Finance and Performance
In North West Leicestershire financial management is underpinned by value for money. We manage our budgets carefully and sensibly and this allows us to provide excellent value for money in our services. We invest in key schemes and infrastructure that make a real difference in our communities, whilst balancing the books and planning for the future.
Our revenue budgets total £32 million for 2019/20 and our five year capital investment programme totals an ambitious £68 million due to the level of investment in assets within the district. We hold a generous £30 million in reserves, with £13 million in place to repay Housing Revenues Account (HRA) self-financing loans due for redemption in 2022, and £4.2 million specifically set aside to protect the council from projected future deficit years and the risk of being unable to deliver a balanced budget. We also maintain healthy and prudent member-approved minimum levels of reserves of £1.5 million and £1 million for the General Fund and HRA respectively.
Our borrowing is in line with prudential guidelines and is affordable and sustainable. Between 2019 and 2022 we are developing a new £23 million leisure facility in Coalville, predominantly funded through internal reserves. This significant investment will see the council need to borrow to fund its ongoing General Fund Capital Programme from 2022.
We perform well against the CIPFA Financial Resilience Index and have unqualified audit opinion in respect of our financial and value for money audits. Our financial performance is scrutinised by our Corporate Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet on a quarterly basis as part of integrated council performance reporting.
We are one of the top performing districts across in England in respect of growth in business rates and New Homes Bonus with over 60% of General Fund activities now provided by these funding streams. This means that the local government funding reviews present a very real threat to the council’s ongoing financial sustainability. In response our Medium Term Financial Strategy (which was developed in 2018) created the Journey to SelfSufficiency Programme, which in turn led to a new self-sufficiency reserve and implemented a new approach in refreshing the medium term financial plans twice a year.
Our Medium Term Financial Strategy focuses on the holistic council financial position. It launched our Journey to Self-Sufficiency programme in 2018 that promotes self-sufficiency and the safeguarding of the council’s financial position against anticipated future central government funding changes, whilst also maximising the use of government grant and local income.
The strategy’s Medium Term Financial Plan is looked at on a biannual basis - the plan is rebased in February as part of setting the forthcoming year’s budget and also reviewed the following July to assess the impact of the previous year’s outturn and assess the reasonableness of assumptions in light up more up to date information.