Knowsley Council’s Cabinet will meet at 5pm on Wednesday 12 February 2020.
Here is a summary of the main items on the agenda.
Cabinet will recommend that the current Corporate Plan is extended for one more year to bring it into line with the new 2030 Strategy for Knowsley. This will provide the council with time to plan its contribution towards delivering the outcomes and improvement priorities in the strategy. The current Corporate Plan priorities are: to maximise the council’s contribution to education in Knowsley, maximise the council’s contribution to the health and wellbeing of Knowsley residents, provide high quality and sustainable adult social care, accelerate business growth, new jobs and new housing, and create a sustainable borough.
Cabinet will be asked to endorse a proposed new long term ‘Knowsley 2030 Strategy’. The strategy has been co-produced with Knowsley residents, businesses, specific partner agencies and Elected Members through an extensive consultation process. The strategy focusses on five strategic outcomes which describe a vision for the kind of borough stakeholders want Knowsley to be by 2030. As this is a partnership strategy, final approval will be sought from the Knowsley Better Together Board in March 2020.
Robustness of estimates and adequacy of financial reserves
Members of the Cabinet will receive an update on the on arrangements for setting the Council’s annual budget and borough’s Council Tax. The report is informed by a review of the council’s arrangements for budget setting and budget monitoring; managing financial uncertainty and risk; maintaining adequate provisions, reserves and balances; and ensuring sound financial management. The report concludes the Council’s arrangements are robust, and provide a reliable basis for setting the Authority’s annual budget and Council Tax.
2019/20 Revenue budget monitoring – quarter three update
The overall position has improved slightly since the last update to the Cabinet on 20 November 2019 and now reflects a forecast surplus of £0.773m (which equates to 0.5% of the total Council budget for the year). This equates to a slight improvement in the previous forecast surplus of £0.756m at the mid-year stage. Within the overall forecast, there is a total forecast service overspend of £0.797m. The projected service overspend has increased since the mid-year forecast of £0.651m due to a number of relatively minor changes across a range of service areas. Members of the Cabinet are recommended to note the forecast budget monitoring position for the end of 2019/20
2020/21 Capital Strategy
Members will be asked to recommend approval of the 2020/21 Capital Strategy which explains how the council’s capital expenditure, capital financing, and treasury management activity contribute to the provision of local public services. The report also explains the council’s governance arrangements for making decisions relating to the Capital Strategy.
Liverpool City Region Mayoral Town Centre Fund
Cabinet will be asked to endorse plans for the £1m Liverpool City Region Mayoral Town Centre Fund to support initiatives within Huyton and Prescot town centres. Members will also receive an update on funding received from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (through the Strategic Investment Fund) to support other projects including the new retail development in Kirkby town centre (£10m contribution) and the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot (£10.5m investment and a further £8m to improve connectivity and public realm). Proposals for the Town Centre fund includes shop front improvements, targeted business support, public realm improvements, events programme and support to independent traders to take up digital payment technology.
Cabinet will consider an update to the council’s Capital Programme 2019/20 which now includes the £46.323 Kirkby town centre redevelopment scheme and the acceptance of a £1.376m Forestry Commission grant £1.376m supporting a five-year tree establishment and replacement programme. The report also outlines the revised three-year Capital Programme of £155.631m with overall spending phased over three years between 2019/20 and 2021/22. Read the full report
Children’s Social Care Sufficiency strategy and three year financial strategy
Members of the Cabinet will consider the Children’s Social Care Sufficiency Strategy and accompanying Children’s Social Care Financial Strategy. The Sufficiency Strategy has been developed to ensure the right services are in place at the right time to support children and young people across Knowsley, whilst effectively managing increasing demand and ensuring that demand can be met in the most cost effective way. The three-year Children’s Social Care Financial Strategy takes account of current and future demand and inflationary pressures and identifies a requirement for permanent investment totalling £3.385m over the next three years.
Medium-term financial strategy
Cabinet will receive the financial context for developing the budget proposals for 2020/21, taking into account all spending and funding estimates as well as the latest information from the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement. Cabinet will be updated on flexibility within the budget to consider new investment proposals in its 2020/21 budget strategy. The 2020/21 Annual Pay Policy will also be considered.
2020/21 Fees and charges
Fees and charges are reviewed at least annually by the relevant Executive Director in consultation with the Executive Director (Resources) and the relevant Cabinet Member. Proposals following the latest such review are now presented to the Cabinet for approval in a consolidated report. The report provides a full schedule of fees and charges which may be considered as part of the Cabinet’s budget proposals.
2020/21 Revenue budget
This report and others on today’s agenda, provides information for Cabinet to consider in developing its 2020/21 budget and council tax, which will be considered by council on 4 March 2020. To achieve the position set out in this report, the Council will need to take advantage of the full Council Tax referendum limit by increasing council tax by 1.99%. This is in addition to a further Adult Social Care precept of 2%.
Subject to these assumptions, the council will be able to set its 2020/21 budget without the need to approve any further savings in service budgets. There is also scope for £8.1m to be considered for on off investment in priority services.