Re: District Council
"They didn't spend any money for 11 months out of the year, and then spent the lot in March"
It's a general thing in public sector. They have a fixed budget, don't know how much they might have to spend on emergency stuff during the year and won't be able to roll unspent cash over to next year. A local council will be particularly vulnerable to that because one of their big but unknowable expenditures will be winter road clearance.
It was the same in NIO because there was an overall budget so the DoE winter reserve could be spread ou across other deptst. March was known as the spring sales. I used to buy stuff like microscope slides or any other consumables that weren't too bulky and had a long shelf life out of the windfall.