Report of Police Authority Treasurer.
The Committee received a report of the Police Authority Treasurer concerning CR23 Police Funding. The report stated that the Police reserve was fully utilised and there was a major risk to City Fund arising from rising Police Force budget deficits. The Treasurer stated that mitigation plans were reviewed by a working-group of the Police Committee, with a range of mitigations being proposed for recommendation to the Resource Allocation Sub-Committee on 17 January 2019, to ensure a balanced budget could be set for 2019-2020.
The Commissioner said that he planned to deliver £3m of savings this financial year to reduce the deficit, but acknowledged that some deficit will still remain. He was also committed to rolling forward £3m of savings into 2019/20 which, in addition to £1.6m of savings from the Transform Programme, would deliver £4.6m of mitigations towards the 2019/20 deficit.
Members asked why checks had not identified the extent of the financial gap and overspend in the current financial until recently. The Treasurer reported that the double counting of income by the Force had masked the overspend which only became apparent with a breakdown of the gross income. Controls have been set in place to ensure this does not happen again.
Members expressed concern over the payroll issue. The Commissioner reported that the budget was created based on the average pay of each rank and grade. However, given specialist roles carried out by the City of London Police, many positions were filled by experienced professionals from other forces who were on the highest end of the pay band, which increased the payroll expenditure.
Members advised the Commissioner of the City of London Police (CoLP) that spending should be carried out within the approved budget, notwithstanding extenuating circumstances.
RESOLVED – That the Committee,
1. note the risk to the City Fund posed by the increased magnitude of Police medium-term deficits;
2. seek assurance about progress with the in-year and medium-term deficit mitigation strategies; and
3. seek assurance about progress on building CoLP financial management capability and on improvements to financial control (the latter of which is a separate item on the agenda for this Committee).