Agenda item

Economic Development (ED) Service Transformation Phase 1 (Agenda item 11)

Report of Mark Kiddle-Morris, Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Assets and Strategic Development presented the report that requested Council’s approval to set up a Community Interest Company (CIC) to enable the Economic Development Service to bid for contracts that could generate income and test the market for demand for its products and services.  This would be a Phase 1 approach over the financial year 2014/15 prior to the service becoming a wholly owned subsidiary based on the success of Phase 1.

 

The Executive Member explained that he had mandated the Economic Development Manager to produce a strategy to further reduce costs by March 2015.  Members’ attention was drawn to the graph at Appendix 1 of the report that illustrated how the cost of Breckland’s Economic Development Service had reduced over the past 6 years.  It also drew predictions for the next 2 years.  It was advised that although £95k was not quite cost neutral the aim was to strive to become a zero cost service by March 2015.

 

In response to a question about how the Economic Development service would continue to have a strategic economic focus for the area, Members were informed that the economic strategy for the area was within the Local Plan and the service would continue to feed into the economic policies for the area.

 

In response to a further question in relation to intellectual copyright, Members were informed that this would be a totally Breckland Council project and would not be joined with South Holland District Council.

 

The Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman mentioned the comments from the Peer Review which stated that Breckland Council should broaden its horizons and felt that the setting up of such a Company would do just this and would be an excellent way of bringing revenue into the Council.  He also mentioned the Audit Committee’s role in this and felt that Scrutiny should also be expected to play a fundamental role and scrutinise performance to ensure that the Council was looking after taxpayers’ money.  It was felt that the Overview and Scrutiny Commission Portfolio Holder report would be adequate.

 

Option 1

 

  • a Breckland Council wholly owned Community Interest Company (CIC), Resource for Growth CIC be set up;

 

  • the Economic Development Manager be appointed as the CIC Director;

 

  • an interim CIC Board be set up consisting of the Portfolio Holder for Assets & Strategic Development, the Chief Executive and the Economic Development Manager to provide governance and monitor performance on behalf of the Council; and

 

  • the Audit Committee and the Cabinet to receive quarterly reports from the Interim CIC Board on financial performance.

 

Option 2

 

Do nothing.

 

Reasons

 

Option 1, recommendation 1 would enable the Economic Development Service to set up a CIC to market test its products and services and provide additional information and evidence to support the business plan for the transformation of the Economic Development Service.  Recommendations 2, 3 and 4 would provide the necessary statutory governance and oversight for the CIC and the Council for Phase 1.

 

RECOMMEND to Council that:

 

1)     a Breckland Council wholly owned Community Interest Company (CIC), Resource for Growth CIC be set up;

 

2)     the Economic Development Manager be appointed as the CIC Director;

 

3)     an interim CIC Board be set up consisting of the Portfolio Holder for Assets & Strategic Development, the Chief Executive and the Economic Development Manager to provide governance and monitor performance on behalf of the Council; and

 

4)     the Audit Committee and the Cabinet to receive quarterly reports from the Interim CIC Board on financial performance.

Supporting documents: