Report by Chief Executive
18.1 The Cabinet considered a report by the Chief Executive.
18.2 It was RESOLVED to:
1) note the updated policy and demographic context as set out in paragraph 2 of the report;
2) note the updated Medium Term Financial Plan as set out in paragraph 3 and appendix 1 of the report;
3) approve the allocation of £270,000 from the £5.175m Services Grant funding to support staff recruitment and retention as set out in paragraph 4.5 of the report, and to hold the remainder of the funding in the Priority and Transformation Reserve;
4) note the capital programme update as set out in paragraph 5 and appendix 2 of the report;
5) agree to continue lobbying for sustainable funding to meet the needs of the residents of East Sussex.
18.3 In June Cabinet considered the State of the County report, a key milestone in the Council’s Reconciling Policy, Performance and Resources (RPPR) process, its integrated business and financial planning cycle. The report set out the updated demographic, economic and service evidence base; the national and local policy context; and updates on our medium term financial planning position and capital programme. The report illustrated the high levels of uncertainty and change that continue to dominate the environment within which we are working and planning.
18.4 Since June the instability in our planning context has persisted, with significant further national economic and political developments. A new Prime Minister took office on 6 September and although the new Government’s policy agenda and priorities are beginning to emerge, there remains uncertainty over whether, or how, national policy proposals brought forward by the previous administration will be progressed.
18.5 The RPPR process, which brings together our policy, business and financial planning and risk management, continues to provide the robust mechanism to help us navigate this uncertain environment, supporting planning for 2023/24 and beyond and maintaining focus on our four priority outcomes.
18.6 With our firm foundation of careful management of resources over many years, and with the assistance of Government Covid support during the pandemic, we have been able to maintain stability in service provision in recent years and we are managing current, in-year pressures within our current plans and contingency arrangements. However, the financial outlook in the medium term is increasingly challenging and uncertain with national economic conditions impacting on our projected future position, alongside pre-existing pressures and uncertainties. This report provides our latest assessment of the position.
18.7 This report provides Members with an update on the rapidly evolving context that will continue to inform our planning for 2023/24.