Peter Vickers to report on the Annual Governance Statement.
To enable the Committee to raise any potential emerging governance issues that may need to be addressed.
The Committee is invited to raise any potential emerging governance issues for consideration.
Peter Vickers outlined the Annual Governance Statement. He explained this was an overarching document which follows a template set out by CIPFA. He outlined each section of the document in turn. The committee were then asked to consider the report and whether it reflected the Council’s Governance arrangements.
Cllr Hyman had registered to speak on this item. He highlighted that section 5.2 Statutory Challenges outlined the two High Court Judgements but had not mentioned the issues around the impact of not implementing the European Court of Justices ruling 2018 (Sweetman ruling). Cllr Hyman also raised that at the end of section 10 of the report it stated ’ …no matters of significance have been omitted from this statement.’ Yet there was no mention of the Sweetman judgement and the falsified transport assessment of 2010.
Cllr Marriott commented that some aspects of this had already been covered but invited Tom Horwood to comment on the mitigation issue.
Tom Horwood reminded the committee that this was a draft statement and officers would take on board the comments made by Cllr Hyman and the committee and consider items that needed including. The Air Quality issue had been covered in previous year’s statements and would be added in again reflecting the guidance given.
Cllr Marriott commented on the planning presentation members had been given at the end of last year relating to habitats, biodiversity and environmental impacts. It was stated that applicants were obligated to provide assessment reports in their application but that this was not happening. It was suggested a ‘tick box’ approach was needed to ensure all consultations/assessments have been completed. This had been raised already with Zac Ellwood. Many of the committee agreed with the Cllr Marriott’s comments.
Graeme Clark highlighted that the reason for this discussion was to make recommendations for improvements and the committees comments would be taken on board.
Cllr Marriott raised the issue of the governance of project management. He understood there had been a ‘lessons learnt’ report written on the overspend of Memorial Hall and asked if the committee could have sight of this. The committee agreed. Cllr Davidson felt a similar report should be written for each major project.
Cllr Marriott highlighted that at the last Council meeting it was suggested that the Audit Committee should have some input into the investment strategy. He asked what form that might take. Graeme Clark agreed that as the Council had agreed a new revised property strategy it would be a timely for the Audit Committee to look at the governance and decision making arrangements for property investment. He suggested an offline detailed discussion with committee members and to return with some recommendations.
Cllr Seaborne commented that he could not find any mention of air quality issues in the report and should mention the lessons learnt. He also commented that there was no mention of the declaration of the Climate Emergency that had been made.
Tom Horwood agreed and endorsed these comments.