Telford & Wrekin Council within budget, but says more challenges ahead

Telford & Wrekin Council’s finances are currently estimated to be within budget for 2018/19 – but the funding outlook for the medium term is still uncertain.

A report to the council’s Cabinet – which meets on November 15 – says the council has “an excellent track record of robust active budget management” which needs to be maintained to meet future challenges.

As a financially responsible organisation, Telford & Wrekin Council has a centrally held contingency fund to enable it meet unforeseen costs – for example, natural disasters or exceptionally harsh winters.

This financial year the council has used £800,000 of its centrally held contingency fund to stay within budget in this financial year, leaving a further £4.8m available for emergencies.

It has also made £7.6m savings to balance the 2018/19 budget with the aim that senior managers will make further improvements where possible by year end.

Councillor Lee Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Council Finance, said: “The cabinet has worked closely with the council’s Senior Management Team to sustain the position of staying within budget – we have always taken a proactive approach to our financial management and kept a sharp eye on likely future developments.

“Of course there are pressures – Children’s Safeguarding and Early Help continues to be a key area of focus and there are a number of strategies under way to reduce costs and deliver savings.

“A cost improvement plan is in place, as is also the case with Adult Social Care.”

The report highlights that there are a number of variations from the approved budget including:

– A benefit of £2.2m relating to active Treasury Management work

– A benefit of £600,000 relating to early delivery of benefits ahead of schedule from the Council’s £50m Growth Fund investments

– Additional investment of £2.9m required in Children’s Safeguarding and Early Help to meet current levels of need within the community

The report adds: “The funding outlook for the medium term is uncertain. However, it is anticipated that the Council will need to identify further £20-25m savings by the end of 2020/21 on top of the £117m savings already delivered.”