How we continue to be efficient

The financial pressures that face Local Government are well known. Despite these pressures however, the Council remains committed to both the maintenance of service delivery and continuing to improve community outcomes that enhance the quality of life for the residents of Brentwood.

The Corporate Strategy 2020-2025 pdf requires that the Council is committed to seeking innovative financial solutions that will allow the Council to deliver a prosperous borough to its residents, businesses and visitors.

The fundamental principles of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy are to:

  1. Maintain a sustainable financial position against a background of unprecedented financial uncertainty and reduced government funding, including the delivery of efficiency targets.
  2. Support the vision of our Borough through appropriate identification of resources required to deliver the key priorities outlined in the Corporate Strategy.
  3. Maximise opportunities and mitigate risks associated with the fundamental change to the way in which local government is financed.

The future of Local Government finance now holds many uncertainties. Currently there have been no Government Funding forecasts announced yet for years 2022/23 and beyond. During the past year, the COVID pandemic has had a significant financial impact on the council in its role as community leader.

The Council will continue to support its residents and businesses through these challenging times, particularly the vulnerable and those in need of significant intervention to ensure they are protected. Alongside this the council is working with communities to support the pandemic recovery

The impact of the pandemic can obviously not be accurately assessed and is dependent on many factors outside the control of the council. This will be monitored on an ongoing basis and resources may need to be re-prioritised from other service areas or additional support appropriated from reserves. Central Government has also stated it will keep the level of local authority support under review.

Taking this all into consideration, the Council has continued to deliver it’s Corporate Strategy outcomes while maintaining working balances and mitigating risk through the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2021/22 the Council will primarily focus on

  1. Generating income through regeneration activity and redevelopment within the borough.
  2. The ongoing review and redesign of services which includes an organisational review of the establishment.
  3. A focus on supporting inward economic investment.
  4. Continuously Reviewing fees and charges to ensure full cost recovery, where this is not possible reviewing how the associated services are delivered to reduce costs or accepting a discounted charge in return for an appropriate community benefit.
  5. Progressing the Leisure Strategy to improve the offer of facilities in the borough generating income and efficiencies.
  6. Optimising the Council’s use of technology to enable new ways of working and improving service quality for our residents.
  7. Ensuring the Council’s assets are used efficiently and effectively
  8. Creating Green Initiatives internally and throughout the borough.

Whilst the Council will explore opportunities to identify and secure additional income with which to support services, it is clear that there is also the opportunity to balance its budget through the strict management of expenditure levels and securing efficiencies.

The Council will ensure that services continue to drive through efficiencies and continually review their working practices and operations to try and make them as efficient as possible.

How our budget is affected

The table below shows how the state of the national economy and the Government’s policy of reducing public expenditure has affected our budget.

Council tax requirement
  £’000
Council Tax Requirement in 2020/21 6,384
Net decrease in core grant funding 44
Decrease in net spending on services (2,954)
Movement of Transfer from Earmarked & General Fund Reserve 2,965
Council Tax Requirement in 2021/212 6,439

How the money is spent

The table below shows how much we plan to spend on each of the main services during 2021/22. Using a Council Tax base of 33,250.30 for the number of properties within the Borough, the below highlights how much the Council spends on service delivery per Band D property.

Planned spend
 2021/22 Planned Spend
 Corporate Priorities £’000 £/each Band D Property
Growing our Economy 1,180 35.49
Protecting our Environment 1,522 45.79
Developing our Communities 1,019 30.64
Improving Housing -612 -18.42
Delivering an Efficient and Effective Council 4,885 146.91
Total Priorities 7,994 240.41
Corporate Items 1,153 34.69
Total amount we need 9,147 275.10
Financed by:    
Other Grants 379 0
Business Rates Retention 1,634 49.13
New Home Bonus Grant 529 15.92
Collection Fund Deficit -169.93 -5.11
Council Tax - Brentwood 6,438 193.63
Council Tax - Parishes 576 17.33
Total Funding 9,387 282.30

What you pay

The Council works out how much Council Tax must be collected by adding together the money needed by each of the four authorities. The total Council Tax the Council needs to collect in 2021/22 is £6,438,256 (excluding Parish Councils).The table below shows the Council Tax for an average property in band D.

Council tax per Band D property
  Amount Needed Council Tax for each property at Band D
  £ £
Brentwood Borough Council 6,438,256 193.63
Essex County Council 44,585,660 1,340.91
Essex Police Authority 6,933,685 208.53
Essex Fire Authority 2,456,865 73.89
Total (not including Parish Councils) 60,414,466 1,816.96

 

For every £1.00 you contribute in Council Tax, 11p remains with Brentwood Borough Council.