Agenda and minutes
Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 12th July, 2011 2.00 pm
Venue: Committee Suite 1,2 & 3, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ. View directions
Contact: Mark Nedderman Senior Scrutiny Officer
Declarations of Interest
To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any personal and/or prejudicial interests and for members to declare the existence of a party whip in relation to any item on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest.
Lisa Quinn – Borough Treasurer
Mark Nedderman – Senior Scrutiny Officer
John Narraway – Former member of the Business Generation Centre Task and Finish Group.
Public Speaking Time/Open Session
A total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to make a statement(s) on any matter that falls within the remit of the Committee.
Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes, but the Chairman will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned, where there are a number of speakers.
Note: In order for officers to undertake any background research, it would be helpful if members of the public contacted the Scrutiny officer listed at the foot of the agenda, at least one working day before the meeting to provide brief details of the matter to be covered.
David Watson from East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce attended the meeting to make a statement about the Task and Finish Group report on Business Generation Centres (BGCs). David explained that on behalf of the Chamber he wished to inform the Council that the Chamber was very keen to work with the Council to develop BGCs in Cheshire East. However, he expressed reservations about the potential loss of the BGC at Thomas Street Congleton in favour of an affordable housing scheme.
He believed that the report would provide a great opportunity for the Council to make improvements to the BGC at Wesley Court Sandbach which would bring the building back up to the standard that it had previously enjoyed.
RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 14 June 2011 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Outline of Service Areas
The Borough Treasurer to provide a short presentation on the main service areas within the remit of this Committee.
Lisa Quinn, Borough Treasurer attended the meeting and gave a presentation on the main areas within the Performance and Capacity Directorate that fell within the remit of the Committee.
The main areas related to:
· Finance service
· Annual budget
· Capital strategy
· Income and funding
· Business management
· Financial strategy
· Capital programme
· Reserves strategy
· Treasure management
· Procurement Forward plan
· Contracts register
· Procurement including participation in regional procurement hubs
· Corporate contracts
· PFI projects
· Procurement Strategy
· Shared services
In response to a question regarding the outturn position of the 2010/2011 accounts, Lisa explained that a report would be considered by Cabinet in August.
As this Committee did not have a meeting scheduled in August, it was suggested that the outturn figures should be submitted to the first meeting of the Budget Task Group.
(a) That the presentation be noted
(b) That the 2010/2011 outturn report be submitted to the Budget Task Group.
To consider a report of the Business Generation Task and Finish Group.
The Committee considered a report of the Business Generation Centre Task and Finish group which had carried out a review of the four Business Generation Centres (BGCs) in the Borough
The review was carried out in the context of the Council’s Asset Management Strategy. The strategy had proposed a fundamental review of the Council’s asset holdings, facilitated through an ‘Asset Challenge Process’ led at that time by the Procurement, Assets and Shared Services Portfolio Holder. As part of that process, the Portfolio Holder had asked this Committee to undertake a review of the Business Generation Centres with a view to the Committee making recommendations to develop the Council’s future policy on business generation.
The Committee subsequently set up a Task and Finish group to undertake a detailed review of the Council’s involvement in Business Generation Centres which had involved undertaking research into best practice in the industry conducted though a series of interviews, site visits, and desktop exercises.
The review took place between October 2010 and March 2011.
The Task and Finish group, which originally comprised 3 Members, recognised that there were inextricable links between the future of the BGC buildings and the Economic Development aims of the Council. As a result, the group invited the Environmental and Prosperity Scrutiny Committee to nominate a Member to join the group to ensure that the Economic Development interests of the Council were fully represented increasing the group to 4 Members. The first meeting of the group took place in December 2010.
John Narraway a former Member of the Council and a Member of the BGC Task and Finish Group had been invited to attend the meeting and addressed the Committee on the findings of the investigation.
(a) That the report of the Task/Finish group be welcomed and supported;
(b) That the recommendations of the Group be endorsed, and referred to the Cabinet for consideration and necessary action, and that Cabinet be invited initially to comment on the details of the recommendations:
1. That in line with the Council’s Economic Development Strategy, the principle of Business generation, for start up incubation businesses in Cheshire East be fully supported by the Council, in properly managed, dedicated premises, on ‘easy in easy out’ terms by way of licence agreements;
2. That the existing buildings owned by the Council and located at Wesley Avenue Sandbach, Scope House Crewe, and Brierley Street Crewe be retained as BGCs, and the Council undertake a soft market testing exercise to seek a partner to manage, promote and market the 3 centres on behalf of the Council. The market testing to be undertaken in tandem with an approach to MMU and Keele University to seek partnership opportunities to provide business advice ,and mentoring schemes for incubation businesses.
3. That in future, subject to financial availability, all BGCs have as a minimum the following support services,
· a fully staffed reception,
· telephone facilities in all units,
· communal business equipment;
4. That in view of the poor location, condition of ... view the full minutes text for item 122.
Work Programme Progress
1. The Chairman to report upon progress made to date to arrange meetings with the Leader of the Council and Procurement and Shared Sevices Portfolio Holder in accordance with the Council’s protocol to discuss emerging issues for the Committee’s work programme
2. To appoint Members to the Budget Task Group.
Mark Nedderman outlined the process agreed by the Scrutiny Chairmen’s Group to approve work programmes for the 2011/2012 municipal year. The Chairman and Vice-chairman would be meeting the Leader of the Council and Procurement and Shared Services Portfolio holders within the next few weeks to discuss emerging issues. The committee would then meet informally during the summer to consider a draft work programme with a view to the work programmes of all 6 committees being submitted to Cabinet in the autumn.
RESOLVED – That the report be received.
To note the current forward plan, identify any new items, and to determine whether any further examination of new issues is appropriate.
The Committee considered items listed in the current forward plan.
RESOLVED – That the Forward Plan be received and noted.
Consultations from Cabinet
To note any consultations referred to the Committee from Cabinet and to determine whether any further action is appropriate.
There were no consultations from Cabinet.