Agenda item

2022-23 Second Quarter Financial Monitoring Report (to September 2022)

Report of the Chief Operating Officer (Section 151 Officer)


The Audit and Procurement Committee considered a report of the Chief Operating Officer (Section 151 Officer), which set out the forecast outturn position for the revenue and capital expenditure and the Council’s treasury management activity as at the end of September 2022.  The headline revenue forecast for 2022/23 was for a net expenditure to be £11.3m over budget.  At the same point in 2021/22, there was a projected overspend of £3.1.


The Committee noted that the report had also been considered by the Cabinet at its meeting held on 13th December 2022.


The Council continued to face budget pressures due to increased volumes and higher costs of placements within Children’s Services and costs incurred due to the previous refuse drivers’ industrial dispute within Streetscene and Regulatory Services.  A range of other smaller but still significant overspends were also being reported in several other services including Legal and Governance Services and Business, Investment and Culture.


As reported at Quarter 1, significant additional costs were also being faced due to inflationary pressures affecting the Council, with the approved local government pay award and costs affecting contracts for energy and social care amongst others.  The in-year and ongoing impact of these inflationary pressures was a serious factor affecting the Council’s ability to manage its budgetary position.


The Council’s capital spending was projected to be £165.8m and included major schemes progressing across the city.  The size of the programme and the nature of the projects within it continued to be fundamental to the Council’s role within the city.  There was limited evidence that inflationary pressures referenced above on capital projects this year and the assumption is that stand-alone projects that were already in-progress would be delivered as planned.  It was more likely that future projects that had not yet started may need to be re-evaluated to determine their deliverability within previously defined financial budgets.


The Council’s services had moved to a business as usual position with activity and impacts arising from the Covid pandemic having reduced significantly. Some pockets of service activity continued to be affected but this was not resulting in a large financial cost.  The Council did not expect to receive any Government support linked to Covid within the 2022/23 financial year. 


The emerging inflationary risks facing the Council and the wider local government sector had renewed the imperative to maintain financial discipline and prioritise the Council’s medium-term financial position.  This would be a key focus of the Council’s activities over the remainder of the year and several key measures were set out in section 5 of the report to help minimise the size of any budgetary overspend.


The Committee noted that, in September 2022, the Council received a £3.2m extension to the nationally distributed Household Support Fund (HSF), a legacy scheme from the previous Covid Winter Grant and the Local Support Grant. The HSF was intended to provide support over October 2022 to March 2023 to Coventry households who were most in need of support with the significantly rising cost of living.  This fund was being distributed in-line with the key aims of the previous HSF schemes, with priority being given to supporting vulnerable households with the costs of food, energy and other related essentials.  The Committee requested further information on the amounts of distributed by either ward or, if that was not available, by constituency area. 


RESOLVED that, the Audit and Procurement Committee note the report, indicate that there were no recommendations to be forwarded to the Cabinet and that the additional information requested in respect of the HSF scheme be forwarded to members of the Committee.

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