Joint report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities (Staffordshire County Council) and Director of Resources – Assistant Chief Executive (Stoke-on-Trent City Council)
The Committee considered a report of the Director of Finance and Resources (Staffordshire County Council) and Director of Housing and Community Services (Stoke-on-Trent City Council) informing them of the predicted outturn for 2017/18 and the proposed net revenue budget for 2018/19 (Schedule 1 to the signed minutes).
The predicted outturn for 2017/18 was £718,045 against an approved budget of £746,500 which gave an underspend of £28,455. This underspend had arisen owing to managed savings on staff and lower than expected expenditure on (i) training; (ii) transport and; (iii) supplies and services.
The General Reserve currently held a balance of £31,411 (net of Heritage Lottery bid funding commitments) and the Archive Acquisition Reserve a balance of £57,542. Members noted that the City Council were seeking approval for the release of £30,000 from the General Reserve for various capital works in the Solon Room, City Central Library, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent in order to accommodate contents of the Solon, Minton and Doulton Library Collections.
The proposed net revenue budget for 2018/19 of £864,070 represented an increase of £117,570 over the previous year. Under the Joint Archives Agreement (JAA) the percentage charged between the two Authorities was 77.41% to the County Council and 22.59% to the City Council. This ratio was based on population levels across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Therefore, for 2018/19 the County Council were responsible for £668,770 and the City Council for £195,300 and both Authorities had confirmed that they had sufficient budgetary provision to meet these costs.
However, owing to pressures on both Authorities’ total budget, it was becoming increasingly difficult to achieve the exact split according to the above-mentioned ratio. It was therefore proposed that a review of the JAA be undertaken with a view to changing the apportionment for future years.
During the discussion which ensued the Member representative of the City Council sought clarification of the reasons why apportionment of the Joint Archives Budget was likely to become increasingly problematic. In reply, an officer representative of the County Council explained that previously, elements of the County Council’s contributions had been vired from budgets which lay outside the JAA. However, this facility would be unavailable from 2019/20 onwards owing to a reduction in funding. It was expected that an additional post to be included in the JAA by the City Council would have major implications for the County Council. Therefore, a change in the JAA funding mechanism was required so that the Authority could meet their commitments.
Another officer representative of the County Council commented on the timeliness for the JAA review having regard to (i) the time which had elapsed since the previous review in 2010 and; (ii) the work undertaken by both Authorities to integrate their various collections. A report would be submitted to their next meeting giving details of a proposed workable revision to the Agreement.
In response to a question from a Member of the City Council, the Officer representative of the Authority confirmed that there would be no additional costs for them arising from the proposed revisions to the JAA.
RESOLVED – (a) That the report be received and noted.
(b) That the proposed investment of £30,000 for shelving and minor capital works at the Solon Room, City Central Library, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent be approved.
(c) That a review of the Joint Archives Agreement between the County and City Councils be undertaken particularly in relation to the annual budgetary apportionment method between the two Authorities.
(d) That the 2018/19 net revenue budget be approved.