In the past, it has often felt that if you weren't on the Cabinet, you were pretty much excluded from the Council budget making process.
Now I have responsibility for that budget, I'm trying, imperfectly, to open that process up much more.
Overview and Scrunity Committtee had a special briefing this week on the budget process to date, some of the challenges we are facing up to, and where the process is going. This is all to tackle, as we'll remember, the £18m projected deficit over 4 years left to us by the Conservatives which would have seen our Council run out of money in 3 years. That's not happening: not on my watch.
The nature of this process is that as the Government make announcements, as consultations proceed, as proposals are investigated, the numbers change. And when there is a budget of over 5000 lines, with the numbers changing a lot, that gets quite complex. But its clear we have a good direction of progress.
We'll be publishing our new 4 year forecast in December, and updating it for the Full Council and budgets in February. We've done a lot of work, and (spoiler alert) it will not forecast £18m deficit over the next 4 years: not even close. That's the result of a huge amount of work, much by Officers, Directors and Staff, to get on top of this.