Knowsley Council’s Cabinet meets on Wednesday, 13 February, 2019, with an agenda filled with financial and budget related items.
Here’s our quick summary of what’s on the agenda.
Shakespeare North Rail Interchange, Prescot
Knowsley Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve more than £8 million funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Single Investment Fund for the Shakespeare North Rail Interchange scheme.
The project includes improvements to Prescot railway station, including the installation of two new lifts and additional car parking capacity. There will also be a new walking and cycling path between the station, town centre and Shakespeare North Playhouse site. This will incorporate wayfinding signage, artwork and public realm enhancements around the playhouse and the town centre making Prescot even more welcoming for visitors.
Corporate Plan 2017-2020
Members of the Cabinet will be asked to endorse the Council’s priorities for the next year as outlined in the Corporate Plan.
Priorities set out in the Corporate Plan, 2017-20, include maximising the Council’s contribution to education in Knowsley and to the health and wellbeing of residents, providing high quality and sustainable Adult Social Care, accelerating business growth, new jobs and new housing and creating a sustainable borough.
The council has a Delivery Programme, which includes the key actions and projects which services focus on in order to contribute to the priorities. The Corporate Plan monitoring report presented to the Cabinet on 21 November 2018 provided a detailed update on progress.
The next monitoring report will be presented to Cabinet in June 2019, and will provide full details of the progress made during 2018/19 and confirm the details of the Delivery Programme for 2019/20.
Robustness of Estimates and Adequacy of Final Reserves
Councillors will be asked to note the findings of a recent review of the council’s financial management arrangements, including those for setting and monitoring budgets, managing financial uncertainty and risk and sound financial management.
Based on this review, the council can be satisfied that its arrangements are robust, and councillors can therefore be confident when using the information as a basis for setting the authority’s annual budget and Council Tax rate.
2018/19 Revenue Budget Monitoring – Quarter 3 update
This report will provide councillors with a forecast of how the end-of-year position will look for the council. It is an updated position since the last report in December 2018, and shows a slight improvement in the council’s predicted deficit and overspend figures for the year.
Medium term financial strategy
Cabinet will be presented with the budget proposals for 2019/20 – the third year of the three year budget approved in March 2017. The forecast position for 2019/20 assumes that previously agreed budget savings have been implemented and, for planning purposes, that Council Tax will increase by 2.99%. Cabinet will also be presented with the Pay Policy for 2019/20, which includes the council’s lowest paid employees will be paid an hourly rate of £9.25 from 1 April 2019 – exceeding the latest Living Wage of £9 per hour announced by the Living Wage Foundation.
2019/20 Capital Strategy
As part of a new Government requirement, Knowsley Council now has to produce a Capital Strategy Report, explaining how its capital expenditure, capital financing and treasury management activity are contributing to the provision of local public services.
This report to Cabinet asks councillors to note and approve the strategy for 2019/20.
Capital Programme Monitoring Update
This report presents an update on the Council’s Capital Programme of expenditure for 2018/19 and future years. Councillors will be asked to approve this latest three-year plan, which includes some additions.
Fees and Charges
Cabinet are being asked to review and approve the proposed fees and charges that the council will charge for the financial year 2019/20, for services such as building control, skip permits, room hire and the registrars. Some of these charges are set at a national level, and some are set locally. In all cases, charges have been reviewed against those set by neighbouring local authorities, and whilst some charges may increase slightly many others are proposed to remain the same for the coming financial year.
2019/20 Revenue Budget
Ahead of the full Council meeting that will finalise the council’s budget for 2019/20 on 6 March, Cabinet will be asked to make proposals for the council’s revenue budget.
A report looking ahead at the financial position for the next financial year sets out some of the challenges facing the council, including the need to make £4.427m of savings during 2019/20. The report also recommends that Council Tax in Knowsley should increase by 2.99% in order to avoid the need for any further savings in service budgets.
In addition to this, the report sets out some limited scope for permanent investment in priority services, as well as £5.922m available for ‘one-off’ investment.
The report reminds Cabinet of the council’s performance based financial strategy which has established the principle that the Authority’s budgets should be allocated to deliver the most sustainable impact on the council’s priorities, and ensure that statutory and regulatory requirements are met most efficiently and effectively.
With a number of options open to councillors about whether to invest the available funds, and how, the Cabinet are asked to ensure that it develops proposals around this ahead of the budget setting meeting on 6 March, 2019, at which the proposals will be put before the whole council for consideration.
Want to know more detail?
Don’t forget, you can follow updates from the meeting on Twitter – look for #KnowsleyCabinet or follow Knowsley Council – @KnowsleyCouncil.