1 PURPOSE AND SUMMARY 1.1 This report seeks approval to consult on the draft 2015/ /20 Revenue Financial Plan.

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1 ITEM NO. 11(a) 2015/1 201/20 REVENUE FINANCIAL PLAN Report by the Chief Financial Officer SCOTTISH BORDERS COUNCIL 18 December PURPOSE AND SUMMARY 1.1 This report seeks approval to consult on the draft 2015/1 201/20 Revenue Financial Plan. 1.2 Members and senior officers have engaged over the last 2 years in a medium term revenue budget process based on a 5 year cycle in which a more strategic approach to the financial planning process has been adopted to meet the financial challenges facing the Council. The Revenue Financial Plan has been used as the starting point to roll forward the plan or a third time. 1.3 The Corporate Management Team and the Administration Budget working Group have reviewed and updated the assumptions used to set the budget around pay and price inflation, other manpower costs including, pension changes, auto enrolment, increments and future changes anticipated to the national insurance system as well as demographic and other departmental pressures. These pressures have been offset by the full year effects of savings which commenced in 2014/15, savings proposed to start in 2015/1 and proposals which will be delivered in future years as well as additional funding drawn down from reserves. 1.4 The scale of the financial challenge facing the Council next year and beyond means that the robust, proactive approach to the delivery of efficiency savings evidenced in previous years will continue to be required to balance the budget and protect services in key priority areas. Members will be asked to approve a firm budget for 2015/1 and an indicative budget for the remaining 4 years of the plan. 2 RECOMMENDATIONS 2.1 It is recommended that Council a) Notes the five year plan and the amount of resources available in appendix 1 and proceeds to consider the Administration s draft revenue proposals for consultation. Council 18 December

2 3 BACKGROUND 3.1 The public sector continues to face significant funding constraints as the Scottish Government, in partnership with Local Authorities, continues to freeze Council tax for an eighth year. Overall the resources available to the council via the Local Government Finance Settlement are anticipated to reduce by around 1% over the next 5 years in cash terms. 3.2 The continuing challenges facing the UK public sector over the next 5-10 years are very considerable and can be summarised as: - the need to reduce the cost of public services to the UK taxpayer - rising expectations over the level and quality of public services, - further moves a move towards online services as a primary access channel for many people accessing public services and a presumption of "digital by design", - demographic pressures particularly associated with, but not restricted to, older peoples services - delivery of structural reforms in local authority and NHS services following the publication of the Public Bodies Joint working Act 2014? - the ongoing impact welfare reform - the reform of public sector pensions in 2015 to respond to the Hutton review and address long term concerns over affordability - the ongoing challenge of inflation on hard pressed budgets - publication of the Smith Commission 3.3 At a local level these factors are already impacting significantly upon Scottish Borders Council. The unprecedented pace of change require the Council to continue to :- - Modernise its operational structure and service delivery model, - improve flexibility and responsiveness to change, - focus its efforts on corporate transformation to deliver significant efficiencies and improve service quality, - align service and financial planning more effectively and - adopt a strategic, longer term approach to the budget. 4 FINANCIAL PLANNING PROCESS 4.1 The Council continues to adopt a corporate approach to address the financial and service challenges facing the organisation. 2015/1 will be the third year of the current 5 year plan and the External Auditors report on the 2013/14 accounts indicated that the council was developing a reputation for delivery service efficiencies. The space afforded by the adoption of a medium term planning timeframe via the 5 year plan recognises the time required to deliver major corporate change programmes effectively so that they improve services and wherever possible save money. 4.2 In order to ensure the continued adoption of a strategic approach members have previously agreed to focus on the delivery of a major programme of transformational change required to balance the Financial Plan. Council 18 December

3 4.3 Following a review of the plan agreed for additional pressures have arisen from increasing Out of Area placement costs in the Children & Young People service, inflationary increases as well as the continuing pressures from the reintroduction of incremental pay progression from November 2013 and assumptions over future pay awards. 4.4 In order to support the longer term financial plan CMT adopted the following process: - A reviewed of the assumptions made within the Financial Plan for both pressures and savings - Departments continued to monitor the benefits being realised by their programme of transformation and identified new project savings to meet the budget gap - Further savings have been identified that can support the Financial Plan which can be implemented in the shorter term - External fees & charges were reviewed as part of the financial planning process to maximise income whilst ensuring all charges are fair, equitable and consistent with approved policy. - CMT have worked with members of Admin budget working group to formulate the Administration proposals for the roll forward of the revenue budget to 2015/1 which are included elsewhere on the council agenda YEAR FINANCIAL PLAN Year Financial Model 2015/1 201/20 The Council approved a five year Financial Plan on the February 2014 which quantified the financial challenges facing the organisation and approved 24.m of savings to meet the resultant annual gap between income and expenditure. This is the starting position for the construction of the new five year plan covering the period 2015/1 201/20. A review of pressures, available funding and savings has been carried out and is highlighted in the report. 5.2 PRESSURES Pay Award Provision The model makes provision for pay awards for all staff including teachers of 1% in 2015/1 and thereafter assumes a 1.5% increase for the remaining 4 years. 5.3 Non staffing inflation The Financial Plan makes significant provision of 4.m for a range of inflationary pressures including those derived from existing strategic contracts or from inflationary pressures in key commodity items for example energy costs, vehicles fuel and key services purchased from the private and third sectors. 5.4 Departmental / Demographic Pressures The Council has reviewed the assumptions made for departmental and demographic pressures impacting upon Council services over the next 5 years. Further pressure is forecast above that set out in last year s Financial Plan with revised assumptions of increasing numbers of vulnerable children many of whom have complex social, emotional, behavioural and medical needs. Provision has been made for departmental pressures of 8.m over the next 5 years. Council 18 December

4 5.5 Local Government Finance Settlement The Financial Plan has been prepared in advance of the Local Government Finance Settlement. At present firm figures are only available for 2015/1. Any changes arising from the confirmed settlement letter expected on the 11 December i.e. after council papers will be published. Any additional information will be provided verbally at Council on the 18 December will be reflected in the final report to Council on 12 February Council Tax The Council Tax has now been frozen since 2007/08. The Financial Plan assumes this freeze will continue which means Council Tax has now been frozen for eight consecutive years. Increases in the council tax product are assumed to deliver additional income over the 5 year plan; however, this additional income is projected to be derived solely from new housing and the band D equivalent rate is assumed to remain frozen at the 2007/08 level of 1,084. Council tax levels assumed in the financial model in the next two years are shown in table 1 below. Table 1 Council Tax 2015/ / Council Tax 51,47 51, Total Funding Available In order to support the delivery of the Council s programme of transformation funding has been identified in addition to General Revenue Support Grant (RSG), Non-domestic rates and Council Tax as follows: Resources provided for implementation of the Children s Bill of in 2015/1 rising to 1.3 per annum thereafter, A contribution from Reserves of 0.73 over 2015/1 to 2017/18, Use of earmarked balances of 0.50m over 2015/1 and 201/17 to support the implementation of an Outreach team in the Children & Young People s service to deliver longer term reductions in the costs of out of area placements, A review of pay award provision has resulted in a planned adjustment to resources between 2015/1 and 201/17. Table 2 Total Funding 2015/ 201/1 2017/ 2018/ 201/ Total Revenue Support Grant 15, 73 15,7 3 14,8 8 14,0 3 14, ,34 0 Children s Bill 1,153 1,3 1,3 1,3 1,3,17 funding Non Domestic Rates 34,84 34,84 34,84 34,84 34,84 174,24 5 Reserves Ring-fenced reserves Pay award (1,277 1, adjustment ) Council Tax 51,47 51,87 52,37 52,87 53,37 21,8 0 Total 252, ,02 253, , , 54 1,28, 828 Council 18 December

5 5.8 Savings Proposals A review of all the savings proposals included in the Financial Plan approved on the February 2014 has been carried out and updated to reflect more robust information as the Corporate Transformation programme develops. To meet the new pressures in the Financial Plan and support the delivery of the transformation programme new savings have been identified. 5. Communications The Council will again engage in an extensive process of budget consultation as part of the 2015/1 budget process. A detailed communication plan has been prepared with the corporate communications team and agreed by CMT and the Council Administration. As in previous years consultation will be undertaken using an on-line budget simulator tool accessed via the Council s website and through a series of face to face meetings with staff, unions, community planning partners, community councils and the wider Borders population. The feedback gathered will be considered as the budget process develops and will be reported to members with the budget papers in February IMPLICATIONS.1 Financial There are no costs attached to any of the recommendations contained in this report its content being concerned with the construction of the council s financial plans..2 Risk and Mitigations (a) The main risks facing the council in setting its Financial Plan are: The non delivery of savings required by the Financial Plan Continually increasing inflation Unforeseen pressures e.g. pension costs. A final Local Government financial settlement which varies from the indicative settlement previously provided Overestimates of funding to be provided as a result of new statutory burdens Increasing demand for services Demographic pressures not included in the Financial Plan Delays in the delivery of the transformation savings or a decision to cancel parts of the programme without identifying alternative savings The budget is being developed against the backdrop of ongoing negotiations re the current freeze in teacher numbers between COSLA and the Scottish Government and the outcome of these discussions could have an impact on the overall shape of the final 2015/1 budget. These risks will be managed through the monitoring of the corporate transformation programme on a quarterly basis and the monthly budget monitoring in 2015/1 to ensure that where possible, departments take corrective action and any significant permanent impacts are factored into ongoing financial planning discussions and iterative resource allocations. Council 18 December

6 .3 Equalities An Equalities Impact Assessment will be carried out on all budget proposals with assessment for corporate transformation proposals being brought forward as part of Council reports as they are developed for consideration by elected members..4 Acting Sustainably There are no economic, social or environmental effects from the proposal in this report. The budget process itself will seek to ensure sustainability sits at the core of Council s decision making with regard to the budget. The development of a 5 year rather than an annual plan should assist considerably in this regard..5 Carbon Management There is no impact on the Council s carbon emissions. 7 CONSULTATION 7.1 Corporate Management Team has been involved in and agreed the compilation of the revenue financial plan. 2.2 The Monitoring Officer, the Chief Legal Officer, the Service Director Strategy and Policy, the Chief Officer Audit & Risk, the Chief Officer HR, and the Clerk to the Council are being consulted and any comments received will be reflected in the report. Approved by David Robertson Chief Financial Officer Signature.. Author(s) Name Debbie Collins Suzy Douglas Designation and Contact Number Financial Services Manager Finance Business Partner Background Papers: Previous Minute Reference: Note You can get this document on tape, in Braille, large print and various computer formats by contacting the address below. Finance can also give information on other language translations as well as providing additional copies. Contact us at Debbie Collins, Council HQ, Council 18 December 2014

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