Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Monitoring of the General Fund Revenue Budget 2020/21

Consider report by the Executive Director, Finance and Regulatory, providing budgetary control statements for the Council’s General Fund (copy attached).


2.1       There had been circulated copies of a report by the Executive Director Finance & Regulatory providing the budgetary control statements for the Council’s General Fund based on actual expenditure and income to 30 September 2020 along with explanations of the major variances identified between projected outturn expenditure and income and the current approved budget.  As reported to the Executive Committee of 15 September 2020 after the first quarter of 2020/21 a detailed budget review exercise had been undertaken to realign budgets in light of the financial implications of the COVID-19 response.The reported position after the first quarter was a residual budget pressure, based on forecasts at that point, of £1.393m. Forecasts had now been updated to the second quarter of 2021/21 at 30 September and the position had improved with a revised residual forecast pressure of £0.628m.This position reflected an improvement of £0.765m from the first quarter with the aim remaining to balance the revenue budget by the 31 March 2021 if at all possible.As previously reported, there was likely to be a significant impact on the delivery of planned Financial Plan savings during 2020/21 as a result of the emergency situation.  Financial plan savings of £12.091m required to be delivered in 2020/21.  An analysis of deliverability had been updated as shown in Appendix 4 to the report.   Following the September month end £5.705m (47%) savings had been delivered permanently, £1.454m (12%) were profiled to be delivered by 31 March 2021 and £4.932m (41%) had been delivered on a temporary basis through alternative savings.Full details of pressures, risks and challenges and the significant majority of areas of the Council’s operation where budget plans remained on track were detailed in Appendix 1 to the report.The report detailed key assumptions made in arriving at the figures; management actions for the remainder of the financial year with the aim of closing the current £0.628m gap; and a summary of the impact of COVID-19 related pressures on individual services.


2.2       Members discussed the report and received answers to their questions from the Executive Director, David Robertson.  The Executive Member for Economic Regeneration and Finance thanked Mr Robertson and his team for their work in producing the report.  He welcomed the efforts made over the recent quarter to halve the residual forecast pressure but emphasised the huge amount of work being carried out by officers to deliver the savings required.  He also noted the significant additional work being managed by the Council during the COVID-19 emergency to administer and deliver grants to local businesses.  In response to a question about Specific Grant flexibility around the use of funds freed up from Early Years expansion Mr Robertson advised that the funding was ring-fenced within Education and available funds would be used to offset COVID-19 costs in that service during 2020/21.  He confirmed that the Council had made a commitment in full in terms of Early Years expansion and delivery of 1140 funded hours.  Mr Robertson agreed that, in terms of financial risk, it was Health & Social Care which was continuing to experience ongoing pressures as a result of the COVID-19 response. There had been a significant amount of funding to the IJB budget to address these pressures and more was expected.  Mr Robertson gave assurance that the Corporate Management Team continued to closely monitor the service to ensure that pressures were minimised.





(a)          note the projected corporate monitoring position reported at 30 September 2020, the remaining pressures identified, the underlying cost drivers of this position and the identified areas of financial risk as reflected in Appendix 1 to the report;


(b)          approve the virements attached as Appendix 2;


(c)          note the progress made in achieving Financial Plan savings in Appendix 3; and


(d)          request the Corporate Management Team to continue to take all possible management action to balance the budget in the current year.


Supporting documents:



Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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