Budget Monitoring and Control
The Council has a proven track record in prudently managing and controlling spending against its approved budget.
Significant savings have been achieved in recent years which has enabled the Council to build its balances and reserves and also to freeze the town council tax for four years between 2010 and 2013 and again in 2021/22.
This section of the website includes links to detailed reports on the Council’s actual financial position and the monitoring of actual expenditure and income during the year against the Council’s approved Revenue and Capital Budget.
These reports provide detailed information on actual expenditure and income against the approved budget, the savings that have been achieved, capital investment that has been made, as well as details of the Council’s Balances and Reserves, outstanding loans and investments.
These reports are presented to Council at the end of each quarter during the financial year i.e. 30th June, 30th September and 31st December and include a projection of ‘expected outturn’. This is basically an estimate of what the financial position is likely to be at the end of the year.
The final year-end figures are then reported as soon as possible following the end of the Council’s financial year on 31st March.
2021/22 Financial Year (Current Year)
Links to a report setting out the actual financial position on the Council’s 2021/22 Revenue and Capital Budgets for the six months up to 30th September 2021, along with a forecast of the expected year-end outturn position are set out below. This report quantifies the income losses, additional costs and savings resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic and how these have impacted upon the Council’s Revenue Budget and overall financial position.
The report is a positive one considering the extraordinary situation the Council continues to find itself in this year.
Despite some unavoidable financial losses caused by the pandemic, particularly in relation to lost income at the sports complex, the Council is on course to deliver a saving on its Revenue Budget this year in the region of £105,000.
The main reasons behind this saving are set out on the first page of the report.
A large part of this saving has come about as a result of the unfortunate cancellation of a number of the Council’s programme of community events this year.
The Council has saved a further £79,000 from the fact that it has a contingency sum and a planned top up to reserves built into its Revenue Budget.
Reasons for the remaining savings include unfilled staff vacancies, claims for sports complex staff costs under the Government Job Retention Scheme, significantly higher than budgeted pre-school income from high attendance numbers, and an increase in golf shop sales.
The Revenue Budget savings will be transferred to general balances and earmarked capital reserves at the end of the year enabling those balances and reserves to be replenished.
This top-up of earmarked reserves will be welcome, as the the Medium-Term Financial Plan continues to forecast significant capital investment commitments and diminishing balances and reserves over the medium to longer-term.
The 2021/22 Capital Programme currently stands at £523,800, having been increased to account for the carry forward of a large number of projects from the previous financial year.
Many of the projects carried forward were as a result of delayed projects as a consequence of the pandemic.
The expected outturn forecast on the 2021/22 Capital Programme Budget indicates that actual final spending for the year will be under budget at around £398,000 (after taking into account externally funded projects). As a result, it is likely that a £112,500 will need to be carried forward to next year.
After accounting for the forecast Revenue Budget saving and financing of the Capital Budget, Council balances and reserves would reduce by around £385,500 over the course of the year from £1.608 million to £1.222 million.
This is considered to be a healthy level of balances, particularly bearing in mind the challenges faced as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
This healthy sate of the Council finances is a significant achievement in these unprecedented times and a positive endorsement of the prudent management and planning of the Council’s finances over a long period of time.
The strong financial position has also helped the Council to set a balanced 2022/23 Draft Revenue Budget that maintains existing services, facilities and events next year, whilst delivering a freeze in the Town Council Tax.
2020/21 Financial Year (Last Year)
A report setting out the final year-end outturn position on the Council’s 2020/21 Revenue and Capital Budgets for the year ended 31st March 2020 is attached below:-
This report confirms that the Council’s finances remain healthy and that the Council ended the year in a stronger financial position than it started it in.
There was a saving on the Revenue Budget last year of £412,785 which represents 24% of the Council Precept.
The main reasons for the savings was the unfortunate cancellation of most of the Council’s Community events programme, significant savings in staffing costs from unfilled staff vacancies, very limited overtime and claims to cover sports and golf complex staff costs under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, much lower than usual spending during lockdown periods, significantly higher than budgeted pre-school funding and a substantial increase in golf green fee takings.
However, savings in running costs have been delivered across nearly all services and this is credit to the prudent financial management that is exercised by service managers and overseen by Members of the Council.
This better than expected Revenue Budget surplus is very welcome, as it comes at a time when the Coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions are having a impact on Council services and resulting in lost revenue in some service areas in the early part of the new financial year, and at a time when the Council’s Medium-Term Financial Plan is forecasting significant capital investment commitments and diminishing reserves over the longer term.
In terms of the Council’s Capital Programme Budget, some progress was made with projects during 2020/21.
Final spending totalled £99,375 and this investment was funded from the Council’s earmarked capital reserves which have been built up for this purpose.
Actual capital investment was significantly down on budget and this was because many of the projects included in the 2020/21 Capital Programme Budget were ‘provisional’ sums and did not go ahead, in addition to this many projects were delayed as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic.
After accounting for the Revenue Budget saving and the financing of the Capital Budget, there was a net saving on the 2020/21 Revenue and Capital Budget and this was transferred to the Council’s balances and reserves.
As a result, the Council’s Balances and Reserves increased over the course of the year by nearly £340,600 to stand at £1.608 million.
This level of balances is around £575,000 better than forecast in the Council’s current Medium-Term Financial Plan and this has strengthened the Council’s year-end financial position.
This positive financial situation is partly as a result of the ongoing savings being achieved on the Revenue Budget and Capital Budget but mainly due to one off savings as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Council’s strong financial position is an endorsement of the actions taken by the Council to boost the contribution to capital reserves in the Revenue Budget, which has mitigated the risks identified in the Medium-Term Financial Plan in relation to diminishing balances.
This strong financial position will be very important moving forward, as we come out of the Coronavirus pandemic, and as the Council deals with the longer-term challenges highlighted in the Medium-Term Financial Plan, including the likelihood of cuts to the Council Tax Support Grant funding and ongoing pressure on staffing costs linked to increases in the National Living Wage.
The update of the Council’s Medium-Term Financial Plan assesses the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and developed a financial strategy for the five-year period 2021/22 to 2025/26, highlighting how the Council’s Revenue and Capital Budget may need to change to respond to the challenges that lie ahead.
Previous Years’ Financial Position Reports
The year-end budget position report and detailed figures for previous years can be viewed via the links below:-