Agenda item

Reconciling Policy, Performance and Resources (RPPR)


12.1     The report was introduced by Philip Baker (Assistant Chief Executive).  He outlined that  this is the start of scrutiny’s engagement in the budget setting process for 2022/23 and beyond. The State of the County report considered by Cabinet in July set out the detailed financial planning context for rest of the year and beyond.  However, the financial and policy position remains one of uncertainty and there have been a number of developments since July which will be covered in a RPPR report to Cabinet in September 2021.   There have also been a number of significant Government announcements which include:


  • There will be a three-year financial settlement following the spending review which is likely to be published on 27 October 2021.


  • The Government is aiming for a balanced budget from the financial years 2023/24 through to 2025/26.


  • The Government has announced plans for Health and Social Care reform which will be funded by a 1.25% levy on National Insurance contributions made by employers and employees. Details will be set out in a White paper which will be published later in the year. The impact on East Sussex could be significant in terms of the local care market and on local health partners.


12.2     The Committee discussed the report and a summary of the key points discussed is set out below.


  • In response to a query regarding the one-off reserve contribution referred to in paragraph 1.5 of the covering report, Members were informed by Ian Gutsell (Chief Finance Officer) that due to the pandemic some of the pressures included in earlier financial planning had not occurred.  As a result an opportunity had arisen to explore into the autumn the use of £8.855m one-off funding for investment in areas that will help better manage future demand for services or support the delivery of priorities such as highways or climate change.  It was also clarified that the savings set out in the report are ‘legacy savings’ resulting from decisions taken in previous years and that the Medium Term Financial Plan for next year does not contain plans for new savings to be identified.


  • The Committee asked about the steps being taken to address delays in children and young people receiving a diagnosis from Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).   In response the Alison Jeffery (Director of Children Services) informed Members that the Department is in discussion with colleagues from the local NHS Trust about what can be done to streamline the referral pathway and deliver quicker responses.  Work is also being undertaken to raise awareness amongst the wider workforce of neural diversity in children. It is hoped this will result in more children and young people gaining access to support in a more timely manner, without necessarily requiring a formal diagnosis.  Furthermore, additional funding has been provided by central government to support children’s mental health.  The Department are therefore actively engaging with NHS partners to help ensure the best use of the funding.  
  • With regard to the Government’s announcement of introducing a cap on care costs, it was clarified to Members that the national insurance uplift for employers and employees will come in to force in April 2022.   The change to what people pay, however, will not be introduced until October 2023.    It was also clarified that is anticipated that the cap will be applied to care costs and will not cover costs such as accommodation and that the department are waiting on further detail about, for example, what the additional funding from central government will be allocated to.

12.3     The Committee RESOLVED to establish an RPPR scrutiny review board to consider the developing Portfolio Plans and Medium Term Financial Plan and to submit Scrutiny’s final comments on them to Cabinet in January 2022.


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