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0 votes
Apologies if this is obvious. I’m very new on post.

The committee want to spend some of the 23/24 budget on a local event. They fund this event yearly, but want to resolve the spend from next years budget at tomorrows meeting. They have nothing remaining in the budget this year (22/23).

Surely they cannot resolve to money from the 23/24 budget before the relevant financial year starts? Would the best they could do not be to recommend this expenditure to next years committee?
by (160 points)

3 Answers

0 votes

Unless all the headers are completely depleted (and that would be a perilous state to get into) movement 'from' another underspent allocation 'into' this allocation would be the correct process - assuming it is voted and approved.  Not difficult, clerk should know this...

  1. 4.2.  No expenditure may be authorised that will exceed the amount provided in the revenue budget for that class of expenditure other than by resolution of the council, or duly delegated committee. During the budget year and with the approval of council having considered fully the implications for public services, unspent and available amounts may be moved to other budget headings or to an earmarked reserve as appropriate (‘virement’).

by (18.2k points)
Thanks for such a quick answer!

They do not want to vire from other budget lines as still have separate hopes for those monies.

I have recommended that they resolve to recommend to next years committee that the event be funded from the relevant budget line.
Would this be correct in the circumstances?
What is the date of the event?
If it is in next FY just wait until 1 Apr to vote?
Summer 2023.

The chairs view is that without a resolution confirming the money now how can they plan ahead.
0 votes
Am I being too simple ... the committee cannot "spend some of the 23/24 budget on a local event" because they haven't got it yet.  Unless something is different in your area, you will not receive 'next year's budget' until April when the principal authority sends it to you.
by (9.6k points)
Apologies, they are not wanting to actually hand over the money this financial year, but simply resolve to spend it next year.
But yes I agree with you
In that case they have done what you wanted them to do (although you and the council have arrived at the same answer by a different route).  The council has, in effect, allocated some of next year's budget to the event you refer to.  Job done.
My concern remains that they are, in essence, promising money from next years budget, when the committee could be made up entirely of different councillors next year who wish to use the money in different ways and arrive to see some of their budget already spent. If that makes sense?
It makes perfect sense.  Equally, those 'different councillors' could decide not to proceed with the payment (assuming the current council has not entered into a binding contract).
Thanks for your assistance on this.

So I suppose it’s just down to the clerk to direct council to resolve to ‘allocate’ money from next years budget, as opposed to pay it?
That way should ‘next years’ committee disagree they can spend / not spend as they wish?
I suppose so.  BTW - the council directs the clerk - not the other way round!
I think this is getting a little complicated.  Firstly, the council is a corporate body, a single entity if you like, regardless of those who make up the council at any time.  Decisions made now for the immediate future are binding whether or not there is an election or simply a different set of people in that "committee".  Once a decision is made most standing orders say that it cannot be revisited unless there is a material change in circumstances (and a change of opinion is not a change in circumstances).  That does not, of course, mean that a decision now is binding forever, but like all decisions may need to be reviewed (if not necessarily changed) over time.
As I understand the exchange here the council want to agree an event/activity that will take place during the next financial year which, presumably, has been included in the budget for next year anyway.  I can see nothing to suggest from what has been said that the proposal can't be put now, regardless of the fact that the actual event takes place in the next financial year.  These things tend to take a while to organise anyway.
Of course a decision can be changed.
It’s called a recission motion.
If there is a significant change of Cllrs, of course it is materially relevant if the new majority hold a different opinion to that expressed by predecessors.
Never heard such rubbish as decisions of predecessors are binding on subsequent Cllrs.
Just no……
0 votes
A council does have to make some decisions regarding the following year especially setting the budget and precept.

Some councils have two year contracts around election period to ensure continuation of services such as grass cutting etc

I agree it’s a worry if your council is “borrowing” from next years money as most councils do not have an overdraft facility.
by (6.3k points)
Agreed, the question is a bit misleading - it is an allocation rather than a spend.
No problem making a budgetary allocation from the forthcoming year - in fact, that is the essence of financial planning.

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