Agenda and draft minutes

Rescheduled from 28 June 2024, Financial Strategy Advisory Group - Friday, 12th July, 2024 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Epsom Town Hall

Contact: Email:  tel: 01372 732000

No. Item


Appointment of Acting Chair


In the absence of the Chair, Councillor Neil Dallen, Councillor Hannah Dalton was nominated as Acting Chair for the meeting by Councillor Woodbridge. The nomination was unanimously agreed by the Advisory Group.


Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or other registrable or non-registrable interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.


No declarations of interest were made by councillors regarding items on the agenda for the meeting.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 211 KB

The Group is asked to confirm as a true record the Minutes of the Meeting of the Group held on 26 January 2024 (attached) and to authorise the Chair to sign them.


The minutes of the Financial Strategy Advisory Group meeting held on 26 January 2024 were agreed as a true record to be signed by the Chair.


2025/26 Strategic Financial Planning pdf icon PDF 877 KB

This report seeks guidance on the approach to producing the Council’s budget for 2025/26.

Additional documents:


Following consideration of the report’s contents, the Group discussed the following points:

·                     The government funding assumptions are expected to be updated and reported to members after the first budget of the new government administration due in the Autumn.

·                     The background of the proposed increase in discretionary fees and charges income of 6%.

·                     Opportunities for partnership working.

·                     The current Homelessness position and potential impact on the future budget gap.

·                     Future Council Tax increases and the cost of increased demand for Council services.

Following the discussion, the Group moved to consider the report recommendations, which were agreed as follows:

(1)      The proposed approach to 2025/26 budget setting as set-out in sections 7 and 8 of the report;

(2)      That officers work to progress the workstreams set out in section 7 of the report, to produce specific income generation and savings options, in addition to savings already targeted;

(3)      That the proposed Five Year Plan and the budget process are aligned to ensure that any commitments are affordable;

(4)      The budget reporting timetable in Appendix 1 to the report.



Review of Reserves pdf icon PDF 927 KB

This report presents a review of reserves and recommends minimum reserve balances to ensure sound management of the Council’s finances.

Additional documents:


The following matters were debated by Councillors:

·                     Opportunities to replenish reserves.

·                     The value of Council assets compared with the level of debt held by the Council.

Following consideration of the above matters and the report’s contents, the Group moved to consider the report recommendations, which were agreed as follows:

(1)      Consider and review whether the overall level of reserves and contingencies are appropriate for the sound management of the Council’s finances;

(2)      Review the individual reserve and contingency balances and consider whether to support the recommended minimum balances in the report;

(3)      Support the proposed transfer of £0.5m from the Collection Fund Equalisation Reserve to the Corporate Projects Reserve.