From the council papers for this month’s meeting:
“The net forecast position at Quarter 1 on revenue is an estimated pressure of £6.334m on directorate budgets, after mitigating actions of £1.859m have been allowed for. This reduces to £3.793m after the assumed use of the central contingency budget £1.329m, use of Welfare reform reserve (£1m) and an unallocated inflation of £212k.”
What does that mean to the man-on-the-street (who is, after all, paying an awful lot of money for a Chief Executive and a whole fleet of beancounters to manage the budget)? Let’s scroll down:
“Business Support is forecasting an over spend of £691k...”
“…the Community Directorate is forecasting an overspend of £2.805m…. In the main, the net overspend relates to homelessness which is expected to be in the region of £2.5m in 2016-17 due to the combined impact of a shortage of affordable accommodation in London, rapidly increasing rents in the private rented sector and the Government’s
welfare reforms placing increased pressures on household incomes. ” – And nobody actually expected house prices and rents to increase? Really?
“Environment‘s overspend relates to an amber rated MTFS saving associated with the changes of garden and food waste collection system. There is a forecast pressure of £1.4m on this MTFS saving relating to an income shortfall of £0.6m against the original target for garden waste, additional operational costs of £0.8m due to more crews deployed than anticipated as a result of on-going IT issues…” – Wait, so the take-up of the brown bin collection was less than expected? This can only be because the council had no idea at all on who might pay, so seemingly just plucked a figure out of the air. Good financial management, Mr Lockwood.
“The People’s Directorate is forecasting an over spend of £3.079m at Quarter 1. This is after one off planned management actions and use of Children’s Social Care Reserve (£218k) totalling £1.859m” – not even sure what this actually means!
“Adults Directorate is forecast to overspend by £1.831m…”
“As at Quarter 1 the total forecast overspend for the [Children’s Services] Directorate is £3.458m…”
…and it goes on, and on and on.
So what happens when a council goes bankrupt? We’ll have that analysis in a few days time.