Budget Scrutiny Outcomes


Photo credit: Lendingmemo.com

Photo credit: Lendingmemo.com

The Service Improvement and Finance Scrutiny Performance Panel held its annual budget scrutiny meeting on 10 February, which was attended by Councillor Rob  Stewart, Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategy (Leader), along with Ben Smith, the Chief Accountant.

The purpose of the meeting was for the Panel to consider the  Budget report before the Cabinet meeting on 15 February in order to provide  some key points that Scrutiny Councillors wished to bring to Cabinet’s attention.

A range of questions were discussed, along with time set aside for questions from members of the public. The issues covered included:

  • Budget public consultation process and the commissioning reviews
  • Parks funding
  • Amount of funding received from the Welsh Government and ring-fencing of budgets
  • Funding of the museum service
  • Liberty Stadium
  • Use of co-operatives and social businesses to deliver council services
  • Redundancy payments
  • Pupil deprivation grant
  • Abandoned vehicle service review
  • An increase for services such as the burial and cremation service fees
  • Wedding venue costs and promotion of the mansion house as a complementary wedding venue
  • The dominance of Education and Social Services within the Councils budget
  • The establishment of commercial and trading models
  • Asset transfer plans
  • Capital financing charges
  • Closure of the Tourist Information Centre
  • Parking enforcement in residential areas
  • Consideration of further sponsorship opportunities
  • Social Care protection fund

Specifically the Panel wished Cabinet to note that they felt that once the results of the numerous Commissioning Reviews* become available, then robust public consultation should take place on the various options. The Budget Consultation process asked high level questions on whether people would be prepared to pay for services as an alternative to losing them. However, the Panel considered that more detailed information should be provided to people to enable them to make a fully informed decision. They understood that this information would be available once the reviews are complete. The Panel also stated that the relevant scrutiny panels should be involved in the consultation processes.

Overall, the Panel noted their growing concern that continuing cuts to the Council’s budget could feasibly lead to a long term position where there is no money available for anything other than statutory services i.e. Social Services and Education.

The Leader agreed to provide written responses to some questions that couldn’t be answered on the day, these can be found in the agenda pack for the Panel’s next meeting on 9 March, on the Scrutiny Publications page.

Councillor Chris Holley, the Convener of the Panel attended the Cabinet Meeting on 15 February in order to provide the Panel’s views.


*A commissioning review is a way of finding out how council services can be delivered in a sustainable way. The reviews will help identify service improvements, cost savings and income generation and increase efficiency. There is a 3 year programme of reviews underway.

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