Agenda item

Quarter 1 Budget and Performance Report

To review performance for Quarter 1 2020/21 and the budget forecast.


The cabinet member finance and corporate services introduced the report. She highlighted that the period covered ran to the end of June and that the situation had moved on since then. The impact of the coronavirus epidemic was clearly shown in relation to increased cost pressures and lost income.


Key points of the report included:

·         Substantial shifts in priorities to tackle the impact of the coronavirus;

·         A net projected overspend of just £4m was credible and creditable in the circumstances;

·         The council was grateful for the support received from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government;

·         The format had been adjusted to match that of the county plan;

·         New graphics and data had been introduced which it was hoped would provide useful extra information.


The head of corporate performance set out further detail including that:

  • Details of the revenue position were set out in appendix 1 with most of the overspends and shortfalls in income due to COVID-19;
  • The capital budget was forecasting an 89% capital spend for the year, again a large proportion of the underspend was due to the virus;
  • All savings for 2020/21 had been achieved or were in the process of being delivered;
  • The sections were themed to the county plan and highlighted progress on key pieces of work within each.


In discussion of the report cabinet members noted that the forthcoming delivery plan would add points to future performance reports, particularly in relation to the environment. Officers were commended for their efforts in responding to the coronavirus epidemic and partners such as schools were also recognised.


Group leaders and representatives were invited to give the views and queries of their respective groups. The challenges of COVID-19 and impact on the council’s finances were recognised. It was also noted that:

·         In response to a query the S151 officer confirmed he was satisfied that the council had sufficient reserves to continue with its business and noted that government grants were being received on a regular basis which made the financial situation quite fluid;

·         It was alarming that all the planned savings for 2021/22 were currently rated amber or red;

·         Capital allocations to address phosphate levels in the county’s rivers were welcomed;

·         The roll out of support packages during the coronavirus epidemic was commended;

·         The council should not spend money on ideas or projects the council could not now afford during the epidemic;

·         Additional measures on the environment would be welcomed.


The leader of the council noted the impact of the coronavirus and commended the way officers of the council had responded. He reported that feedback from businesses in his ward had been very positive in the way that grants had been rolled out. Herefordshire had relatively low average income levels and it was encouraging to see that the government was aware of the support needed.


It was agreed that:

(a)          Cabinet reviewed performance and financial outturn for quarter 1 2020/21, as set out in appendices 1 - 9, and did not identify any additional actions to be considered to achieve future improvement.

The meeting adjourned from 4:21pm to 4:30pm.

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