Herefordshire Council has been improving its revenue budget and service delivery targets, according to a its performance review.

The review covered the third quarter of 2022/23 and included a forecast budget for the year.

Councilor Harvey presented the report, which revealed an overspend in children’s services and additional costs related to investment in transformation work and support for the children’s directorate and other areas. However, thanks to the work of council colleagues and officers, the overspend was reduced through savings and budget cuts.

The council’s progress in leveling up funds for the economy and the environment was also highlighted. The council completed its big economic plan, made progress on the Stronger Towns initiative, and achieved success in decarbonizing school transport and home insulation. Additionally, the council supported a retrofit sector conference to further promote home energy efficiency.

The review also addressed concerns over large variances in the budget and potential under-performance. Councilor Toynbee assured the council that the investment in children’s services was necessary and showed positive results in reduced case loads, rebuilding infrastructure, and investing in people. The majority of the overspend was attributed to the operational side of things in delivering services.

Despite these successes, some councilors raised concerns over the dwindling resilience reserve and the pressure on placement costs. Councilor Wilding commended the council’s efforts to push through environmental plans despite budget constraints.

The review indicated that the council had made progress towards delivering the revenue budget and service targets.