£49m overspend for Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council is facing a budget overspend of £49 million, requiring further savings of £78 million to balance the 2017-18 budget.

In its latest update to the government the Independent Improvement Panel says that ‘flawed’ planning and ‘unrealistic’ proposals have left the regions future success ’at risk’. The panel has said that the council agrees there should be independent review of that budget and its future plans.

The letter emphasises that the council must continue to maintain its focus on the very important improvement programmes relating to education and children’s social care, including the development of plans for a Children’s Trust.

The panel was set up after a review by Sir Bob Kerslake in 2014 suggested an independent body was needed to oversee changes at the authority.

John Crabtree, chair of the Panel, said: “Our discussions with the Leader, Cabinet Members and Chief Executive have demonstrated that they are actively engaged in joint working to understand and grip the full challenge now facing the Council, and to identify and consult on the measures needed to bridge the very substantial financial gap for 2017/18.

“Given the need for the Council to have absolute confidence in the deliverability of the 2017/18 revenue budget when asked to approve it in March 2017, we have agreed with the Council to jointly commission an independent review of the 2017/18 budget. The review will have a particular focus on the quality and robustness of the Council’s delivery plans for 2017/18 across all areas of expenditure.”

John Clancy, council leader, said: “The panel's acceptance that the council is actively addressing concerns raised by the Kerslake Review and is strengthening how it manages its corporate performance by putting in place improved collaborative working between elected members and officers is also welcomed."