Manchester City Council

Agenda item

Agenda item

Updated Financial Strategy and Directorate Business Plans 2019-20

Report of the Chief Executive and City Treasurer

 

This report provides an update on the Council’s financial position and sets out next steps in the budget process, including scrutiny of the draft budget proposals and Directorate Business Plan reports by this Committee.

 

Minutes:

Further to item CYP/18/63, the Committee received a report of the Chief Executive and City Treasurer which provided an update on the Council’s financial position and set out the next steps in the budget process, including scrutiny of the draft budget proposals and Directorate Business Plan reports by the Committee.

 

The Committee also received a report of the Strategic Director for Children’s and Education Services which set out in broad terms the directorate’s key priorities, key activities and revenue and capital strategy for 2019-20; within the context of the Directorate Business Plan for the period 2017-20 and proposed savings. In addition, the report set out both the progress made to date in delivering identified savings and focus for the final year of the three-year plan; refreshing the Directorate’s Business Plan for 2018-20 in the context of changing resources, challenges and opportunities.

 

The Committee also received a report of the Director of Education which provided a summary of the confirmed Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) grant allocation from the 2019-20 settlement announced on the 16 December 2018 and the budget allocation across individual school budgets (ISB) and Council retained schools budget (RSB) which was reported to Schools Forum on 14 January 2019.  

 

The Committee was asked to consider and make recommendations to the Executive on the budget proposals which were within its remit and to comment on the Directorate Business Plans which have been designed to ensure the Council invested in the services that were valued by its residents, achieving both high quality services and outcomes for residents as well as a balanced budget.

 

The Executive Member for Children’s Services, the Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources and the Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure outlined the context of the reports, in particular the financial challenges the Council was facing.  The Strategic Director for Children’s and Education Services and the Head of Finance provided Members with an overview of the reports.

 

Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:

 

·         To welcome the additional funding for Children’s Services and to note the importance of budget saving targets being realistic;

·         How inclusion of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) could be improved;

·         To request information on how school funding per pupil had changed in recent years;

·         That some schools had a significant underspend on their budgets, which could be utilised elsewhere; and

·         To thank Executive Members and officers for their hard work in developing the draft budget proposals and business plans in difficult financial circumstances.

 

The Strategic Director for Children’s and Education Services reported that there was an increased demand for school places for children with SEND and drew Members’ attention to the work taking place to increase the number of places in special schools and alternative provision; however, he reported that the aim was that children with SEND be integrated into mainstream schools wherever possible.  The Head of Finance reported that, while school funding had increased, the number of pupils had also risen.  She informed Members that she would provide details of school funding per pupil in recent years.

 

The Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure reported that the Council had been working with schools which had a significant underspend on developing their plans for these funds and that, in some cases, schools had agreed to give the funds to the Council to re-allocate it to where it was needed.

 

Decisions

 

The Committee:-

 

1.            Supports the draft budget proposals and the Children and Education Services Business Plan.

 

2.            Supports the proposals set out in the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) report, while noting that more funding was needed for the DSG, the High Needs Block and the Early Years Block and that Members would continue to lobby and challenge the government on this.

 

3.            Asks the Head of Finance to provide details of school funding per pupil in recent years.

Supporting documents: