Agenda item

Schools Out-turn report 18/19

To receive and consider the final Schools Out-turn 2018/19 report.


Coral Miller, Interim Senior Finance Specialist presented the report.  Coral stated that the 2018/19 in-year Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) outturn position was a net overspend of £1.05m representing 0.76% of the 2018/19 DSG budget.  Given the brought forward deficit balance of £527k from 2017/18, this resulted in an overall DSG deficit balance at the end of 2018/19 of £1.57m, equivalent to 1.14% of the £136.925m 2018/19 DSG.


Coral Miller stated that this position put the local authority over the 1% threshold set up by the Department for Education (DfE), and a recovery plan was required.  The majority of the overspend was in the High Needs Block (HNB) which was going to be discussed separately.


Coral Miller stated that the HNB had an in-year deficit of £872k against funding of £18.44m (4.7%).  This taken with the brought forward deficit from 2017/18 of £527k put the year end position at a total HNB deficit of £1.399m.


Coral Miller stated that forecast figures previously reported to Schools Forum projected a year end deficit of £2.5m, the improvement of £1.1m was largely as a result of a reduction on spend for Independent Special Schools against that which what was anticipated.  This continued to be a key focus area for improvement.


Coral Miller stated that there was an overspend in the Central Block due to changes in the treatment of licensing costs that were not identified at the time of Budget setting.  This overspend would be carried forward and would be addressed through ongoing planning to deliver financial sustainability for the Central Block.


Coral Miller stated that there was an overspend in staff cover and an underspend in contingencies within the Schools Block.  This was being considered as part of the review of the de-delegated budges for 2020/21 budget setting.


During the discussion of the item the following comments were made:


·           Janet Perry pointed out that the staff supply cover budget had been overspent for the last few years and was only available to maintained schools.  She asked why was this budget persistently overspent, why was this element of the de-delegated costs not increased?

·           Coral Miller stated that this was part of the de-delegated money, therefore only costed to maintained schools, and it did not affect the schools’ Block Budget;

·           Paul Miller asked if this difference would be adjusted in future calculations, and Coral confirmed that it would;

·           In response to a question Coral Miller stated that she was not allowed to change the figures in-year once the Budget had been submitted to DfE;

·           Janet Perry was of the opinion that the current system was not working, with many schools converting to academies and a deficit being seen in the de-delegated budget;

·           Some Members stated that the description was misleading and that it should be called additional maternity cover and not staff supply cover;

·           Janet Perry stated that academies had to take insurance for maternity cover;

·           Carol Simpson stated that maintained schools were not able to make a decision.  She had made some enquires and she believed that she could have bought staff cover cheaper elsewhere;

·           Sylvia Allen was of the opinion that the workforce was getting younger and that more maternity cover was likely to be needed in the future;

·           Coral Miller stated that this issue was being considered in the planning for next year’s budget, and she was in conversation with schools’ business managers about it;

·           Janet Perry asked for clarification on the figures on page 16 relating to ‘Strategic and regulation function’, she was interested to know why there was an overspend.  Coral Miller stated that she would be doing more investigation on that, however, it would not affect the Budget;

·           In response to a question Coral Miller stated that the late changes were due to people charging things that they should not have against that item at a late stage.  She believed that more education around this was needed.  Due to illness she had not been able to ‘de-pick’ it for this year.  However, she would go through and ‘de-pick’ it and reverse the values during this year;

·           In response to a question Coral Miller stated that the Council was allowed to overspend in the Centrally Retained Block and carry forward as part of the DSG, it would be picked by the general fund and not by the schools;

·           Paul Miller asked that Schools Forum be presented with the final numbers around this at the next meeting;

·           Jay Blundell stated that the funding for Foundry College had been reduced by £32k in 2018/19, without any discussion with the school.  Whilst this funding was not needed this year because the school had not yet been expanded, she wanted to know if this funding would be reinstated to the school next year.  Coral Miller agreed to investigated and report back to Jay Blundell;

·           Derren Gray suggested using the underspend in the contingencies to cover the overspend in the staff cover.  Coral Miller stated that this was already being considered;




1)     The comments made during the meeting would be taken into account when preparing for next year’s Budget;


2)     The 2018/19 misallocations to Central Block would be reversed as soon as possible (in this year’s figures); and


3)     The report be noted.

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