To allow the Panel to question the Portfolio Holder on the reasons for proceeding with the decision, in view of the issues raised during pre-decision scrutiny (report of the Executive Manager Governance (Deputy Monitoring Officer) enclosed.
(Please note that Appendix B to this report is not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 2 (Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual) and Paragraph 3 (Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)) in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and is therefore attached to this agenda as item 13).
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Manager Governance, which provided members with a summary of issues relating to the recent Portfolio Holder Decision ‘Property acquisition to support the Next Steps Accommodation Programme’.
At a special meeting of the Performance Monitoring Panel held on 9 February 2021, pre-decision scrutiny had been undertaken on a decision to be made by the Portfolio Holder for Assets and Planning relating to ‘Property acquisition to support the Next Steps Accommodation Programme’. The Panel had raised a number of issues, detailed within the report, and had requested that the Portfolio Holder be notified in writing that the property in question should not be purchased, and that he should consider a more suitable property, with no chain, and that did not require so much work.
On 22 February 2021, the Portfolio Holder for Assets and Planning made his decision, as detailed within the report. Attached at Appendix A was the report that had accompanied the decision, and this included a summary of the comments from the Performance Monitoring Panel, together with the Portfolio Holder’s responses to each point, and an assessment of whether there was a justification for proceeding to acquire the property.
The Panel had requested that the Portfolio Holder attend this meeting to provide a fuller response to the objections raised at the meeting on 9 February 2021. The report clarified that, whilst the Panel could question the Portfolio Holder further on the matter, a final decision had been made and was in the process of implementation.
Prior to discussion, the Chairman made it clear that the purpose of the meeting was not to revisit the discussion on this item, as it had been considered at the meeting on 9 February - the Portfolio Holder had been present at that meeting and would have been aware of the strength of feeling expressed, and the overwhelming support for the recommendations. The Chairman continued that, following on from the meeting on 9 February, the Portfolio Holder had received a further report from officers - with the benefit of that report, and taking into account the comments and recommendations of members of the Panel, the Portfolio Holder had proceeded to make his decision in line with the original recommendation.
The following issues were raised:
· Members asked for clarification as to why it had been necessary to take the decision urgently, when it had been stated during the discussion at the meeting in February, and within the report, that an extension period had been requested to provide more time for the decision to be made, and that within 10 days, that extension had been agreed.