Agenda item

Motion

EXECUTIVE DECISION-MAKING AND SCRUTINY OF COUNCIL-OWNED COMPANIES

 

“This Council notes with alarm the numerous failings identified in the recent review of governance arrangements for Bristol Holding Company and its subsidiaries.

 

The value-for-money assessment in respect of Bristol Energy was especially damning and exposed some glaring deficiencies in existing structures, methods of monitoring and information sharing.  As a result, the conclusion was drawn that Cabinet was not properly informed when it came to making ‘high-risk’ investment decisions in that failed business.

 

These shortcomings inevitably raise continuing concerns over a lack of transparency and the ability or effectiveness of scrutiny to oversee executive/political decision-making for publicly-owned commercial companies.

 

In order to restore public confidence, protect the taxpayer, and discharge the Authority’s obligations to its employees in such enterprises, Council calls on the Mayor to accept and adopt (in total and without delay) the twelve recommendations contained in the report of our external auditors. 

 

Furthermore, a cross-party board or panel needs to be established as an adjunct to the Audit Committee and OSM, the membership of which shall have full access rights to potentially exempt information.  For the sake of clarity, the composition of this body will be made on the basis of proportionality and determined by Party Whips.  It’s first meeting will take place within two weeks of formation, with the initial task being to examine a detailed action plan prepared by officers on how all of the changes advised by the independent auditor are to be delivered. 

 

A report on the progress made towards implementation must then be brought back to Full Council within three months of the passing of this resolution. (Or no later than Annual Full Council.) In this way, appropriate checks and balances within the Council’s Constitution can be restored, rightly respected, and adequately safeguarded.”

Minutes:

Councillor Hopkins moved the following motion:

“This Council notes with alarm the numerous failings identified in the recent review of governance arrangements for Bristol Holding Company and its subsidiaries.

 

The value-for-money assessment in respect of Bristol Energy was especially damning and exposed some glaring deficiencies in existing structures, methods of monitoring and information sharing. As a result, the conclusion was drawn that Cabinet was not properly informed when it came to making ‘high-risk’ investment decisions in that failed business.

 

These shortcomings inevitably raise continuing concerns over a lack of transparency and the ability or effectiveness of scrutiny to oversee executive/political decision-making for publicly-owned commercial companies.

 

In order to restore public confidence, protect the taxpayer, and discharge the Authority’s obligations to its employees in such enterprises, Council calls on the Mayor to accept and adopt (in total and without delay) the twelve recommendations contained in the report of our external auditors.

 

Furthermore, a cross-party board or panel needs to be established as an adjunct to the Audit Committee and OSM, the membership of which shall have full access rights to potentially exempt information. For the sake of clarity, the composition of this body will be made on the basis of proportionality and determined by Party Whips. It’s first meeting will take place within two weeks of formation, with the initial task being to examine a detailed action plan prepared by officers on how all of the changes advised by the independent auditor are to be delivered.

 

A report on the progress made towards implementation must then be brought back to Full Council within three months of the passing of this resolution. (Or no later than Annual Full Council.) In this way, appropriate checks and balances within the Council’s Constitution can be restored, rightly respected, and adequately safeguarded.”

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Weston

 

There was a debate, following which the Lord Mayor then invited Councillor Hopkins, as mover of the original motion to speak.

 

Following final remarks, upon being put to the vote, the original motion was CARRIED (58 For, 0 against, 0 absentions) and it was

 

RESOLVED:

 

This Council notes with alarm the numerous failings identified in the recent review of governance arrangements for Bristol Holding Company and its subsidiaries.

 

The value-for-money assessment in respect of Bristol Energy was especially damning and exposed some glaring deficiencies in existing structures, methods of monitoring and information sharing. As a result, the conclusion was drawn that Cabinet was not properly informed when it came to making ‘high-risk’ investment decisions in that failed business.

 

These shortcomings inevitably raise continuing concerns over a lack of transparency and the ability or effectiveness of scrutiny to oversee executive/political decision-making for publicly-owned commercial companies.

 

In order to restore public confidence, protect the taxpayer, and discharge the Authority’s obligations to its employees in such enterprises, Council calls on the Mayor to accept and adopt (in total and without delay) the twelve recommendations contained in the report of our external auditors.

 

Furthermore, a cross-party board or panel needs to be established as an adjunct to the Audit Committee and OSM, the membership of which shall have full access rights to potentially exempt information. For the sake of clarity, the composition of this body will be made on the basis of proportionality and determined by Party Whips. It’s first meeting will take place within two weeks of formation, with the initial task being to examine a detailed action plan prepared by officers on how all of the changes advised by the independent auditor are to be delivered.

 

A report on the progress made towards implementation must then be brought back to Full Council within three months of the passing of this resolution. (Or no later than Annual Full Council.) In this way, appropriate checks and balances within the Council’s Constitution can be restored, rightly respected, and adequately safeguarded.