Constitution - Part 5G - Financial standing orders - FR1 Financial Planning and Budgeting

1.1 The budget can be defined as 'a representation in financial terms of an organisation's plans for a given period of time at a given price base'. It is therefore essential that the budget is constructed to reflect policies and strategies agreed by the Council in the Policy Framework (see Part 2A of this Constitution).

1.2 The Council Plan and service plans will be key parts of the resource allocation process.

Resource Allocation
 
1.3 The Section 151 Officer is responsible for developing and maintaining a resource allocation process which ensures due consideration of the County Council's policy framework and also reflects agreed service priorities in the Council Plan.

Budget Preparation

1.4 The Section 151 Officer in conjunction with Directors a responsible for ensuring that a medium term financial plan is prepared for consideration by Cabinet before submission to Council.
 
1.5 Strategic planning and budgeting will be owned by Directorates. It is the responsibility of Directors to ensure that budget estimates are submitted to Cabinet and: 

 (a) Represent and are consistent with the County Council's Policy Framework, Council Plan and Service Plans;
 
 (b) Total to the County Council's budget; and
 
 (c) Are prepared in line with guidance issued by the Assistant Director - Finance (S151 Officer).  

1.6 The Section 151 Officer will submit an overall budgetary report to Cabinet to consider:

(a) The revenue and capital budgets (including financing arrangements) that are proposed for the County Council's services;

(b) The results of the consultation with the public and appropriate Committees; and

(c) Precepts and levies, the need for reserves and contingencies, the level of balances, and the grants available from Government.

1.7 The report will include comments from the Section 151 Officer on how robust the budget is and whether the level of reserves are in line with section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003.

1.8 Cabinet will recommend to Council the proposed revenue and capital budget and the council tax to be levied for the forthcoming financial year. Council will consider these and must approve, amend or replace Cabinet's proposal and give its decision not later than 28th February each year. Following approval the budgets will be recorded in the County Council's financial systems.

1.9 Council may approve the draft budget previously considered by Cabinet or ask Cabinet to reconsider it before approving it (see Budget and Policy Framework Procedure Rules and Procedure for Budget Debate at Council ).

Preparation of the Capital Programme
 
1.10 The Assistant Director - Economy and Environment is responsible for developing the capital programme. The Section 151 Officer is responsible for ensuring that the capital programme is affordable and reflected in the County Council's Treasury Management Strategy.  The Assistant Director - Capital Programmes and Property, in consultation with the Section 151 Officer is responsible for ensuring that the capital programme is prepared at least on an annual basis for consideration by Cabinet, before submission to Council.

1.11 Directors, in consultation with the Assistant Director - Economy and Environment and Section 151 Officer will prepare annually a proposed five year forward capital programme in accordance with the criteria, format, timetable and targets determined by the Section 151 Officer.  This programme will have regard to the County Council's priorities as set out in the Council Plan, and the availability of resources.

1.12 In preparing items for the capital programme Directors will prepare for each scheme:

a) An estimate of the cost of the scheme; and

b) An estimate of any consequential expenditure or income, whether capital or revenue.

1.13 The capital programme will distinguish between committed expenditure from schemes already approved, those not yet approved, and proposals for potential new projects.

1.14 Where capital contracts are being procured, the budget for which has been approved in the Capital Programme, the minimum procurement and process and rules must be applied in accordance with Part 5H 'Contract Procedure Rules' and the Key Decision requirements as defined in Part 2 'Guide to Decision Making' .    Directors will evaluate whether any such work needs to be covered by indemnity insurance (to be arranged via the Section 151 Officer.