Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex RM17 6SL
Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk
The Mayor paid his respect to former Councillor Jan Baker who had sadly passed.
Councillor J Kent extended those condolences and announced that former Councillor Peter Maynard had sadly passed today.
A one-minute silence was held.
Declaration of Interests
To receive any declaration of interests from Members.
There were no interests declared.
The Mayor invited the Acting Director of Finance and Section 151 Officer, Jonathan Wilson, to present the report which had set out the background to the Section 114 report issued on the 19 December 2022. This was a statutory report which confirmed the council would not have the resources to deliver its expenditure in the current financial year and would seek exceptional financial support from Central Government. This had been followed by an intervention package which had been implemented by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on the 2 September 2022 in response to the considered failures of the Council in respect to the best value duties. This included the scale of the financial and commercial risks faced by the authority which had links to specific investments made by the Council under the investment strategy that was in place.
The quarter 2 report presented to cabinet on the 14 December 2022 confirmed the current assessed level of that financial risk and the projected loss for 2022/23 as £452 million and the details of that figure were contained within the report. Further assistance would be required for 2023/24, which would enable a budget to be set with a current projected funding gap at £184 million.
The Council would need to demonstrate to government that it was taking all action possible to improve the financial position. This was in addition to seeking financial support. Further reports would be presented to the relevant committees setting out those plans. The impacts of the Section 114 on the Council meant the Council would not enter into any new agreements for expenditure and that would last at least until the 31 March 2024. This would be supported by a controlled framework which was set out in the report. This would apply to all statutory services.
Jonathan Wilson stated the Section 114 report was a serious matter and would impact on the future operating model of the Council. The Council would continue to operate statutory services including those services for children and adults and continue to pay all existing creditors and contracts. The meeting had been required to take place for the Council to consider the contents of the report with elected members, taking responsibility to make choices and decisions to reduce costs immediately and to support the reduction of that deficit.
The Mayor then invited the Acting Chief Executive to speak. Ian Wake stated the report provided a response, on behalf of the Head of Paid Service and more broadly Directors’ Board, to the Acting Section 151 Officer’s report. Ian Wake stated this was a report that no officer ever wanted to have to write or present nor one that Members wanted to hear. The situation set out in the Section 151 Officer’s report was an incredibly serious one that required urgent, concerted and ongoing action by the entire organisation to support a path back to financial and operational sustainability.
The in-year deficit of £452 million in this financial year and £184 million ... view the full minutes text for item 92.