Agenda item

Budget Update

Report of Executive Director (Finance and Resources) to follow as a supplementary pack


The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director of Finance and Resources (S151 officer) which had been referred direct by the Cabinet from the meeting held on 31st October 2023.


The report had been circulated prior to the meeting as a supplementary agenda item and set out a range of proposals to help to address the financial challenges the Council was facing, to allow sufficient time to develop and make the necessary detailed arrangements which included appropriate consultation.


The Committee asked a number of procedural questions regarding a S114 notice, any what would happen if one was required to be issued, which were responded to by the S151 officer (the Executive Director of Finance and Resources).


On consideration of the report the Leader of the Council made a commitment that Group Leaders would be involved in the development of the proposed consultation(s) to ensure the best quality responses, and that they would have the opportunity to participate in ‘Revenue Challenge Sessions’. (Action noted).


The Committee discussed the report at length and asked a number of questions which were responded to by the relevant Cabinet Members. In response to a committee member’s question regarding business support grants, the Leader of the Council requested for the meeting to move into exempt session at the end to briefly discuss, to which the Chair agreed.


The Leader of the Council clarified the net General Fund Revenue Budget position for 2023/24 of £143.875M, and that the language would be corrected in future reports.


During the debate a Councillor sought reassurance that he would receive a response regarding a £300,000 overspend in the Highways budget. (Action noted).


Prior to the meeting, the Chair of the Committee requested all Councillors to put forward any ideas for revenue generation / revenue savings which were being collated by Democratic Services so that details could be supplied to Cabinet Members. At the time of the meeting, the Chair confirmed that responses had been so far received from Councillor R Woodley, Councillor S Aylen, Councillor M Dent, Councillor A Jones, Councillor M Berry, Councillor R McMullan and Councillor M Terry.


The Leader of the Council reaffirmed his commitment to appraising all suggested revenue saving / revenue generating ideas at a future meeting of the Cabinet. In order for all suggestions to sufficiently be reviewed by officers and appraised by the Cabinet, all Councillors were requested to submit their responses to Democratic Services and the Chair of the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee within the following 7 days. (Action noted).  


During the debate a number of revenue saving / revenue generation suggestions were put forward by Members, which were logged by Democratic Services. These included:

·       to review the modelling for burials in Southend with a comparison of nearby neighbours, and whether an alternative fee structure could be introduced for those living outside of the City.

·       Associated cost savings and possibility of moving staff from Civic 2 into the main tower block (estate optimisation).

·       Subsidies to bowl clubs.


The Committee agreed that, in addition to noting the following decisions by Cabinet, a new recommendation be added (at number 7) that Members suggestions for revenue saving / revenue generation be collated and appraised at a future meeting of the Cabinet.




That the following decisions of the Cabinet be noted:


1.     Notes the significant financial challenges facing the Council and agrees that immediate action is required in-year to mitigate the scale of current year overspending as well as plan for longer term, fundamental re-design of Council service delivery.


2.     Notes the work already in progress under existing delegations to the Chief Executive and senior officers.


3.     Agrees therefore to take the decisions outlined in Appendix 1 and delegates to the relevant Executive Director authority to take all necessary action to realise savings, income generation and cost avoidance measures related to those decisions.


4.     Agrees also to delegate authority to the relevant Executive Director, in consultation with (relevant Cabinet Member) to agree the consultation document for decisions in Appendix 1 subject to statutory consultation. The outcome of the consultation and resulting recommendations to be taken back to Cabinet for agreement.


5.     Agree that officers continue to develop the longer-term service re-design measures as set out in paragraph 6 and that Cabinet receive a future report on the projected impact of that service redesign on the Council’s finances.


6.     Agrees that the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader, will develop a new design for service delivery based upon a localities model for approval by a future Cabinet.


Note: This is an Executive Function

Cabinet Member: Councillor T Cox (Leader of the Council)


7.     That is be agreed Members suggestions for revenue saving / revenue generation be collated and appraised at a future meeting of the Cabinet.

Supporting documents:


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