Bryan Davies, Committee Chair, outlined the meeting procedure and
welcomed the Leader
of the Council, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Cabinet
Members and Officers to the meeting.
The Leader of
the Council, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, presented
the report on the draft budget for 2022/2023 including the three
year capital programme, explaining that this is a provisional
settlement, and that the final settlement is due on the 1st March,
total revenue settlement, known as the Aggregate External Finance (AEF)
allocated to Ceredigion for 2022/23 is £119.419m. This compares with 2021/22 allocation of
£110.006m (adjusted for transfers) and is an increase of 8.6%. Wales as a whole
has seen an average increase of 9.4% with Ceredigion ranked at 19th.
The Leader advised Committee Members that since her
appointment in 2012, £50 million savings had been made.
reflects a range of less financially favourable re-distributional movements
seen in population and Secondary School pupil number indicators. Standard
Spending Assessments (SSA) are notional calculations of what each Council
needs to spend to provide a standard level of service. The SSA for 2022/23 is
£166.372m which is a 7.2% increase from the previous year (2021/22
£155.153m). The most significant service increase being personal social
services at 12.2%.
The budget model has been drafted to include the adjustments with regard to
the provisional settlement. Any adjustments required that arise in the final
settlement will require consideration and appropriate incorporation into the
The detailed assessment work
carried out to identify the unavoidable cost pressures faced by Services has
been finalised and identified a net total amount of £13.1m, which is
summarised in Appendix 1 of the agenda papers. This amount is almost double
the previous years and is £3.8m more than the increased sum available in the
settlement and this would equate to the need to increase Council Tax by close
to 8%, however some savings are available to the budget setting process.
The Rising costs of Care alone
totals £7m, including:
UK £9.90 Real Living Wage and 1.25% Employers
National Insurance – impacts on most if not all Care related Commissioned
Services (results in provisional inflation factors of 8.87% for Domiciliary
Care / Supported Living, 9.13% for Residential Care and 11.15% for Direct
Residential Homes – Fees setting review
currently in progress;
Looked after Children; and;
The Leader also advised the
Committee that the provision for pay inflation is a significant factor
estimated at £3.4m and that there is no formal agreement yet on the main
2021/22 pay award. After taking into account the potential funding available,
a balanced budget is achievable.
A Corporate approach has
been taken to dealing with the Covid-19 net costs and losses, as
opposed to each service having to incur sums attributable to relevant
services. This approach has ensured that financial management of the 2021/22
budgets and business as usual activity remained strong. Total hardship costs
and lost income are currently forecast at a gross
total of just under £7m with as much as possible being recovered and
reclaimed through Welsh Government (WG) grants/funding.
Additional Covid-19 costs and
some lost income will continue into the 2022/23 year and beyond. A corporate
budget of £750k is therefore required in the Leadership Group budget, as well
as utilising the earmarked contingency including Covid-19 Reserve estimated
at £1.25m. No grant claims are due next year as the Hardship Fund will close
and the Settlement now allows for this. WG have also committed to continue to
supply free PPE for Health and Social Care for as long as it is required and
to continue to provide funding for Test, Trace & Protect.
Council Tax needs to increase
to fund fully the Budget position. An
extra 4.75% of Council Tax raises a gross £2.1m, which equates to a net £1.8m
after allowing for the additional budget requirement placed on the Council
Tax Reduction scheme. The Council’s income and cost recovery policy means
that services are continuing to recover their inflationary costs relevant to
chargeable services from service users, although the current issue in the
near term is ensuring the recovery of income streams to pre Covid-19 levels.
Leader explained that as this is a draft
budget proposal, based on the Provisional settlement, and subject to any
adjustments that may be required once the Final Settlement is known. Any
necessary adjustments would be made in accordance with the following:
1. the value
of any specific grants transferred into RSG will be passported
to the relevant Service’s budget;
any other specific changes to be directly
targeted to the affected Service(s), if
any other change to the RSG will be dealt
with by an adjustment to the
Group Corporate revenue budget.
The Fire Authority Levy is subject to
formal confirmation and is anticipated to result in
a £104k cost pressure, which will require top slice funding.
The Leader concluded her
presentation with a summary of cost pressures across all/most services and
re-iterated that this budget
report deals with the provisional settlement announcement with a
recommendation to Council on the level of Council Tax for 2022/23. Council is
due to consider the final budget on the 3rd March 2022 following scrutiny of the budget papers and draft
The Chairman thanked
the Leader of the Council for presenting the information and
also thanked Stephen Johnson, Duncan Hall and Justin Davies and their
team of officers for their hard work in preparing the reports for the
The relevant Cabinet Member then
presented the cost pressures affecting all/most services (shown in Appendix B
of the agenda papers).
Committee Members considered the
service budgets for those service areas that are within the Committee’s remit
(shown in Appendix C of the report); namely:
Cymorth Cynnal, Porth Gofal, Porth
Sian Howys, Donna Pritchard and Elen James were present to answer any
questions. Cabinet Members, Councillors
Catherine Hughes and Alun
Williams presented the information relevant to their respective Cabinet
Policy, Performance and Public Protection
Alun Williams was present to answer any
questions. Cabinet Member, Councillor Gareth Lloyd presented the information
relevant to his Cabinet portfolio.
Catherine Hughes and Alun Williams during the presentation took the opportunity
of thanking the staff who have kept crucial Services going under extremely
challenging circumstances during the past two years.
Lloyd also took the opportunity of thanking the staff who have worked
tirelessly to ensure Ceredigion was as safe as possible during the past two
the following points/concerns were raised:
response to a question regarding monies set-aside for the modernisation of the
Authority’s Residential Homes, it was confirmed that monies had been set-aside for Residential Homes upgrade as
stated in the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) shown in Appendix A, page
62, of the agenda papers;
a question regarding the costs of Domiciliary Care, the Committee were advised
that Arwyn Morris, Corporate Lead Officer, is currently exploring options for
the best model for Domiciliary Care for Ceredigion;
Committee Member reminded all present of the NHS Continuing Healthcare Fund
which is available through assessment;
was a lengthy discussion regarding a proposed New Service Investment – Public
Protection shown on Appendix C, page 73 of the agenda papers as follows:
There is considerable pressure on the Public
Protection Service as a result of the ongoing Covid Pandemic. In particular, there are significant
onerous statutory tasks in responding to cases in residential care and school
settings in managing infection control, and providing expert advice and
instruction to those in charge to manage clusters and incidents. Additional
investment comes at a cost, however this may be part
of Members' deliberations around the 3 different Council Tax options being
looked at by Cabinet. For example, £55k would broadly fund up to x1 additional
Senior Environment Health Officer post.
Committee Members recognised this invaluable post and the statutory work
that is undertaken by this Service. Some Members, however, felt that there is a
staff shortage across other services within the Authority and could therefore
not support this. Other Committee Members
felt that this was an extremely important activity considering the ongoing Covid Pandemic, and were very supportive
of this role.
a question regarding social care staff vacancies advertised at present and
whether or not the funding for the posts is already accounted for in this Budget? It was confirmed that the
staff vacancies advertised are accounted for in this Budget.
The Chairman thanked the Cabinet Members for presenting the information
and thanked the officers for the information.
The relevant Cabinet Member and officer then presented the proposed Fees
and Charges as outlined in Enclosure D, pages 1 to 13 inclusive of the agenda
Members were then given the opportunity to ask questions, which were answered in turn by the relevant Cabinet Member or
The Chairman thanked the Leader, the Cabinet Members and the Officers
for the information received at the meeting, and asked Committee Members to
vote in turn if they accept, are against, or abstain from the following
Following consideration, Members agreed to recommend that
Wellbeing Centres – Ceredigion Actif
Membership Packages, Porth Cymorth
Agree to delegate authority to the Corporate
Director and/or the Corporate Lead Officer Porth Cymorth Cynnar, in consultation
with the portfolio Cabinet Member for Porth Gofal, Early Intervention, Wellbeing Hubs and Culture, to
vary the Fees & Charges for the Wellbeing Centres for 2022/23, to run short
term / time limited promotional offers, in order to incentivise more children,
young people, individuals and families to participate in regular physical
activity and lead healthier lifestyles.
agreed that further details in relation to the above would be presented
at the 16th March 2022 Committee meeting.
considered the 3 options proposed for Council Tax levels of 4.75%, 5.0%
4.75% was proposed, seconded and voted upon. An
increase of 5.0% was also proposed, seconded and voted upon.
members did not wish to consider 5.25%.
Committee voted on the improvement first, which was an increase of 5% in
Council Tax with the additional funding making provision for an additional
Senior Environment Health Officer post, £55k would broadly fund, as considered
and noted above on page 4 and 5 of these minutes.
7 Committee Members voted Against this proposal, with 5 voting For.
Committee then voted on the initial proposal of a Council Tax increase of
majority of Committee Members voted in favour of a 4.75% for Council Tax levels
with 7 Committee Members voting For, and 5 Abstaining
from the vote.
Committee would therefore be recommending an increase of 4.75% in Council Tax