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Apologies for Absence
* O&S 104
Apologies for absence for this meeting were received from Cllrs J R McInnes, P J Ridgers and D K A Sellis
Confirmation of Minutes Committee Meeting held on 26 February 2019
* O&S 105
The minutes of the Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 26 February 2019 were confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a true and correct record.
Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare any personal or disclosable pecuniary interests, including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting.
If Councillors have any questions relating to predetermination, bias or interests in items on this Agenda, then please contact the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.
* O&S 106
Members and officers were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of this meeting, but there were none made.
A period of up to 15 minutes is available to deal with issues raised by the public.
* O&S 107
There were no issues raised during the Public Forum session.
The Committee considered a report that provided Members with the conclusions of the Devon Audit Partnership (DAP) review into the recent Tavistock Hotel Proposal.
In his introduction, the DAP Internal Audit Manager detailed each aspect of the methodology, findings, conclusions and recommendations that were contained within his report. In so doing, he wished to thank those Members and officers who had taken part in the review.
During the ensuing debate, reference was made to:-
(a) consultation with the local business and voluntary sectors. When questioned, the Internal Audit Manager advised that he had found very little evidence to suggest that prior discussions had been carried out with relevant local authorities or the local business and voluntary sectors;
(b) the drive for openness and transparency. The tension for Councils between acting in the role of a Commercial Developer and the need to act in an open and transparent manner was recognised. In this particular instance, officers acknowledged that the Council had not got its messaging correct but also emphasised that it had been bound by commercial confidentiality;
(c) outstanding payments. Officers clarified that there were no further payments to be made that were associated with this proposal;
(d) the meeting held between lead officers and their Development Management colleagues. Officers confirmed that the meeting that had been held in June 2018 had lasted two and a half hours and had considered a number of different projects. Whilst the Internal Audit Manager had seen some notes arising from this meeting, Members were advised that the list of questions that had been asked at this meeting were not available;
(e) the informality of the Invest to Earn Working Group. The Internal Audit Manager advised that, whilst the report was recommending that consideration be given to the Group becoming a formal Committee, he was assured that the meetings that had been held were conducted professionally. However, moving forward, his report was recommending that consideration be given to establishing the Group as a formal Committee of the Council;
(f) the success of the Council’s Commercial Property Strategy. Whilst shortcomings had been identified in this particular proposal, the Chief Executive reminded the Committee that the Council’s overall Strategy had been a big success and was currently projected to contribute an annual net revenue return of £274,000 to the Council;
(g) a motion was PROPOSED and SECONDED as follows:
‘That the Council be RECOMMENDED to accept the conclusions and ten recommendations contained in the Internal Audit Report (published March 2019).’
During the debate on the motion, an amendment was then PROPOSED and SECONDED as follows:
‘That the Council be RECOMMENDED:
1. to accept the conclusions and ten recommendations contained in the Internal Audit Report (published March 2019);
2. that officers of the Council, in consultation with lead Hub Committee Members, be asked to prepare an Action Plan and commence implementation of recommendations forthwith and to submit this Plan, together with the progress made to date, at the next Council meeting (to be ... view the full minutes text for item 108.