Report of the Chamberlain.
The Sub-Committee received a report of the Chamberlain updating Members on the 2021/22 budget round, which is to set the City Corporation on the flight path to achieving a sustainable budget over the medium-term.
The Policy Chair gave an overview of the recent bilateral meetings with Service Committee Chairmen and Chief Officers, which she had held with the Deputy Chairman of Resource Allocation, and which had secured a shared commitment to closing the budget gap, whilst recognising that there are several departments, which whilst committing to the 12% cost savings, face Covid related income loss, which will have to be taken into account when setting resource caps. She also encouraged the Sub-Committee to prioritise some of our most sensitive front-line services in Community and Children’s Services, and maintain our support for each of our Academy students, at a time when they are facing significant Covid-pressures.
The Deputy Chairman added that the Target Operating Model (TOM) will make an increasing contribution to the 12% saving requirement over the medium-term and that the Town Clerk and Chair of Establishment should provide a regular tracker to ensure transparency and avoid the risk of double counting savings.
Members, then, discussed the detail of the paper and there was a particular discussion on the cuts to libraries. The Chair of Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee felt that as one of the libraries was funded by Community and Children’s Services, she did not feel that it was right that this was not covered in her bilateral meeting. Many Members agreed that the libraries were a fantastic resource at this time and one Member suggested that the City Corporation should look to work with other boroughs with larger populations to provide this service. Another Member requested for an impact assessment on areas such as the libraries before making a decision. After some discussion, it was felt that in principle agreement could be made now on the efficiencies relating to libraries but further detail was to be brought back including an impact assessment. Members also encouraged the Community and Children’s Services Department and the Cultural Services Team to work closely together in this area.
A Member also asked for more detail around the funding given to TheCityUK – it was agreed that a fuller discussion on these items would take place in non-public session.
The Town Clerk underlined that the TOM would provide significant savings but that there would be double counting. The details of Tiers 2 and 3 in the TOM were not yet finalised as the Town Clerk wished to allow the new hires (at Tier 1) to have a say in the new structure of their departments.
Members also discussed the funding given to schools and the proposals from the Tomlinson Review. The Policy Chair informed Members hat there had been a positive meeting of the Tomlinson Review Working Party earlier that week and the Chair of the City of London Academies Trust underlined the importance of sensible decisions being made on funding for academies.
· It be noted that as a result of bilateral discussions and commitments given on delivering 12% savings, there were aggregate savings of around £26.6m, consistent with the brief given by this Sub-Committee.
· It be agreed that resource envelopes at departmental level would be adjusted by te sums shown in the proposed savings column in appendix 1; the application of the 12% police savings will take account of any material funding changes arising from te police funding settlement announcement later in December 2020.
· It be agreed, in principle, that a support package would be provided to the Barbican and GSMD for COVID impact to commercial income sources; amounts to be confirmed in light of spending review announcements on extension of the compensation scheme for Local Government, and to be monitored and held for release by agreement with the Chamberlains Department.
· It be agreed that Fundamental Review savings, which have been put on hold pending the further work on the TOM, be rephased to 2022/23.
· £8m reduction in 2021/22 cyclical works programme be approved, subject to the confirmation of the Corporate Asset Sub Committee.
· It be noted that work will continue to identify further savings that could underpin medium plans for 2022/23 and beyond.
· It be noted that rental income is at risk for 2021/22 and further support was likely to be required from reserves.
· It be noted that the City Fund/City’s Cash grants review is progressing with the aim of reducing overall spend through grants and will report to this Sub-Committee’s January meeting.