The Cabinet had before it a *report with regard to the 3 Rivers Developments Limited Business Plan.
The Deputy Chief Executive (S151) provided a response to the question asked in public question time: the table that Mr Quinn refers to shows a summary of the inter related transactions between 3Rivers and the Council which was presented to the Audit and Scrutiny Committees at meetings in November, which unfortunately did contain some numeric typos.
The table shown in the agenda before members today (item 19) has amended these errors, however and unfortunately it is clear to see that one digit has been omitted from the column showing the 2017/18 - 2018/19 figures – it should read 271.0 not 71.0. The summary totals shown in the far right column are correct. As far as the accuracy of all of the financial transactions between the 2 entities – this is subject to full external audit by Grant Thornton. So I believe that the public should have no concerns.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property Services outlined the contents of the initial report stating that this was the first full business plan following recommendations made by the previous Cabinet and informed the meeting of the 33 recommendations that had come from a review of the company.
He outlined the comments made by the Scrutiny and Audit Committees as follows:
Scrutiny Committee – 8 November 2021
Members had raised questions with regard to the availability of certain sites for development, the need for the report on the possible creation of a Teckal company to be considered and noted that the financial risk of the company would be considered by the Audit Committee
Audit Committee – 16 November 2021
Having considered the Business Plan, the Committee made the following recommendations to the Cabinet:
a. That the language used within the Business Plan be written in such a way as to be as understandable as possible and that all acronyms used to be explained by way of a Glossary of Terms;
b. That an external audit firm be appointed by the company to audit the company’s financial statements;
c. That the Cabinet continue to closely monitor the progress of the company’s Business Plan reporting any areas of concern, particularly relating to lending, back to Council.
Referring to the recommendations set out above he stated the business plan outlined the sites that were being considered and that a report with regard to the possible creation of a Teckal company would be brought before Cabinet in January. With regard to the comments of the Audit Committee, he informed the meeting that a glossary of terms would be provided in the future; the company were progressing an external audit function and that he and the Cabinet Member for Finance would continue to monitor the work of the company and provide an update to the Cabinet on a regular basis.
Consideration was given to the table at 2.5 within the report and the corrections as explained above also that the ‘Actuals’ were for the 7 months in the current financial year.
The Chairman indicated that discussion with regard to this 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.
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)
Having considered the business plan, the Cabinet returned to open session and:
RESOLVED that the 3 Rivers Development Ltd Business Plan be endorsed and the inclusion of the associated borrowing requirement of £19.66m shown for 2022/23 in the Council’s General Fund, Capital Programme and Treasury Strategy budgets be approved. Also that the total gross funding envelope included for 2023/24 to 2026/27 of £51.95m be NOTED
(Proposed by the Chairman)
Notes: *Report previously circulated.