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Agenda item

Budget Setting and Consultation Process for 2020/21

Report of the Executive Director, Resources



The Committee received a report of the Executive Director of Resources providing an update on the context and background information relating to the financial position for the Council as it approaches setting its Revenue Budget for 2020/21, and also outlining the suggested process for consultation on the budget proposals.




In attendance for this item were Eugene Walker (Executive Director of Resources), Dave Phillips (Head of Strategic Finance) and James Henderson (Director of Policy, Performance and Communications).




Members of the Committee raised questions, and the following responses were provided:-




·             There was a certain level of confusion in terms of future budget proposals, given the current political climate.  Local authorities approached consultation on their budget-setting proposals in different ways, with Birmingham and Newcastle having undertaken some interesting work in this area.  The Local Government Association had recently provided new guidance on budget consultation. 




·             There was a need to think creatively in terms of how the Council consulted with residents in different areas of the City on the budget proposals.  There was also a need to ensure that residents both received, and understood, all relevant information regarding the Council’s budget.  It had been acknowledged, given its complexity, that this was not always easy, and more work was required in terms of looking at suitable consultation mechanisms. 




·             Following the recent announcement from Government, as part of the Local Government Spending Review, the current level of savings to be identified totalled £23 million. 




·             There were still plans, as part of the budget-setting process, to use £35 million from the Council’s reserves over the next four years, as originally forecast.  The recent Government announcements had reduced the upward pressure on this reserve usage, which would have to be mitigated by further spending reductions.




RESOLVED: That the Committee:-




(a)      notes the information contained in the report now submitted, the comments now made and the responses to the questions raised;




(b)      thanks Eugene Walker, Dave Phillips and James Henderson for attending the meeting, and responding to the questions raised;




(c)      approves the approach being undertaken in respect of the budget-setting and consultation process for 2020/21, as set out in the report; and




(d)      requests that, as part of the consultation, officers talk to the Equality Hubs, Housing Forums (specifically regarding the Housing Revenue Account), the Youth Council and the Youth Parliament.


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