Agenda item

Transformation Strategy and Financial Plan 2019 - 2029

The Strategic Leads covering these two key documents will present the changes made to deliver funding and innovative change for the medium term.  The information on the financial challenges faced will assist the committee in preparing for debate on the next draft budget for 2019/20.


The Chairman welcomed the Strategic Lead Transformation and Organisational Development, the Strategic Lead Finance, and the Portfolio Holder Finance to the meeting.


The Transformation Strategy approach has been to maintain a viable workforce, moving away from traditional approaches to budget reductions, to innovation and generation of income.  The refresh of the strategy introduced two changes to the strategic themes of the approach, now including digital by design and fit for purpose. Each of the seven themes were explained to the committee, with some illustrative examples.


The transformation strategy has delivered the framework for a debate on efficiency costs and increasing income, which is now embedded in the culture of officers.  It was key now to continue to deliver messages to residents on how the Council is funded in this way.


The Strategic Lead – Finance highlighted from his report the following key areas:

·           The current position showed a shortfall of £1,952,088 for 2020/21.  This was based on a no growth budget, with no additional requests;

·           Assumption that the £5 increase in council tax will remain in place for 2019/20 with an inflation increase applied for future years;

·           Business rate income has been assumed under the existing scheme of 50% retention;

·           New Homes Bonus (NHB) has been maintained at a level of £1.5m.  The scheme is expected to continue for 2019/20, with an estimated income of £3.6m in total, with the balance being used for capital projects.


The committee were taken through the Medium Term Financial Plan in detail, and how the innovations brought through the Transformation Strategy had helped over previous years, and continued to deliver for future years, to provide additional income and savings.  There was still further work to be undertaken to deliver enough to produce a balanced budget for future years.


In discussing the MTFP and the projects set out in the Transformation Strategy Monitor, the committee raised the following issues:

·           Clarification on the decrease and cease of the rate support grant – Members were reminded of the three year settlement, which ends in 2019/20;

·           Concern raised by Councillor Allen on the staffing levels for economic development being reduced when there was a demand to increase those skill sets to help deliver more economic development, as well as a need to increase commercial skills as the Council looks to increase income from commercial assets.  The Strategic Lead Finance confirmed that the savings identified at an operational level with posts did not affect the objectives of seeking efficiencies.  The agreed additional resource to help deliver economic development previously was still retained in the draft budget for 2019/20.  The Strategic Lead Transformation and Organisational Development outlined the vacancy management process currently in place, and the work already underway in examining the workforce as a whole.  Once the new Councils priorities were known after the May election, a report would come forward with recommendation on changes to the workforce for delivering those priorities;

·           Care in monitoring the details of expenditure as well as the larger budgets – the Strategic Lead Finance assured the committee that all detail is scrutinised, and that full detail is published in the Budget Book on each service;

·           Street trading licence income changes, now confirmed by the Chairman of Licensing and Enforcement Committee as back in place and looking to increase for future years, following a suspension of charges whilst a number of issues were resolved;

·           The “Ocean” in response to a question was clarified as a separate company from the Council and therefore any loss would be the liability of LED;

·           Spend for “fit for purpose” was an operational spend to cover redundancy costs that would bring about savings in future years;

·           Important to implement the strategy to help protect front line services.


The Vice Chairman welcomed the approach of the Transformation Strategy, in looking to continue to improve efficiencies of the Council, including increasing the skills matrix of staff so that they had the flexibility to meet demands as they changed over coming years.


The Chairman thanked the Strategic Leads for their clarity on explaining the financial pressures on the authority.



To approve the Transformation Strategy and Financial Plan 2019 – 2029 and note the Overview Committee’s specific support for the Transformation Strategy looking to protect the delivery of front line services.



To receive an update at a future meeting with an outline of plans for delivering a “fit for purpose” structure for the Council.

Supporting documents: