Anyone who has tried to read the Council's budget documents will know difficult it can be to understand exactly how much is spent on what.
These are the headline figures explaining the budget for Birmingham and Solihull's coroner services. I'm sharing for interest.
The expenditure and income relating to the Coroners/Mortuary Services from 2012/13 to 2016/17
I have summarised below some of the key highlights from the analysis;
· the net expenditure on the service at £1.5m in 2016/17 is broadly the same with the net expenditure of £1.6m in 2012/13 (this consistency is reflected in the trends in the deaths registered in Birmingham and those referred to the Coroner for investigation and the post mortems carried out. This is also set out in the schedule and shows that on average over the past 4 years, the number of post mortems carried out were 14% - about 1,600 per annum compared to the total deaths registered).
· more resources are being spent on employees (£1.1m in 2016/17 compared to £0.6m in 2012/13) –this is partly a reflection of cost inflation but also includes additional investment in employee expenditure of £0.110m in 2016/17 that was approved by the Leader on an on-going basis for the Service. In addition, the service has secured a contribution from the West Midlands Police £0.25m in 2016/17 and this resource has also been substantially used for staffing.
In terms of financial governance, the monitoring of the expenditure and the setting of the budgets is all completed as part of the existing arrangements in the Council for setting the budget and Cabinet for in-year monitoring. Of course, regular meetings take place between senior officers to review the service and financial position.