Agenda item

Third Quarter Financial, Procurement & Performance Review 2020/21


Keith Pointon – Acting Head of Finance – informed members of the Council’s overall performance and financial position for the period ended 31 December 2020 (3rd Quarter 2020/21).


Detailed analysis was provided in Appendices A (Financial), B (Procurement) and C (Performance) and the position was summarised as follows:-






The Finance headlines for the Third Quarter were:

Performance against Budget

  • At the Third Quarter stage the General Fund projected outturn for 2020/21 was an underspend of £335,180 (included £106,000 draw from Covid earmarked reserve). 

Efficiency Programme

  • At Quarter Three £137,000 in savings had been taken against the 2020/21 general fund efficiency target of £519,000. It was anticipated that there would be a £380,000 shortfall in the year.

Capital Programme

  • The revised Capital Programme budget for 2020/21 was £6.67 million including the carry forward of capital underspends from 2019/20.  The projected outturn for the year was £3.08million; a variance of £3.59million – mostly in respect of programme slippage due to Covid19.

Treasury Management

  • Cash investments held at 31 December 2020 totalled £24 million. The Ascent loan and debenture stood at £19 million;
  • Council borrowing at 31 December 2020 was forecast to total £15 million by the year end (£14m related to the Ascent loan);
  • The Council’s net interest income receipts was projected as a £48,380 surplus above budget.

Revenue Collection

  • 83.03% of Council Tax was collected by 31 December 2020 compared to 83.92% for the same period last year;
  • 80.61% of Business Rates was collected by 31 December 2020 compared with 80.45% for the same period last year;
  • At the end of the Third Quarter debt that was over 60 days old was £71,620 which compared with £70,430 at 31 December 2019.


Appendix A


The Procurement headlines for the Third Quarter were:

·         6 procurement activities were completed;

·         The Procurement forward plan included 49 procurement activities for completion in 2020/21 (either SMDC only or joint);

·         At 31 December 2020, 68% of procurement activity undertaken was on the forward plan and the Council paid 93% of its invoices within 30 days during the year.

Appendix B


The Performance headlines for the Third Quarter were:

·         83% of the key performance indicators on track (47% of which were better than the previous year);

·         The Council received 34 complaints, 113 comments and 72 compliments;

·         Priority Actions - 13 green, 3 completed, 1 red rated, remainder yet to commence.


Appendix C


Members raised queries as follows (Responses in brackets):-


·         With regard to the stated underspend on Electoral Services, at what point would the Council incur any financial penalty if preparations were underway for the forthcoming elections but the elections were deferred? (The election costs for both Police Fire and Crime Commissioner and for County Council elections were covered by those organisations, therefore no loss would be incurred by this Council. Elections staff were now back in their normal posts.)

·         The Covid vaccination process would not be completed by the proposed election date. Should postal votes be offered for the whole district and, if so, how would the cost be covered? (Discussions regarding the elections were ongoing and decisions were needed as soon as possible. It was hoped that an explanatory letter could be enclosed with Council Tax bills offering postal votes. There were also anticipated problems in social distancing during the count process.)

·         What was the stated overspend on Public Conveniences due to? (The contractor had undertaken extra cleaning duties due to Covid requirements.)

·         Was the stated overspend on Leisure covered by grants received from Government? (The majority of grant support received was going to Parkwood Leisure as, during lockdown, they had no source of income. The future position was not clear as Government support was not yet confirmed.)

·         Had Parking Wardens been ‘Furloughed’ due to the much lower level of parking during the pandemic? Could they be re-deployed as Covid Marshalls? (Parking enforcement was provided under contract by Stoke on Trent City Council at a fixed annual charge. Any Furlough arrangements would be a decision for them.)

·         Planning applications were shown to be processed only 1% above target. What was the target? (The targets were 8 weeks (minor) and 13 weeks (major).)

·         Under ‘Corporate Plan Priority Highlights’ a priority was shown as the delivery of a multi agency health & wellbeing centre. The recent Cushman & Wakefield report had said that this should be dismissed. Should this priority now be removed? (An answer was to be issued in writing.)


RESOLVED – That the Third Quarter 2020/21 financial, procurement and performance position be NOTED.


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