In relation to Councillor Stephens’ point regarding Culture, Councillor Noakes stated that it was anticipated that this area would be up to full staffing levels which would improve the financial position.


148.6              Councillor Hilton stated that he was disappointed in the forecasted shortfall of £68k in the general fund. He shared his view that it was necessary for the Culture and Leisure portfolio to remain within budget and that the budget must be sustainable. He noted that a County Homelessness Coordinator had been appointed and asked that these details be shared. Councillor Hilton also queried the details of the considerable bequest which was included in the report and sought confirmation that this would not be used as revenue.


148.7              Councillor Norman advised that the contribution to the general fund had improved on quarter 2 and would hope that this improved further towards year end. Councillor Noakes advised that £90k of the culture overspend was as a result of building maintenance which would not have occurred in other circumstances.  She further confirmed that the bequest that was referred to would not be used as revenue spending.


148.8              Councillor Pullen noted from Councillor Noake’s remarks that the Roundhouse would be involved in training for front of house at the Guildhall. In terms of income generation at the Guildhall, he queried whether this was for staff or for access. He also queried whether there was sufficient capacity. Councillor Noakes confirmed that the Roundhouse would be assisting with staff in building their skills sets.


148.9              In relation to the bequest referred to by Councillor Hilton, Councillor Hawthorne queried whether there were any restrictions, as part of the legacy, placed on the use of the funds. He also asked if there could be further opportunities to attract bequests.


148.10            Councillor Noakes stated that the bequest was made a considerable time ago and that there were conditions attached to it. The Head of Policy and Resources confirmed that these details would be circulated.


148.11            RESOLVED that:- The Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTE the report.

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