Agenda item

Future Presentation of Revenue Outturn Reports

The Chamberlain to be heard.


The Chamberlain was heard relative to a recent request from this Committee to alter the future presentation of their Revenue Outturn Reports.


The Chamberlain made reference to the fact that this Committee had made the point that they were more commercially focused (where income was key) and that this was accepted and acknowledged by the Chamberlain’s Department. The same also applied to other areas such as the three City School Boards and the Barbican Centre Board. The Chamberlain assured Members that, in these areas, officers were happy to assist in providing Members with management information in the most understandable and useful format practicable. However, there were some ‘red lines’ in terms of the budget approval procedures and the financial systems currently used to generate this information. The Chamberlain reported that these systems adopted a Local Authority format with expenditure as ‘king’. She explained that this was a statutory responsibility and was necessary in terms of the setting of council tax. She explained that the local government regulations and CIPFA definitions dictated how the budget books appeared.


The Chamberlain went on to state that whilst there was much that could be done around managing information and that work was already taking place in terms of looking at how budgets were presented to both the Finance Committee and the Court of Common Council going forwards, this process was not straightforward and would take some time. Members were informed that the City Corporation had already purchased a data interrogation tool and officers were currently exploring what this tool was capable of. She added that, until this had been explored in full, data interrogation was very manually intensive.


A Member stated that the accounts for three statutory funds were already produced in separate formats each year and questioned why this was not therefore possible to do throughout the year. The Chamberlain explained that this process was extremely time consuming and labour intensive process and that the information was collated over a period of months.


In response to further questions, the Chamberlain reported that, despite some initial issues, the core ‘Oracle’ system was now fully operational. Members were assured that the Markets Committee debt reporting was now therefore up to date. The Chamberlain added that, with regard to the Oracle Financial System, the City Corporation was at the tail end of those Local Authorities who had upgraded to version 12. The reason for this had been that the organisation had been keen to await some outcomes from others due to the number of balance sheets and functions they managed and their complexities.