A REPORT will be brought in front of Councillors next month, which gives an in depth analysis of why nearly £5,500,000 savings earmarked for this year, were not made

At Powys County Council’s (PCC) Finance Panel meeting on Friday, February 21, Head of Finance, Jane Thomas told councillors that the report would be ready for the next meeting of the Audit Committee which takes place on March 23.

But Cllr Pete Roberts, (Liberal Democrat – Llandrindod South) chairman of the Learning and Skills Scrutiny committee believed that the report should have been finished earlier so that when councillors discuss the budget at the Full Council meeting on February 28, they would understand why PCC failed to hit this years savings target.

This would mean they would have confidence that next year’s savings could be delivered.

Ms Thomas, explained: “The nature of the budget is that it’s an estimate, you will never ever spend exactly according to the budget for that year.”

“In terms of what’s unachievable this year we were expecting all of it to be delivered in this financial year but not all the changes had been made in time to deliver 100 per-cent savings.

“These are for different reasons across the Council and what we are doing is pulling together a detailed report which will be going to the Audit Committee next month and I have asked it to be shared with the Finance Panel as well.

“It looks at every one of those cost reductions that haven’t been achieved, so that we can be clear where we are with those elements.

Ms Thomas added that she expected £1million of those undelivered savings to be found in the 2020/21 financial year.

She believed this would “limit the impact” of those savings on next years budget.

Ms Thomas added: “What remains undelivered has been looked at as we developed the budget for next year, as we’re effectively opening it up with a gap and it’s a pressure that needs to be managed.

“The cabinet when they meet next, will look to remove some of these undelivered savings on a permanent basis so that we move back to a balanced budget position before we start.

Ms Thomas said that they had “found the funding” to plug this gap.

Cllr Roberts asked: “You promised me you would have prepared a report on undelivered savings for Full Council as we prepare for the budget, so that we as councillors can have confidence in the savings being put forward for next year.”

Ms Thomas replied: “The information supplied in the budget pack on the savings proposals gives sufficient information.”

Cllr Roberts added: “You are asking us to take a leap of faith.”

Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies (Conservative – Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant & Llansilin), said: “They have all been through scrutiny, I assume that you really looked at those budgets and the issues around risk?

“You will never eliminate risk.”

This year PCC were expected to make savings of £21,692,000.

By the end of January, £14,950,000 had been found with the expectation that a further £1,300,000 would materialise by March 31, 2020.

This leaves £5,440,000 in unachievable savings, these are made of £3,060,000 in cost reduction and £2,380,000 in Social Care pressures.