Updated Financial Strategy and Budget Reports 2020/21
- Meeting of Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 5th February, 2020 2.00 pm (Item 10.)
Report of The Chief Executive and the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer
This report provides an update on the Council’s overall financial position and sets out the next steps in the budget process, including scrutiny of the budget proposals and budget report by this Committee.
Each Scrutiny Committee will receive a budget report aligned to its remit, showing the main changes proposed to delivery and funding. The services to be considered by each scrutiny committee are shown at table five. The report also outlines the proposals for how the Council could deliver a balanced budget for 2020/21, the details of which will be discussed at the relevant scrutiny committees.
The Committee considered a report of the Chief Executive and the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer that provided an update on the Council’s overall financial position and set out the next steps in the budget process, including scrutiny of the budget proposals and budget report by this Committee.
In conjunction to the above, the Committee also considered the Neighbourhoods Directorate Budget Report 2020/21 that provided a further updated Neighbourhoods medium term financial plan, and budget proposals for 2020/21. The report had been updated in order to reflect feedback from the January round of scrutiny meetings on the original draft proposals.
The Committee also considered the updated Homelessness Budget 2020/21 report that had been produced to reflect feedback from Members at their meeting of 8 January 2020, the outcome of the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement and other government funding notifications. It further set out the Directorate’s budget proposals and strategy for 2020/21.
The proposed 2020/21 budget would reflect the fact the Council had declared a climate emergency by making carbon reduction a key consideration in the Council’s planning and budget proposals.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· Information was sought on the charging policy and car parks;
· Information was sought on how the revenue collected from bus lane fines was allocated;
· Was there any intention to continue co-locating staff from the Housing Benefit Team within the Homelessness Team to assist in maximising residents’ entitlement to Housing Benefit;
· A holistic approach was required between Children’s’ Services and the Homelessness Department to adequately fund transport arrangements to enable families and their children to continue to attend their school when placed out of area in temporary accommodation; and
· The funding arrangements from central government provided to support homeless people were not consistent and were often short term which could result in services being vulnerable.
Officers responded by advising that information on the charging policy and car parks would be provided following this meeting to Members and the revenue from bus lane fines was ring fenced.
The Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources acknowledged the comment regarding adequately funding transport arrangements to enable families and their children to continue to attend their school when placed out of area in temporary accommodation. He stated that he would address this with officers, the Executive Member for Children and Schools and the Deputy Leader with responsibility for homelessness.
The Strategic Lead, Homelessness stated that they continued to lobby government for adequate, long term funding to support homeless people and she confirmed that the strategic vision was to use temporary accommodation within the city where possible, rather than out of area. Officers commented that the specific budget cost of temporary accommodation, whether in Manchester or out of area was approximately the same; however, they acknowledged a comment from a Member that there were additional budget costs associated with out of area placements, such as travel to school as discussed.
The Chair stated that she welcomed the work of the homelessness team to support some of the most vulnerable people across the city. She stated that the response to the issue of homelessness should be system wide, including health partners, children’s and adults’ services and population health. She further supported services and teams co-locating to support homeless families, such as early years’ services.
The Committee recommend that their comments be submitted for consideration by the Executive at their meeting of 12 February 2020.
- Budget Overview Report, item 10. PDF 300 KB
- NeighbourhoodsBudgetReport, item 10. PDF 317 KB
- Homelessness Budget Report 2020-2021, item 10. PDF 256 KB