Agenda item

Reconciling Policy, Performance and Resources (RPPR) 2023/24

Report by the Chief Executive.


21.1     The Chief Finance Officer introduced the report and outlined that the Council had received the Autumn Budget Statement and councillors had received a briefing on its content. The Autumn Budget Statement gave an indication of where the funding for local government is going to be allocated. The announcement indicates an overall increase in the level of funding, but further details of what this means for the Council will become clearer when further announcements on the provisional Local Government Settlement are made, which is expected around 21 December. The Fair Funding Review has been delayed until 2025 and there is no indication that there will be a multi-year settlement for local government.

21.2     The Chief Finance Officer summarised the key parts of the Statement:

  • The 2023 Business Rate revaluation will go ahead with £13.6 billion available for transitional relief to support businesses affected, and the Council will be protected from the impact of any changes in revenue.
  • There is a range of funding for Social Care: £600 million for the Better Care Fund and £400m to support discharges from hospital; £1.3 billion increase in social care grant for adults and children but it is not yet known what other funding streams are included in this figure and what the specific allocations will be.
  • The implementation of Social Care reforms has been delayed from October 2023 to October 2025, but the funding to support the reforms will still be given to local authorities to help address service pressures in this area.
  • Council Tax - The referendum limit has been increased from 2% to 3% and the Adult Social Care precept has been raised from 1% to 2%.

21.3     The Committee discussed the report and asked a number of questions. A summary of the discussion is given below.

  • The use of redundant shops was discussed. This reflects that fact that some high street chains have closed shops and the Council is working on a scheme to re-purpose empty shops. The Director of Communities Economy and Transport (CET) offered to provide further information on the scheme if members of the Committee are interested in receiving further details.
  • Active Travel England survey to determine funding for cycling.  Active Travel England have £30 million to allocate across all local authorities and there is a self-assessment process to allocate funding. The Council is in discussion with Active Travel England regarding this funding and it is hoped that the Council will hear the outcome by Christmas.
  • The Committee asked if it was possible to split the jobs created and businesses retained performance targets. The Director of CET agreed look at those targets to see if they could be split.
  • The Rights of Way (RoW) maintenance performance target has been lowered from previously achieved levels of 94% and 88% to 80% and the flood authority performance measure is 62% against a target of 80%. The committee asked for the reasons behind this. The Director of CET outlined that there are challenges around having enough resources to meet the flood risk targets, so more realistic targets have been set until the team can be brought up to strength. The Director of CET will come back to the Committee after the meeting concerning the RoW target.
  • The number of outline business cases for properties target was six in the past and the performance target is now two. The Committee asked if this was due to resource constraints. The Chief Operating Officer outlined that properties for disposal are identified through the Property Asset Management and Disposal Strategy and that the Property team has a number of vacancies and is very busy, which has constrained the number of business cases they can deliver.
  • The Refurbishment costs of the office space to be leased in Muriel Matters House in Hastings are reported to be £500,000. Councillor Hilton asked if further information could be provided on these costs as they appeared to be a little high based on the condition of the offices. The Chief Operating Officer agreed to provide Councillor Hilton with some information on a breakdown of the costs after the meeting.
  • The Committee asked why the Council reports absence figures for education settings separately. The Chief Operating Officer outlined that the Council splits school and non-school data in case we wish to take a different approach to reporting.
  • The Committee asked if the additional £1.3 billion funding for Social Care would help the Council balance the budget. The Chief Finance Officer responded that the Council will not know the Council’s allocation of this funding until the announcement of the Settlement on 21 December. However, the funding will be used to address the service pressures and challenges being experienced in adults and children’s social care.


21.4     The Committee RESOLVED to note the report.



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