Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
1. Note the General Fund is projecting a net adverse movement of £0.685m from Period 5. Service departments are indicating a £4.050m overspend (Month 5 £3.365m) with this being netted of as in the past five months against release of a one off Covid Grant (£3.451m released = 31% of the grant) confirmed to Croydon Council for 21/22 by MHCLG as part of the Local Government Finance Settlement;
2. Note that a further number of risks and compensating opportunities may materialise which would see the forecast year-end variance change and these are reported within Section 3 of the report. Should these risks materialise or the mitigations not be effective the Council could overspend by £11.063m (Month 5 £7.814m);
3. Note the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) is projecting a £0.733m (Month 5 £0.742m) overspend for 2021/22. If no further mitigations are found to reduce this overspend the HRA will need to drawdown reserves from HRA balances which at the moment there are sufficient balances to cover this;
4. Note the capital spend to date for the General Fund of £11.402m (against a budget of £138.688m) and for the HRA of £7.633m (against a budget of £183.209m), with a projected forecast variance of £48.758m on the general fund against budget and £86.220m forecast variance against budget for the housing revenue account;
5. Note, the above figures are predicated on forecasts from Month 7 to the year end and therefore could be subject to change as forecasts are refined and new and updated information is provided on a monthly basis. Forecasts are made based on the best available information at this time.
6. Note that whilst the Section 114 notice has formally been lifted, the internal controls established as part of the S114, such as the Spend Control Panel remain. However, restrictions have been lifted for ring-fenced accounts such as the Pensions Fund, Housing Revenue Account and Coroner’s Costs as these do not directly impact on the financial position of the General Fund. The Spending Control Panel which was set up at the beginning of November 2020 continues to meet on a twice daily basis.
7. Note that the Council has received a one off financial support of £2.36m from Government to help cover the pressures related to Unaccompanied Asylum seeking Children (UASC) and care leavers, which means the Council still funds £1.615m of pressures post the Grant support.
8. Note that in addition to the UASC pressures, Croydon Borough has taken on c1000 asylum seekers who have been placed in eight hotels by the Home Office. The hotel costs are funded by the Home Office, however the Council will be responsible for further ancillary services particularly around safeguarding, public health, children & youth provision and broader community support. These additional costs, which are being worked out and have been flagged within unquantified risks, could result in further pressures for the Council.
9. Note the Council has been advised it will receive £1.517m one off Homelessness Prevention Grant (Covid winter pressures) this year to support local authorities to help vulnerable households with rent arrears to reduce the risk of them being evicted and becoming homeless. This is not included in the forecast as the grant condition details are being worked through and will be included in next months report.
10.Note that until recently the Borough also housed a number of Afghanistan Asylum seekers citizens and their families as part of the Government’s Afghan citizens resettlement scheme. The Home Office decommissioned this hotel and relocated the residents on 27th October 2021.
Report author: Richard Ennis
Publication date: 24/11/2021
Date of decision: 15/11/2021
Decided at meeting: 15/11/2021 - Cabinet