(NOTE: A copy of the report that was considered by the Strategy and Resources Committee on 4 July 2022 is attached).
Council considered the Performance and Financial Management report for Quarter 4 of 2021/22 to the Strategy and Resources Committee on 4 July 2022 (circulated previously).
The Committee considered a report by the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive (circulated previously) regarding the Performance and Financial Management for Quarter 4 of 2021/22.
The Accountancy Services Manager highlighted the following:
· The revenue budget for 2021/22 was approved at Council on 24th February 2021 at £13,639,000.
· As at 31 March 2022 it was pleasing to report that the final out turn position was a budget surplus of £604,000 which was an overall movement of £515,000 from the last forecast at quarter 3. The breakdown showing the movements was shown in Appendix A – Variations in the Revenue Budget.
· The original budget for 2021/22 included a forecast to achieve £225,000 worth of salary vacancy savings. This was exceeded by £99,000 giving an overall actual saving of £324,000.
· Included within the approved budget the Council factored in a government grant in relation to Covid-19 pressures of £536,710 and also budgeted for £375,000 of additional costs and reduced income, these were already incorporated into Appendix A along with the latest forecast for each service area.
· The above grant of £536,710 was approved and received and the Council was also anticipating £80,000 re-imbursement for Q1 loss of Sales, Fees and charges, from the continued Government 75% income reimbursement scheme, this had now been revised down to £64,000 and the change incorporated into Appendix A.
· At the end of 2020/21 the Council placed £375,000 into a Covid Budget management reserve to help mitigate any further adverse variances due to the pandemic in 2021/22, this future protection was still available if required.
· Members approved in June 2021 to proceed with the acquisition of Green Lanes Shopping Centre; which the Council completed the purchase in November 2021. The purchase of Green Lanes Shopping Centre was a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire this strategic asset and complement other significant regeneration improvements being delivered within the Barnstaple town centre through the Future High Streets project. The financial modelling demonstrated that revenue income generated from the centre would cover both the repayment of the loan and asset management costs and would return a contribution to the Council which could be used towards mitigating future risks on income volatility, investment back into the centre and the overarching council budget.
· The financial outturn for the Centre had produced a net return (income less costs) for the 2021/22 year of (£243,600) due to minimal borrowing costs for last financial year as these would start in 2022/23. This was a positive return for the Council for the four and half months ownership in the 2021/22 year. The net return to the Council of (£243,600); of this it is proposed to place £75,000 into an earmarked reserve to protect the council budget and mitigate against any future income volatility that could materialise as the Council moved forwards with the centre and a further £168,600 into an earmarked reserve to fund future asset management initiatives to promote, market and maximise the occupancy of the Centre over the next few years, which ... view the full minutes text for item 29