Issue - meetings

Capital Financial Management Project - Closure Report

Meeting: 13/12/2023 - Resources and Fire & Rescue Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 10)

10 Capital Financial Management Project - Closure Report pdf icon PDF 117 KB

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The item was introduced by Liz Firmstone (Head of Finance Transformation and Transactions). She said a review had been undertaken, which listed a series of recommendations for improving ways of working. A long-term investment in infrastructure was essential to help deliver the priorities that had been identified, although this was being done against an increasingly challenging financial landscape of increased energy costs, borrowing costs, inflation and high competition for resources. These challenges, and cost increases and delays to some major projects, were key drivers to the project. Liz Firmstone said the project’s recommendations, which would reduce risk and improve governance, had now been implemented. Capital management would now be more clearly driven by the Council’s priorities.


A key change had been the creation and implementation of a Capital Strategy Group, which comprised directors involved in the key elements of the capital programme. Other priorities implemented included a new fund to resource costing exercises for new projects. These schemes could bid for funding that would enable them to do more detailed design work, so that future costings would be more accurate and reliable. There was also a revised budget monitoring model that included new performance measures to assess which schemes were delivering on time and on budget. A report summarising examples of good practice and lessons learnt was due to be published in the new year.

Councillor Sinclair stated his belief there was a difference between delivery of a project, and what that project would achieve. He said future reports should outline whether a project’s initial target was met. Councillor Sinclair gave the example of the Stratford park and ride scheme, which he said had had a large amount of capital spent on it but was still being under utilised. Liz Firmstone said the annual report included case study examples that showed the outcomes that were successfully delivered. Councillor Tromans said it was his understanding that it had previously been agreed that benefits realisations of capital projects were to be included in future reports. Rob Powell (Executive Director, Resources) said benefits were matters to be considered by the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committees, but that officers could consider proportionate mechanisms to report on benefits tracking in future, taking account of the significant resource constraints facing the Authority.

Councillor Butlin said many capital projects related to schemes that were vitally important, such as schools and road improvements. In many cases the amount of funding required and timescales had been too optimistic, leading to overspends and, in two instances, requests for more funding to be made available. He explained the report sought to address these issues.


Members noted the changes implemented as a result of the project and the outputs and benefits delivered, and agreed that the project had now been completed and any further continuous improvement activity should become part of “business as usual” activity.