REPORT OF: HEAD OF FINANCE & PROCUREMENT AUTHOR: GRAHAM FRIDAY TELEPHONE: 01737 276556 E-MAIL: email@example.com TO: EXECUTIVE DATE: 8TH SEPTEMBER 2005 EXECUTIVE MEMBER: COUNCILLOR M.H.C. BUTTERY AGENDA ITEM NO: 6 KEY DECISION REQUIRED: YES WARD(S) AFFECTED: ALL SUBJECT: BUDGET & FINANCIAL STRATEGY PURPOSE OF THE REPORT: Seek endorsement of the revised Financial Strategy that will form the starting point for the determination of the 2006/07 budget and Council Tax. RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. To endorse the draft Financial Strategy, including changed budget assumptions, as the starting point for the determination of the 2006/07 budget. 2. That the draft Financial Strategy be opened to formal consultation, in accordance with the Council's Policy Framework. 3. A provisional target of increasing the Band D Council Tax by 5% be established. This will equate to a required savings target of £1.55 million. Executive has authority to determine the above recommendations. Background 1. The purpose of this report is to seek approval of key budget assumptions, revising the Council’s Financial Strategy, and to identify the major pressures that will impact upon the final determination of next year’s Council Tax level. 2. Under the terms of the Policy Framework and Budget Procedure Rules in the Council’s Constitution, the Executive should make and consult on any plan, strategy or budget proposal that forms part of the policy framework and budget. A key part of this process is the annual approval of the Financial Strategy. 3. The draft Financial Strategy is required for approval at this time, as it represents the starting point from which the detailed compilation of the budget requirement will take place over the next couple of months, leading up to the Executive’s consideration of a formal Provisional budget proposal at its meeting on the 18th November 2005. 4. The proposed Financial Strategy is attached at Appendix 1 and incorporates the guiding financial principles adopted by the Executive in July in respect of the 2006/09 Corporate Plan. 5. The Financial Strategy should in its presentation clearly show how resources are going to be allocated to support the deliverability of the Council’s Corporate Plan. This year is the transitional year between the old and the new Corporate Plans, therefore the Financial Strategy cannot at this time fully reflect the objectives of the new Plan until they have been formally approved, but it does provide the overall financial environment within which the financing of the new Corporate Plan can be considered. Resource Implications 6. The attached Financial Strategy contains a significant amount of detail. Potential Council Tax increases are set out on page xxx based on current service levels. 7. Work is still underway on the impact of the 2006/09 Corporate Plan. A report on costs of the proposed governance arrangements will be brought forward to the next Executive, as will a report on a revised capital programme. For the purpose of this report it is assumed that a 1% "floor" approach is employed by the Government, ensuring a cash increase on the previous years grant. 8. The Financial Strategy projections must be treated as very provisional, it should be noted that based upon current information, savings of some £1.55 million will be required to ensure a Council Tax increase of 5%. This is before any additional resource requirement being needed to fund the 2006/09 Corporate Plan as an exercise is currently under way to identify any extra costs linked to the successful implementation of the plan. 9. It is therefore recommended that a savings target be established at this early stage of the 2006/07 budget construction process, with proposals being presented to the Executive in November. 10. During the budget process Officers will closely scrutinise the following areas of the Council’s overall budget: • Cost of providing the current level of services. • Potential for generating more Capital receipts from asset sales. • Review of the need for provision within the current Capital spend programme. • Potential for alternative ways of providing current services. • Options for potential discontinuation of existing functions. 11. A timetable of the key stages within the 2006/07 budget process is set out at Appendix 2. Policy Framework 12. The Council’s budget is, in effect, a financial representation of its policies and priorities as determined by the Corporate Plan. The Financial Strategy is an integral part of the process. 13. Under the Council’s current Policy Framework the Financial Strategy is currently a Level 2 document which requires the Executive to formally consult on it with the Overview & Scrutiny Committee. Conclusion 14. The Financial Strategy is an important element of the Council's decision- making framework. Assumptions contained within it have a significant influence on a number of important areas, including Council Tax levels. 15. This report sets out a draft Financial Strategy for Executive consideration. The Strategy will be refined as a result of developments such as the outcome of the “Balance of Funding Review”, the Local Government Finance Settlement and updated information on, amongst others, prices and new legislative requirements. 16. It is proposed, in November, to bring forward a 2006/07 budget report that will reflect both the Corporate Plan 2006/09, the outcome of the officer budget review process and the views of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee. Background Papers: APPENDIX 1 REIGATE & BANSTEAD BOROUGH COUNCIL MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY 2006/07 to 2008/09 1. Introduction The purpose of the strategy is to set out in financial terms how much the Council might wish to spend over the next three financial years on the provision of its services and how this level of spend could be funded. The strategy is therefore a financial representation of the Council’s objectives. 2. Section One: National, Regional Context This part of the strategy identifies key external issues that will have some impact upon the Council’s budget. All issues are of an on-going nature and their impacts are quantified to the best of current knowledge and understanding for inclusion within the annual provisional budget report. 2.1. New Legislation/Transfer of Functions The following legislative and regulatory changes or transfer of functions will impact on the Council’s finances over the duration of the strategy:- • Full implementation of the Licensing Act 2003 • Private Sector Housing Act 2004 • Air Quality • Anti-Social Behaviour • Contaminated Land • Concessionary Fares • Benefits Payments • Waste Management and Landfill 2.2. Amendment to Central Government Grant Mechanism The Government is currently undertaking a review of the way Local Government is funded. The outcome of that review should be known within the next year and any subsequent changes will therefore have an impact on the Council in years 2 & 3 of this strategy. 2.3. Government Grant On 19th July the Government published a document on changes to the formulae used to distribute grant to English authorities. It presents 39 questions and 49 options for changes to grant formulae, not all of which impact directly upon District Councils. Key aspects of the consultation for District Councils include:- • Possible move away from notional measures of spend. • Introduction of two-year settlement announcement for 2006/07 and 2007/08, with three-year settlements thereafter. • Specific revenue grants to be allocated on a three-year forward basis. • £350 million added to control totals to reflect the need to spend additional money for free concessionary fares for people over 60 and disabled people, as announced in the Chancellor's 2005 Budget. • Increase in fixed cost element from £300,000 to £325,000. • Options around funding the grant "floor". 2.4. Capping For 2005/06 eight authorities were capped, against the following criteria:- • An increase of more than 6% over their 2004/05 budget; and • An increase in Council Tax of more than 5.5%. The Minister for Local Government announced on 7 July 2005 that ‘we will not hesitate to use our capping powers in future years to deal with excessive increases if this proves necessary’. 2.5. Council Tax and Business Rate Revaluation Council Tax revaluation will be implemented from 2007/08, according to current government plans. It is too soon to quantify the impact on the Council's financial position. For example it is not yet clear whether there will be a change in the number of Council Tax Bands. The experience in Wales - where no new bands were introduced - was of significant changes between bands. It is anticipated that there will be a significant volume of appeals against the new valuations, which will have to be handled by the Council, at a cost. Both the revaluation itself – which is carried out by the District Valuer, not by the Council - and any appeal process may impact on the collection of the Council Tax, with an adverse effect on the Council’s cashflow and interest earnings. There will probably be some form of transitional arrangements to mitigate any significant effects but these will only be known closer to the time. 2.6 Depreciation The Government has begun a consultation process on the introduction of full depreciation accounting for Local Government assets. This will bring Local Government accounting in line with standard commercial practice. No deadline for introducing this has been yet identified, but the likelihood is that it might impact on the final year of this strategy. The change might have a direct impact on council tax requirement, as assets might have to be funded directly from revenue as opposed to being funded from capital receipts. The other change proposed in the consultation is that Councils should ensure that the impact of depreciation is properly taken account of when evaluating options on service delivery or asset acquisition. 3. Section Two: Local Context 3.1. Economic Factors National interest rates are now anticipated to be at the top of the economic cycle, and the band within which interest rates will fluctuate over the course of the 10 years or so has narrowed significantly. This will have a significant impact upon the Council’s income streams. All income streams will be critically assessed during the detailed budget process to evaluate their robustness against economic activity data. 3.2. Returns on Investment Until now the Council has benefited from higher investment returns gained from the prudent investment of money three years ago. These investments are starting to reach their maturity dates. With interest rates having recently eased, the potential yields that the Council can generate from its investments will reduce. This will cause upward pressure on the Council's budget. The other major impact on returns from investment is the Council's capital spending plans. Spending on capital is financed from the money that is currently invested. For every £100,000 spent on capital items the Council Tax account will loss between £4,500 to £5,000 in investment income. The Council also benefits from earning interest on the developer contributions, known as Planning Gains (under Section 106 agreements), which have been received but not yet spent. The Council has currently accumulated a sum of over £4.3 million in cash contributions. The Council is now starting to approve spending programmes for that money, which will also over the course of time further reduce the investment income earned. The current policy on interest earned on a Section 106 agreement is to take the interest to benefit the Council Tax, unless there is a specific requirement within the Section 106 agreement to apply interest to maintain the purchasing power over the time it takes to spend it. Current plans indicate that from 2007/08 onwards the Council will start to see a net outflow of cash as the current pool of contributions starts to be spent. This will create further long- term pressures on Council tax increases. It is therefore proposed to change the approach to accounting for interest on all new Section 106 contributions received after the 1st April 2005. From that date all interest earned on new contributions will be placed in a specific reserve until those contributions have been spent, at that time it will be classified as surplus to requirement and will then be available for use to either off set Council Tax increases or fund one-off initiatives. Work will continue to optimise returns on the money markets. At the same time the Council will continue to rigorously review its property assets for disposal. Consideration will also be given to developing a policy on property investment. 3.3. Pension Fund – Deficit The slow recovery of the stock market and the increase in life expectancy will maintain the pressure on the Surrey Pension Fund and, therefore, on the Council’s contributions. The 2004 statutory review has identified the need for the Council to increase its contributions over the next three years, by over £807,000. The Council currently uses a Pension Equalisation Reserve to smooth out the impacts of the reviews. At current contribution levels this reserve will be eliminated by 2007/08. 3.4. Insurance Fund Over the last two years the Council has deferred the impact of increased insurance costs on the Council Tax by funding a significant proportion from the Insurance Reserve. This means that the premiums currently outstrip the amount borne by revenue budgets by £310,000 per annum. The value of the reserve at the 31st March 2005 was £502,000. The minimum level of balance recommended from the Council’s Insurance brokers to cover any unforeseen events is between £500,000 and £750,000. The fund is able to provide the support for 2005/06 but from then onwards there will be a risk to the Council should it continue to do so and a significant adverse event happen. To mitigate this risk this strategy assumes that the support to revenue from the reserve will be phased out during 2006/07 and 2007/08. 3.5. VAT Partial Exemption Limit. Under current VAT regulations, the Council is able to recover the VAT on expenditure that relate to activities/services (such as Parks, Markets, and Council Properties for which we generate commercial income) which themselves then are ‘Exempt’ from the Council having to charge VAT to the customer. The amount of VAT that is recoverable on these activities should not exceed 5% of the total VAT that the Council pays in any year. The total VAT paid in 2004/05 was £2.350 million, creating a 5% partial exemption limit of just under £118,000. The actual percentage for 2004/05 was 3.50%. The position is being constantly monitored and adjustments being made to ensure that the Council does not exceed the 5% limit. 3.6. Prudential Code The Council has now implemented the new Prudential Code, with the relevant new performance indicators now being included within this strategy. The purpose of the new Code is to provide Local Authorities with more freedom to make their own decisions on how to use the money market to help finance their capital expenditure. To ensure that Local Authorities use their new power in a sensible way the Code requires a Local Authority to ensure that they can afford the additional costs of borrowing within their Council Tax levels. To ensure that this affordability test is open and transparent, the Code established the need for a Local Authority to provide estimates of the impact on the Council Tax over a three year period and to estimate and monitor specific performance indicators. At present it is more cost effective for the Council to consume its own reserves to finance capital investment, than to use borrowing as an alternative means of finance. In other words – due to our financial resources - we can avoid paying the premiums associated with borrowing on the money markets. The Council might wish to consider using borrowing, where it can be assured that the additional ‘cost of borrowing’ is being paid for from resources which are additional to the Council Tax, i.e. Lottery Funding, Government Grants etc; or from efficiency savings or additional income streams that will be generated from making the capital investment. This strategy and the Treasury Management Strategy assume that the Council wishes to maintain its ‘Debt Free’ status and that the new borrowing powers are limited to major income generating schemes that come from the 2006/09 Corporate Plan. This reflects the guiding financial principles for 2006/09 Corporate Plan adopted by the Executive on 14th July 2005. 4. Section Four: Priorities 4.1. The Financial Strategy - Aims To optimise the monetary resources available:- In order to provide the money to meet policy objectives; Whilst providing prudent financial management to manage the level of Council Tax at an affordable level; and Whilst underpinning future service delivery. 4.2. The Financial Strategy - Purpose The purpose of the Financial Strategy is to:- Help elected Members determine the affordability of initiatives to which the Council is committed. Help determine the timing of priorities. Provide realistic forecasts of long-term expenditure commitments and funding requirements. Show the likely implications of changes in legislation on spending Forecast the financial impact of changes in demand for services. Match demand with likely resources. Provide a framework for programming activities by individual services. The main components of Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s Financial Strategy are set out in Annex A. The Financial Strategy is a Level 2 strategy, which supports the Council’s Corporate Plan (Level 1), and is itself supported by two other Level 3 strategies, which should be read in conjunction with this strategy. • Capital Investment Strategy • Treasury Management Strategy In order to convert the above aims into financial projections the strategy has to make assumptions on some key financial data streams. These assumptions are set out on Annex B. 5. Section Five: Annexes Annex A Medium Term Financial Strategy – Main Components Annex B Medium Term Financial Strategy – Key Assumptions Annex C Preliminary Medium Term Financial Projections ANNEX A MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY - MAIN COMPONENTS No Detail 1. Policy Focused The Financial Strategy will work on the key principle of maintaining the level of Council Tax at affordable level for the residents. Corporate priorities are translated into growth and savings plans in a transparent way. Within service areas growth and savings proposals reflect service priorities. Growth items linked to corporate priorities are monitored discretely to ensure outcomes are delivered. 2. Planned Medium to Revenue is planned on a 3 year rolling programme, by function. Long Term Capital is planned on a 5 year rolling programme, by corporate theme (Timescale that will areas. allow services to be rationalised/re- Projections are based on assumptions that are regularly revisited. engineered and improved) Interest earned from capital receipts is a discrete element. Income and charges are a discrete element. A Continuous 3. The Council will maintain a continuous approach to identifying and Process (not one-off delivering improvements in cost efficiency across all of its functions. exercise) The impact of decisions made in one area on other areas is reflected i.e. how all services including support and overheads will be impacted. Growth & Savings must describe how the BVPIs and other performance measures will be impacted. Targets linking spend and performance are identified for functional planning and monitoring purposes. 4. Ensures Value For Services whether purchased externally or provided internally should offer Money value for money/best value; i.e. the required quality at an affordable cost. All risks are identified and assessed in making value for money decisions. Investment of capital resource will be based on full option appraisals and whole life costings. Options will be evaluated using a ‘Net Present Value’ approach. The target will be for all investments to return a ‘Zero’ NPV within five years. 5. Releases Resources The Council will set itself an annual efficiency target of around 2.5%. This or Achieves Savings will accord with the requirements of the ‘Gershon’ initiative. Resources released through savings will be redirected to either fund new initiatives or to maintain the affordability of the level of the Council Tax. Specific operational reserves, entitled the Organisational Development Fund and the Front Line Initiative Fund will be used to finance ‘time limited’ No Detail items of expenditure. The Council will continue to specifically reserve the capital receipt generated from the LSVT, any use of this investment will have to generate a Net Present Value of “zero” from the options appraisal. The investment in the Council change programme will demonstrate a “zero” Net Present Value by 2012. Minimum balances of 15% of net budget or £2.5 Million (whichever is the lower) will be maintained to cover emergencies. 6. Levers Additional The Council will maximise resources, whether capital or revenue, by Resources bidding for any available grants or resources, including partnership monies. Bidding to be priority based within context of the Corporate Plan. The Council will operate a strategic approach to its property, meaning that it might • Invest in property/land in order to meet its medium-long term objectives. • Dispose of assets where it makes sense financially and operationally • Share facilities where it makes financial and operational sense to do so. All Fees and Charges will be reviewed annually and all discretionary charges optimised in line with an agreed policy. ANNEX B MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY – KEY ASSUMPTIONS These assumptions support the Council's annual budget and medium-term Financial Strategy, and underpin the objectives set out in the Community and Corporate Plans Policy Objectives Supported by the Medium-Term Financial Forecast 1. To set Council Tax annually, having regard to inflation, the additional costs incurred in meeting new Government requirements and levels of Government grant support. 2. To preserve the cash receipt from LSVT, to provide the Council with a source of ongoing investment income, and as a source of finance for "invest to save" initiatives. 3. To maintain the Council's unallocated reserve (shown on the balance sheet as the General Fund Reserve) at 15% of the net revenue budget or £2.5 million, whichever is the lower. This balance is to be reported to Members and remedial action will be agreed whenever the forecast balance varies by more than +/- 10% of the target amount. 4. To optimise the potential benefits that come from the efficient operation of the Council’s overall capital financing and treasury management activities, in accordance with the Prudential Code and the Code of Practice for Treasury Management in the Public Services. 5. To maintain the Council’s Debt Free status whilst keeping the position under review. 6. To optimise income from discretionary fees and charges, the working assumption is that discretionary fees and charges should normally be increased by at least inflation, and as a minimum recover all costs associated with providing that service or function. 7. To achieve corporate efficiency savings of, on average, 2.5% per annum over a three-year period (defined as 2.5% of the direct expenditure budget after inflation, excluding windfall savings). These savings will be redirected into a corporate pot for decision by Members (e.g. redistribution towards a combination of key services and keeping Council Tax at an acceptable level). 8. To ensure that the pension fund is fully funded as soon as practicable. 9. To consider the disposal of property assets where the return on the investment may not be greater than from an equivalent Money Market investment. 10. To consider the acquisition of ‘investment’ properties where the investment return would be greater than from an equivalent Money Market investment; reflecting strategic objectives. 11. Adequate provision is made to ensure that the Council maintains its property assets in a condition for make them fit for purpose and compliant with all necessary governing regulations (e.g. Health & Safety). Technical Cost Assumptions Built Into the Medium-Term Financial Forecast 12. Inflation will be determined annually as part of the budget setting round, based upon the best available information. For the purposes of financial forecasting the rates of inflation will be assumed to be:- 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 Cost of Living (RPI(X)) 2.5% 2.5% 2.6% General Inflation (CPI) 1.9% 2.0% 2.1% Source: HM Treasury – Forecasts for the UK Economy, A Comparison of Independent Forecasts 13. The level of discretionary income will be increased, as a minimum, by RPI(X), and set to recover all associated costs. 14. The Government will continue to operate a "floor damping" approach to Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and Reigate & Banstead will be at the floor. 15. The Council will remain within its partial exemption limit from VAT. 16. The Collection Fund is assumed to be in balance. 17. The revenue implications of the approved capital programme are built into the financial forecast. 18. All expenditure will be treated as being revenue expenditure. Capitalisation of costs will be part of the financing of the capital expenditure, to accord with Section 2 of the Local Government Act 2003 Prudential Indicators 19. The annual budget and medium-term forecast for the return on the Council's investments is set by the Council following receipt of advice from the Council's fund managers. 20. Capital Financing Requirement will be:- Zero for all years within the Financial Strategy, because the Council currently aims to retain its ‘Debt Free’ status. 21. The limits of external debt for the following three years will be:- 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 Authorised £ 40m £ 30m £ 20m Operational £ 35m £ 25m £ 15m 22. Ratio of Financing Costs to Net Revenue Stream will be:- Zero for all years within the Financial Strategy, because the Council is maintaining its ‘Debt Free’ status. 24. The projected earning rate from the Council’s net investments will be as follows 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 4.50% 4.25% 4.25% This assessment is based on information received from the Council’s external Treasury Management Advisor. ANNEX C COUNCIL TAX PROJECTIONS 2006/07 TO 2008/09 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 £000 £000 £000 Employees1 18,220 18,812 19,441 Other Costs 33,288 34,739 36,769 Income -36,659 -36,630 -37,393 Base Budget 14,850 16,921 18,817 Add: Loss of interest: Investment Income 735 200 20 Capital Programme (general)2 100 260 155 Warwick Quadrant3 130 - - Highways 50 - - Redevelopment Schemes 105 - - Incremental salary growth 165 136 140 Pensions: increased payments 294 297 300 Pensions Provision shortfall 196 713 - Insurance 160 165 - Other commitments 136 125 - Revised Base Budget4 16,921 18,817 19,432 Less: Government Funding5 -5,961 -6,021 -6,081 Council Tax Requirement 10,960 12,796 13,351 Average Band D Council Tax6 £199 £233 £243 Percentage Increase 22.3% 16.8% 5.6% Savings Required to Reduce Council Tax Increase to 5%7 £1,550,000 £1,370,000 £60,000 1. Assumes inflation-only salary increases. 2. Excludes Corporate Plan, HMP and specific schemes listed. 3. Income from the Warwick Quadrant purchase is included in the Income line above. 4. Does not include any growth for Concessionary Fares and assumes no other growth pressures. 5. Assumes 1% growth, no impact from Revaluation and no impact from the Lyons Review. 6. Current average Band D charge is £163. 7. Assumed Capping limit. APPENDIX 2 2006/07 BUDGET PEER CHALLENGE, SERVICE & FINANCIAL PLANNING & CORPORATE PLANNING TIMETABLE (July 2005 – March 2006) Budget Peer Challenge Service Planning Process Executive / Council Overview & Scrutiny Corporate Plan Process W/C 2006/07 2006/07 Involvement Involvement 2006/09 Executive approve draft Plan for 11.07.05 consultation (14.7.05) Service Planning & Budget Formal Consultation period – 18.07.05 Preparation guidance issued to start (18.7.05) Heads of Service (18.7.05) ‘State of The Borough’ debate 25.07.05 incl. consideration of draft Plan (28.7.05) 01.08.05 Revised Budget guidance and 08.08.05 working papers issued to Heads of Service (w/c 8.8.05) 15.08.05 22.08.05 29.08.05 O&S Committee Budget & Service Planning Review Panel Departmental Management Updated Financial Strategy examine Financial Strategy Formal Consultation period – end 05.09.05 Team validate Efficiency Plans considered and approved by the (9.9.05) and Growth Bid and prepare Executive (7.9.05) Budget Peer Challenge Service Planning Process Executive / Council Overview & Scrutiny Corporate Plan Process W/C 2006/07 2006/07 Involvement Involvement 2006/09 submission to the Peer Review Panel meetings (6.9.05 - Heads of Service to have compiled 20.9.05) the following bundle of integrated documents (16.9.05):- • Draft function plans, including draft 2006/07 budget CMT review documentation requirements, costed Efficiency from the Service Units that are Plan and documented Growth to be subject of review by the 12.09.05 Bid requests O&S Committee Budget & • Service Plan updated to cover Service Planning Review Panel "Core Function" requirements for (13.9.05) the period 2006/07 to 2008/09 • Updated Human Resource Plan • Updated Operational Risk Register 19.09.05 Peer Review Panel consider submission from the DMT's Following formal consultation, 26.09.05 and prepare recommendations O&S Committee undertake Executive recommend adoption on Growth & efficiency savings review of documentation from of draft Plan to Council (29.9.05) (21.9.05 - 7.10.05) nominated Service Units 03.10.05 CMT consider O&S Ctte consider Adoption of Corporate Plan by 10.10.05 recommendations from Peer recommendations to Executive Council (13.10.05) Review Panel (11.10.05) on Financial Strategy (12.10.05) 17.10.05 CMT/Leader consider Provisional Executive receive O&S 24.10.05 Budget report (17.10.05 - 4.11.05) comments on Financial Strategy (27.10.05) 31.10.05 Report on Budget process 07.11.05 considered by O&S Committee (10.11.05) Provisional Budget approved for Period of time for the O&S 14.11.05 formal consultation by Executive Committee to scrutinise (17.11.05) Provisional Budget report 21.11.05 (18.11.05 - 2.1.06) 28.11.05 Budget update report to 05.12.05 Executive (if needed) Budget Peer Challenge Service Planning Process Executive / Council Overview & Scrutiny Corporate Plan Process W/C 2006/07 2006/07 Involvement Involvement 2006/09 12.12.05 19.12.05 26.12.05 02.01.06 Presentation of all (draft) Service O&S Committee consider 09.01.06 Plans to Council Members (Meeting recommendation on provisional date to be determined) budget (11.1.06) Executive receive comments from O&S Committee on 16.01.06 Provisional Base Budget (19.1.06) Budget, Service, HR Plans approved by the Executive, 23.01.06 taking on-board the recommendations from the O&S Committee (26.1.06) 30.01.06 06.02.06 Draft Budget Book incorporating Service Plans amended in light of Budget approved by Council 13.02.06 the approved 2006/09 Corporate (16.2.06) Plan and amendments to Budget, published (14.2.06) 20.02.06 27.02.06 Combined Council Tax/ Performance Plan leaflet issued 06.03.06 with Council Tax demand (1st week in March) Note: Formation of four Policy Development Groups (based on four Corporate Plan themes) and the PDG’s development of four corresponding Strategic Action Plans for recommendation to Executive, to be plotted in the final column on the above timetable once dates are provisionally agree and diarised. This will be subject of separate guidance with work commencing in September 2005.