Decision details

Money Matters 2023/24 Position - Quarter 3

Decision Maker: Scrutiny Management Board

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: No

Purpose:

A copy of the Money Matters 2023/24 Position – Quarter 3 report as presented to Cabinet at its meeting held on 8 February 2024 is set out at Annex 'A'.

Decisions:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Mike Goulthorp, Lead Member for Finance and Resources, Neil Kissock, Director of Finance and Kate Lee, Head of Service Financial Management.

 

The Board was presented with key highlights from the Money Matters 2023/24 Position – Quarter 3 report provided to Cabinet at its meeting held on 8 February 2024.

 

It was highlighted that a draft outturn position would be realised by the end of April 2024. There was no indication to expect any significant change in the position reported at quarter 3 in terms of the £5m overspend.

 

Members were invited to ask questions and a summary of the discussion is outlined below:

 

·  With regards to the £2.38 million underspend for Highways as set out on page 12 of Appendix A, the underspend was predominantly in relation to the over-recovery of income from utility companies and housing developers. Additionally, a significant overspend on the Public and Integrated Transport Budget relating to SEND home to school transport had taken place and was being partly offset from the Highways budget. The Lead Member agreed to provide an update on the nature of the Highways underspend.

·  It was clarified that pothole repairs was funded through the Capital Programme and was separate to the revenue position.

·  It was reported that the budget as set for 2024/25 included a significant amount of growth to meet the increased costs in SEND home to school transport. It was highlighted that future quarterly Money Matters reports would provide an update on the trajectory of this element which the Board would also receive. Additionally, it was noted that the Money Matters 2024-25 quarter 1 report up to the end of June 2024 would be provided to Cabinet in September 2024. If the increase in spend continued, then further explanation could be provided to the Board at a future meeting.

·  Members were advised that additional SEND units were in the process of being opened for SEND pupils to increase capacity across schools. Steps had already been taken to reduce the need for taxi provision and that Lancashire County Council was expanding its own fleet of minibuses, with the first set of vehicles expected to be in place by May 2024. This would reduce third party costs considerably.

·  Around 50 vehicles would be added to the county council's fleet. These new vehicles would not require a D1 101 Exemption due to the vehicles being slightly smaller in size meaning that recruitment would hopefully be easier. It was expected that this would also reduce the number of passenger assistants required to transport SEND pupils. Lancashire County Council had also been approached by other Councils that were interested in adopting this in-house fleet model.

·  Around £7.2m in funding allocated from central government to spend on highways matters previously reserved for HS2, had already been allocated with some of this going to the county council's Local Deterioration Fund. Further funding was awaited, but it was not known when this would be received. In regard to the £494m pot from HS2 funding, the Board was informed that this was for transport projects and guidance from national government was awaited on how to utilise this money before it could be allocated to specific transport projects.

 

Resolved: That the report be considered.

Corporate Priorities : Delivering better services;

Divisions Affected: (All Divisions);

Contact: Gary Halsall Email: gary.halsall@lancashire.gov.uk Tel: (01772) 536989.

Report author: Gary Halsall

Date of decision: 16/04/2024

Decided at meeting: 16/04/2024 - Scrutiny Management Board

Accompanying Documents: