Housing Revenue Account Provisional Outturn Report
The Committee was presented with:
- The 2019/20 provisional Housing Revenue Account Revenue Outturn and movements in the Housing Revenue Account working balances and earmarked reserves
- The 2019/20 provisional Housing Revenue Account Capital Outturn
The Principal Accountant (General Fund) advised that the report was labelled as provisional as it was still subject to the external audit process and the receipt of the final audit opinion which will come to the Finance & Audit Committee in due course.
The Principal Accountant (General Fund) directed Members to page 35 of the report which held an Executive Summary of the information in the report pertaining to the:
- HRA (Revenue)
- Housing Capital
Members were updated on other key areas of financial performance that may impact the HRA Business Plan.
Following Members comments and questions, the Director (Corporate Services), the Principal Accountant (General Fund) and the Deputy Principal Accountant explained that:
- Covid -19: £50k adverse variance – The Covid-19 pandemic increased the probability of loss of income in respect of housing and sundry debt, and as a result an additional debt impairment provision was made to offset any potential loss directly associated with the pandemic. Once year end is reached, a decision will be made on whether the provision is still required and if not then the monies will be released into the HRA Budget which will result in a positive variance. The report only went up to the 31 March 2020 and the necessary amount of bad debt provision to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 was measured to that timeframe. The initial estimates calculated through a risk assessment advised that there would be a £50K impact on rents and service charges. The figure will continue to be reviewed during the 2020-21 financial year.
- Warden Salary Recharges: £432k adverse variance – The recharges of warden’s salaries were established a number of years ago. The Warden Service salaries were removed from the budget last year following the introduction of Intensive Housing Management; the adverse variance was attributed to an adjustment made to correct an error which had resulted in the recharges remaining in the budget but no longer being required.
- Council Tax: £22k adverse variance – The Housing Revenue Account is responsible for making payment of Council Tax on empty properties which have been void for a period of one month; there were a multitude of reasons as to why a property may be vacant. Usually they were vacant for only a short period of time although some properties remained vacant for longer due to long term repairs that were required or the time taken to reflect taking longer than one month.
- In setting the budget for 2019-20 the Council made a commitment to build new homes with £7,662,300 allocated for that purpose; since the time of setting the budget there had been some slippage in delivery programmes so funds would be rolled over to this financial year to continue the commitment.
The Deputy Principal Accountant agreed to the following:
- Garage Income: £53k adverse variance –the Deputy Principal Accountant agreed to obtain further information on the delay in implementing revised charges for council-owned garages and circulate a response to the Committee
- Disabled Facility Grants – information will be circulated to the Committee explaining what the grants were, how they benefitted residents and how residents could apply for them
The Chair stated that the response to the Disabled Facility Grants should also be included in the Members Bulletin.
The Chair thanked the officers for their detailed responses.