Agenda and draft minutes

Specific Reserves Working Group - Thursday, 9th January, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - 3rd Floor - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Earl Piggott-Smith  Email: or 01902 551251

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received frrom the following


Cllr Jane Stevenson – Cllr Simon Bennett (substitute)


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest recorded.


Specific Reserves Working Group - Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 50 KB

[Earl Piggott-Smith, Scrutiny Officer, to present terms of reference]


Earl Piggott-Smith, Scrutiny Officer, presented the terms of reference which detailed the remit of the working group.




The panel agreed to note the report.


Review of Specific Reserves pdf icon PDF 246 KB

[Alison Shannon, Chief Accountant, to present report]

Additional documents:


The Chief Accountant outlined the background to the report and explained the role of working group in reviewing the appropriateness of the specific reserves held by the Council as part of the budget review process.


The working group were asked to comment on any changes or further information that would help them to more effectively meet their responsibilities as detailed in the terms of reference.


The Chief Accountant explained the difference between the two Appendices and that those listed in Appendix 2 have a specific criteria which limits their use. The panel were advised that general balances and school balances were outside the scope of the report.


The Chief Accountant explained that following a review of specific reserve allocations that a number of changes were made which resulted in a variance between the opening balances figures detailed in Table 2 and 3 in the report. The working group were advised that Public Health reserve had been moved from Appendix 1 to Appendix 2 as it is funded from a ring-fenced grant.


The following is a summary of the comments and discussion on the specific reserves listed in Appendix 1


Adult Social Care Reserve


The Chief Accountant commented that £4.3 million of the allocation will be used which will leave a small balance as at 31 March 2020. The working group were advised that the reserve has been built up from underspends in previous years, in the knowledge that there would be cost pressures within Adult Services in the future.


The Chief Accountant advised that a was still a forecast overspend at quarter two even after the use of this reserve. The panel queried if there were plans to rebuild the reserve to help meet demand in future years. The Chief Accountant advised it was unlikely that Adult Services would underspend in this financial year, however, as part of the budget process the growth was being built into the Medium-Term Financial Strategy to mitigate against any future pressures.


Safeguarding Partnership Board


The panel queried the appropriateness of the reserve as the expectation is that the allocation would not be used in 2019-2020. The Chief Accountant explained that this reserve was made up of partner contributions not fully utilised in previous years.  This reserve would be used to fund any additional activity such as additional serious case reviews, rather than asking partners for additional in year contributions or the Council having to fund an overspend. 


The panel were advised that a reduction in the level of reserve could potentially lead to partner agencies asking for their contributions to be refunded.

There is a commitment by the partner agencies that their contributions will be carried forward to fund future improvements to the service.


HRA Homelessness


The Chief Accountant advised the working group that the reserve allocation will be fully used to fund projects aimed at preventing homelessness.


Kickstart Loans


The Chief Accountant explained the background to the reserve and advised that it was not expected to be used during 2019-2020. The working group  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.