Council finances remain strong despite mid-year demands on services

A quarterly update on our finances will be presented to Cabinet on Wednesday 20 September. 

The update highlights how our plans are helping us manage the challenges we’re facing as a result of years of government cutbacks and rising demand for council services. 

We provide these regular updates to Cabinet to make sure we’re proactive in identifying challenges and adapting plans to manage our budget. 

Key highlights from the report: 

  • We have a plan in place to balance our 2023-2024 budget. We’re estimating to spend £17.5 million more than we set in our revenue budget, which funds day-to-day running costs. We did predict some of this and set aside some money to help pay for the pressures faced. We’ll support this with increased officer scrutiny of all spending, including tighter controls on procurement and recruitment spend. 
  • This is due to local demand pressures linked to national issues in Children's Social Care Services and pay costs, but we’ll always make our youngest residents a priority.  
  • We are updating our three-year financial plan taking us up to 2026-2027. It’s a robust plan that looks at how we can deliver services more efficiently to help meet future pressures. 

Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “Additional services pressures have put significant demands on the councils’ finances. We’re estimating to spend £17.5 million more than we set in our revenue budget. This includes £12.7 million for Children’s Services (including legal services and business intelligence costs), £3.5 million for pay inflation and £1.3 million for other costs.  

“However, we have plans in place to deal with these through increased efficiencies and the use of reserves. This means that the council remains on course to produce a balanced budget by the end of the financial year in March 2024.  

“Unlike other councils that are struggling to meet these demands, Barnsley’s overall financial position remains sound. 

“These increased costs will need to be included in future financial planning. This means the council will need to continue with its efficiency drive and look at ways to transform and reshape services if that strong financial position is to be maintained.  

"Equally, the government will need to recognise the huge pressures which exist in local government and reflect these in improved grant settlements to local authorities. This will be needed to make sure the sector overall can continue to meet its statutory obligations.”  

You can read the Corporate Finance Performance for quarter one 2023-2024 on our website. 

Read our Guide to the budget and council tax for 2023-2024 on our website for money information on how we spend our budgets.   

About our budget 

Our budget is made up of different elements under revenue and capital spending.   

The revenue budget is spent on our day-to-day running costs such as employees’ pay, schools, social care, planning, public health, bin collections and road maintenance. It's funded from a combination of government grants, fees and charges, business rates and Council Tax.  

Capital spending is separate from our revenue budget. Capital is used for investments and projects that drive Barnsley’s future forward. Capital funding comes from selling off our land and buildings, borrowing, and specific grants and contributions. Council Tax is not used to directly fund capital investments and we cannot use this funding to pay for the cost of running day-to-day services. 

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