Venue: Phoenix Chambers, Phoenix House, Tiverton
Contact: Carole Oliphant Member Services Officer
APOLOGIES AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS (0.02.14)
To receive any apologies for absence and notices of appointment of substitute Members (if any).
Apologies were received from Cllrs S Pugh, Mrs E J Slade, Mrs E J Lloyd, G Barnell and L J Cruwys who were substituted by Cllrs B G J Warren and J Buczkowski respectively
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST UNDER THE CODE OF CONDUCT (0.02.41)
To record any interests on agenda matters.
Members were reminded of the need to make declarations where appropriate
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME (0.02.57)
To receive any questions relating to items on the agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Note: A maximum of 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
Mr N Quinn, a local resident stated:
Regarding Agenda Item 8 – 3 Rivers Business Plan
The Business Plan report contains a table showing Financial Transactions with 3 Rivers, but the figures shown in the first three Interest Received columns have previously been reported as wrong.
The S151 Officer, admitted that the first two figures were incorrect at the Scrutiny Committee meeting on 14 Feb 2022, and that the third figure was incorrect at the Full Council meeting on 15 December 2021.
Question 1 - Why have incorrect figures been included in this table?
Paragraph 2.5 says the table details the “direct financial benefit” accruing from investment in 3 Rivers.
But recharges and loan repayments are only the recovery of amounts already spent, or lent, by the Council - they are net zero transactions. There is no “direct financial benefit” from those, or from the impairment.
So, the only actual “direct financial benefit” comes from the additional interest paid by 3 Rivers, over that which could be obtained by investing elsewhere. But this amount has not been calculated.
Question 2 - Why has the actual “direct financial benefit” not been shown?
Paragraph 2.5 also lists a number of indirect benefits, including “influence over affordable/social housing delivery numbers”.
Question 3 - Excluding Burlescombe, as 3 Rivers was just a contractor for the Council, how many affordable houses:
a) Has 3 Rivers delivered in its own completed developments?
b) Will be delivered, by 3 Rivers, in its two current developments?
In the ‘Relationship to Corporate Plan’ section - after five years with the single aim of profit, new key aims been introduced.
Question 4 - Why has this, arms length, Commercial Company changed from its single aim of profit?
The Deputy Chief Executive (S151) responded:
Q1. As explained at a full Council meeting and subsequently at other Council meetings that those were amended numbers due to revised situations and forecasts. The figures were not incorrect and were correct at the point of issue. The figures within today’s report are correct as they stand.
Written responses would be provided for the remaining questions.
To consider whether to approve the minutes as a correct record of the meeting held on 17th October 2022
The minutes of the last meeting were approved as a correct record and SIGNED by the Chairman.
DECISIONS OF THE CABINET (0.10.35)
To consider any decisions made by the Cabinet at its last meeting that have been called-in.
The Committee NOTED that none of the decisions made by the Cabinet on 1st November 2022 had been called in.
CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS (0.10.45)
To receive any announcements that the Chairman of Scrutiny Committee may wish to make.
The Chairman made the following announcements:
The visit to the AD plant was taking place next Monday 28th November
The Spotlight review into Participatory Budgeting was taking place on 1st December – please let Jess Rowe know if you are attending
ACCESS TO INFORMATION - EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC (0.12.03)
Discussion with regard to the next item, may require the Scrutiny Committee to pass the following resolution to exclude the press and public having reflected on Article 12 12.02(d) (a presumption in favour of openness) of the Constitution. This decision may be required because consideration of this matter in public may disclose information falling within one of the descriptions of exempt information in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972. The Scrutiny Committee would need to decide whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption, outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
Recommended that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 respectively of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)
The Chairman indicated that discussion with regard to the next item, may require the Committee to pass the following resolution to exclude the press and public having reflected on Article 12 12.02(d) (a presumption in favour of openness) of the Constitution. This decision may be required because consideration of this matter in public may disclose information falling within one of the descriptions of exempt information in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972. The Committee would need to decide whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption, outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
To receive the 3 Rivers Developments Business Plan
The Group had before it and NOTED, a *report from the Deputy Chief Executive providing the 3 Rivers Developments Ltd – Business Plan 2023 -2028.
In response to questions asked the Deputy Chief Executive (S151) responded:
· The Company had been set up with a number of priorities including as an investment for the Council and to provide the delivery of social housing
· The Company was funded through a mixture of PWLB borrowing and surplus funds and that the Business Plan in front of Members covered the period 2023-2028
· The figures provided in the report had been audited and were correct
· The risks associated with the Company had been explained in the Business Plan, however there was risk with any investment and that the Scrutiny Committee were able to make recommendations to the Cabinet if they felt that these had not been explained
RESOLVED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the next item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 respectively of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)
(Proposed by the Chairman)
Members then reviewed the 3 Rivers Developments Business Plan 2023-2028.
On returning to open session the Chairman confirmed that the following recommendations had been made:
1. That the Audit Committee recommend to the Cabinet that more detail of the risks and various options going forward be sought from the S151 Officer
2. That the Cabinet refer the matter to full Council
Note: *report previously circulated and attached to the minutes
To review the existing Work Plan and consider items for the committee’s future consideration, taking account of:
(a) Any items within the Forward Plan for discussion at the next meeting;
(b) Suggestions of other work for the committee in 2022/23.
The Committee had before it, and NOTED the *Forward Plan and the *Scrutiny Work Plan.
The Chairman advised that after consultation with Legal Services a recent Scrutiny proposal to look into the determination of Council planning applications should be referred to the Standards Committee and would not be included on the Scrutiny Work Plan
Note: Forward Plan and Work Plan previously circulated and attached to the minutes