Agenda item

Breckland Training Services (BTS)

Report of Executive Director Commercialisation.

Minutes:

The Chief Accountant presented the report to Members which provided updated detail on Breckland Training Services’ (BTS) finances, and also suggested that it formed part of the Transformation programme to provide commercial support.

 

The Chairman welcomed the report.

 

Mr Ludlow asked what the predicted costs would be for Quarter 3 and mentioned that the report provided no indication of the costs of delivering training to Breckland.  The Chief Accountant said that the finances did not show a true reflection of BTS as some costs and income had not been included as detailed in the report.

 

Mr Ludlow followed on by asking if BTS began to charge the Council for training could the Council seek an alternative provider if BTS were not financially viable.  It was confirmed that this would be acceptable.

 

Mr Ludlow said he was in agreement with BTS presenting its financial report to Overview and Scrutiny but wanted to have assurances that this would be continually monitored.  The Chief Accountant confirmed that as BTS would form part of the Transformation Project it would be reported as part of this, rather than to the Audit Committee.

 

The Chairman added that if he felt it was necessary then he would ask for a report on BTS to be presented to the Audit Committee.

 

Councillor Nunn raised concern about BTS moving towards a commercial trading company.  He would have expected it to have made a profit over the last three years. However, as this had not been the case it should be monitored carefully. 

 

The Corporate Improvement & Performance Manager confirmed that two Members of staff had moved back into the HR function to focus solely on internal training for Council Staff and it also made the reporting lines clearer. 

 

The Executive Director for Commercialisation added that a formal business case would be put forward through the Commercialisation Task & Finish Group where all Members would have the opportunity to consider the re-focus of BTS.

 

The Chairman felt that the Audit Committee had acted as a catalyst for the information and wanted to ensure that BTS would continually be monitored.

 

The Executive Director for Commercialisation said that BTS could become a trading unit as part of Commercialisation and she suggested that Audit Committee Members should review the accounts of any traded commercial activity annually.

 

Councillor Gould raised concern and felt that the Council should have been treated as a client of BTS and therefore invoiced accordingly, and was disappointed that this had not happened.

 

The Executive Director for Commercialisation agreed that this should have been done, but added that if it was agreed that BTS should become a formal trading unit then formal invoicing would happen.

 

The Chairman said he would be keen to see the accounts of BTS.

 

The Executive Director for Commercialisation assured Members that the BTS business case would be comprehensive containing all facts and figures and all Members would have access to that information.  She also added that support would be provided to BTS on becoming a trading unit and ensuring that income would be measured.

 

RESOLVED that:

1)    the content of the report was noted.

2)    Members supported the inclusion of BTS in the Transformation programme.

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