Agenda item

Chief Financial Officer Report (Period 7)


Upon invitation of the Chairman, Officers presented the report to the Committee.


Following a query from the Committee on staff retention within Children’s Services, Officers informed Members about the work of the Agency Board to support staff from agency to permanent employment. Members were informed that this remains a challenging area as it relates to individuals’ personal preferences.


In response to a query about maintaining contingencies and reserves, Officers informed the Committee about the council's overarching financial strategy of eradicating the use of one-off funding to balance the budget over the MTFS period.


The Committee noted the data relating to the level of debt and list of top 10 debtors under Table 19 of the report. Members also noted the importance of regularly reviewing this data to ensure that action is being taken in respect of debt owed.


The Committee was informed that this will continue to be closely monitored going forward and that a Debt Board has been established to ensure that debts are paid in a timely manner.


Members requested that under the Debtors section within the next report, further analysis be provided in relation to the top 10 Debtors, including an update on the Barnet CCG debt and the work of the Debt Board.(Action)


Officers informed the Committee that the Barnet CCG debt listed within the table relates to a number of invoices which are due to be resolved and settled. The Chairman encouraged further dialogue between Officers of the LBB and CCG Finance teams.


Members agreed that the Adults & Safeguarding Committee, when considering whether investment in Early Prevention has made a difference to outcomes, request assistance where practicable, from the Financial Performance & Contracts Committee. (Action)


It was noted that additional funding would be made available in year towards Adult Social Care. Members queried the risks associated with the budget for Adults and Communities. Officers noted that estimated forecast include a level of risk and that if mitigating actions are not achieved, this could lead to an increased pressure.


Members were informed about the challenge to positions provided by Service Areas and Budget Holders in order for reporting to be as accurate as possible.


In relation to CSG and Council Managed Budgets, Members asked for an update on the improvement work – Officers briefed the Committee about improvements to budget management and monitoring processes which has resulted in a much better understanding of current position and therefore enhanced reporting.


It was agreed that Officers provide data to the Chairman and Councillor Kathy Levine on the collective experience from other Local Authorities on the impact of Universal Credit towards Housing and Homelessness. (Action)


Members expressed concerns over the level of deficit in respect of the Dedicated Schools Grant balance and noted the new requirement for Local Authorities to report on how they will bring any deficit position back in line if the deficit is more than 1% of total DSG which for Barnet equates to £2m. Officers noted the concerns raised.


It was RESOLVED that:


1.    The Committee noted the 2018/19 revenue forecast outturn, as detailed in Table 1 and in Appendix A;

2.    The Committee noted the savings anticipated to be delivered in 2018/19, as detailed in Table 5;

3.    The Committee noted the level of reserves and balances as detailed in Tables 9 and 10;

4.    The Committee noted the 2018/19 capital forecast outturn, as detailed in Table 6 and in Appendix B;

5.    The Committee noted the treasury position outlined in section 2.4.

6.    The Committee noted the debtors position outlined in section 2.5.

7.    The Committee noted the strategic financial matters outlined in section 3.


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