Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

91.

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Isabel Cooke, Alison Penny and Jo Haswell.

92.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any Declarations of Interest.

Minutes:

None.

93.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part I minutes of the meeting held 16 January 2018 be approved with the following clarifications:

 

·         Under the item Wellbeing Team Evaluation and Future, Members noted that the submission of the plan had been deferred to the next meeting.

·         Under the item Falling Rolls Funding 2018/19, Members received clarification that Churchmead School had met the criteria for the fund and had been allocated a budget for 2018/19.

 

Members also discussed the scheduling of meetings for the next Municipal year 2018/19. The Chairman stated the Forum needed to discuss deadlines for reports and suggested the meeting dates be scheduled first and then, Members could organise when to plan work in time for deadlines of agenda publication. Hugh Boulter stated once the meetings had been scheduled, papers should be published two weeks prior to the meeting taking place so that head teachers had a change to look at the papers and make proper representations.

 

Members noted the next meeting of the Schools Forum was to be scheduled for 18 July 2018.

94.

Schools Budget Outturn 2017-18 and school Balances

To consider the above item.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

James Norris, Lead Accountant – Children’s Accountancy stated he had some relatively good news on January 2018 projected positions and highlighted the following key points in the report:

 

The paper summarised the final outturn position of the 2017/18 Schools Budget, the funding held in the DSG reserve and the level of maintained school balances held at 31 March 2018.

 

·         The DSG opening reserve as at 31 March 2017 was a deficit of £399,000 with net earmarked project reserves of £353,000 and a general deficit of  £752,000

·         the DSG reserve as at 31 March 2018 was a deficit of £981,000 with earmarked project reserves of  £231,000 and a general deficit of £1,212,000

·         the central schools budget ended the financial year 2017/18 with an over spend of £460,000. This is funded by an increase in the DSG general defict

·         the balances of RBWM’s maintained schools at 31 March 2018 decreased by a net £100,000 to £1,937,000 in 2017/18

·         The 201718 schools budget of £61,860,000 consisting of £35,679,000 of maintained schools delegated budgets and £26,179,000 central schools budget (including Early Years). Delegated budgets were treated as spent as soon as they were delegated, and more information on maintained school balances was given in part 5 of the paper. The central schools budget ended the financial year 2017/18 with an over spend of £460,000 (0.7%).

·         There was a net in year deficit of £460,000 relating to the dedicated schools grant funded services. The in-year deficit of £460,000 would be a pressure on the dedicated schools grant which already had a deficit of £752,000 brought forward from 2016/17. The revised deficit on the dedicated schools grant would be £1,212,000.

 

The Lead Accountant – Children’s Accountancy stated the overspend was down on the last reported position due to vacancies. Early Years was overspent by £102k. the number of movements helped to reduce the overspend. The £1.2m overspend deficit would be brought forward.

 

The Chairman queried how the new National Funding Formula (NFF) was introduced. He asked what the point was of trying to reduce the deficit when others were running up debts of £30m - £40m worth of debts. The Lead Accountant – Children’s Accountancy confirmed that other Local Authorities (LA’s) did have debts of £10m but he suggested maintaining debts at appropriate levels due to the situation being unknown of what was to happen with the NFF. The Borough’s schools needed to remain cautious. The Chairman stated there was a moral position to live beyond schools means as due to other LA’s debts being greater, their children were getting a better deal and then there was the possibility that those debts would then be written off. Mike Wallace stated they needed a comparison per pupil of debt across other LA’s and to find out what they intended to do about their debts. The Lead Accountant – Children’s Accountancy confirmed that other LA’s were in more debt and the Borough’s schools were holding a steady line with regards to reducing the debts. Martin Tinsley stated his  ...  view the full minutes text for item 94.

95.

Budget Settlement 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 324 KB

To consider the above item.

Minutes:

James Norris, Lead Accountant – Children’s Services stated there had been various announcements on the budget but, they were indicative. The paper looked at the impact of what was agreed back in January 2018 and tables two, three, four and five of the report set out all the detail.

 

Tables two and three were final allocations and table four were Early Years indicative, he would not have details until later in June 2018 but would update the forum in July 2018 if the details were available in time.

 

The Chairman asked how the current position compared to the figures for 2017/18 . Tracey Nevitt, Lead Accountant stated that 2018/19 was the first year there was a separate central block. 2017/18 only had three blocks. The figures had been extracted from other blocks and then been put into a central block and this year was the first year where the full year effect could be seen and where it showed 30 full hours entitlement over £10m. she added the schools block had increased due to changes in pupil numbers and high needs had had a tiny increase of £55k.

 

The Lead Accountant, when asked with regards to basic pupil funding, were they on the intermediate funding, confirmed there had been an increase two years ago, and in 2017/18 the Borough was notified of the NFF rate but, there had been no legislation to bring in the NFF as yet. The Lead Accountant – Children’s Services stated through consultation, the Borough moved towards the rate locally back in November 2017. Members asked if an increase in pension contributions and back dated payments to support staff had been factored into the budgets yet as they made up quite a big slice. The Lead Accountant confirmed they were never factored in and the costs were not truly reflected.

 

The Chairman stated they were all waiting to hear about any increase in teacher’s salary to be funded by central government. Nurses wages had risen and that rise was not from the NHS budget, it had come from central government. If teachers’ salaries were not increased from central government, it would have a major impact on schools budgets. The Lead Accountant confirmed that it was very unusual to receive an in year settlement. The formula was usually set at the beginning of the year.

 

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Schools Forum noted and commented on the paper.

96.

Schools Forum Membership

To consider the above item.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman stated there was a time when Members were thinking if the Forum would have a role once NFF was implemented. However, the NFF was not in place and until that time, the Schools Forum needed to continue. He added there were a number of vacancies and those vacancies needed to be filled. He welcomed Frankie Walsh, Head Teach of Cox Green School, who was taking over as the academy head teach representative on the Forum. There was still another vacancy from the academy side and that could be filled at either primary or secondary level. There were also four other vacancies which needed to be filled.

 

James Norris, Lead Accountant – Children’s Services confirmed there were five vacancies in total. The guidance for the Forum stated it was for individual sectors to try and fill vacancies and officers would try and encourage people to join where they could. Martin Tinsley confirmed there was no academy representation from Windsor. The Chairman suggested circulating the list of vacancies around Windsor schools to see if anyone wanted to nominate or volunteer as a candidate. He added he wanted to check there was a sum set aside for running the Forum and if anyone could claim for time spent working in the Forum. The Lead Accountant – Children’s Services confirmed there was a fund that could be used.

 

v  Action – The Lead Accountant – Children’s Services to circulate the list of vacancies on the Schools Forum to all head teachers.

 

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Schools Forum noted and commented on the contents of the paper.

97.

Scheme for financing schools

To consider the above item.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

James Norris, Lead Accountant – Children’s Services explained the scheme was to set budgets therefore, he required Members to note and agree the implementations. He added the new scheme was currently being drafted and would be published in May 2018. Schools would be given three weeks to consult and then any feedback received would be brought back to the Schools Forum in July 2018. The Lead Accountant – Children’s Services confirmed the process should be done annually and paragraph four of the report showed where changes had to be made due to changes in legislation such as loans not be used to fund deficits.

 

The Chairman asked if the Forum would see a draft they could have input on, the Lead Accountant stated the draft would be available to view on the Borough’s website and they could comment on the document. It was to help bursars know how to operate and acted as a helpful guidance for them. It would appear on the Council’s website and possible First Class. The Lead Accountant – Children’s Services stated his team would notify schools when the consultation opened and schools would be able to comment on the draft for three weeks. A report would be presented to the Schools Forum in July 2018.

 

The Lead Accountant confirmed that if a school converted to academy status, the Secretary of State had the power to not transfer any debt or loan over to the academy, so it would be left with the LA as the government did not want LA’s to give schools loans to reduce debts. She added that currently there were only two loans outstanding which would be cleared imminently. The Chairman stated the Department for Education cleared the Desborough College loan.

 

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the schools forum noted the contents of the report and the proposed timetable for implementing the new Scheme for Financing Schools.