Venue: Council Chamber - Port Talbot Civic Centre. View directions
The Minutes of the meeting held on 20 November, 2019 were approved.
By way of introduction the Chairman advised Members that the Vice Chairperson had indicated that he had an issue with attending today’s meeting and as such it may be necessary for him to reconsider his position on the Joint Scrutiny Committee.
The Joint Scrutiny Committee welcomed Councillor R Stewart (City and County of Swansea), the Chairperson of the Swansea Bay City Deal Joint Committee, M.James (Chief Executive, Carmarthenshire County Council), Lead Officer, C.Moore (Carmarthenshire County Council), 151 Officer and L.Rees-Jones (Carmarthenshire County Council) the Head of Administration, Law and Monitoring Officer.
The Chairperson, in his opening remarks, advised that the Committee, through its remit which included the governance of the Swansea Bay City Deal Programme, wished to be advised of the circumstances around the suspensions at Swansea University, and the position relating to the Wellness Village at Delta Lakes, Llanelli.
The Chairman outlined the lines of inquiry which the Joint Scrutiny Committee would be pursing today as follows:-
· Governance arrangements for the programme (Section 20.5 (b) of the Joint Working Agreement refers);
· Seeking reassurance that the City Deal was operating in accordance with the Joint Committee Agreement, its Business Plan, timetable and was being managed effectively (Paragraph 2.1.3 of Schedule 12 to the Joint Agreement refers)
Members asked for details of the events leading to the decision taken by both the UK and Welsh Governments to undertake an independent review of the City Deal arrangements. It was noted that Members of the Joint Scrutiny Committee had copies of the following background information:-
· The letter from the UK and Welsh Government in relation to the intention to carry out the joint review;
· The Terms of Reference of the Joint Government Review.
Members were advised that the Independent Review was not specifically related to the issues at Swansea University, but was part of a planned process to provide assurances prior to the release of monies. Actica had been commissioned to undertake the review on behalf of the UK and Welsh Governments.
In relation to the letter received from the Joint Governments, Members asked whether the phrase ‘This will provide us all with assurances ‘ – was predetermination and was this questioned at the time? In response Cllr Stewart disagreed with the assumption that the review was predetermined but felt that it was seeking assurances that the arrangements within the programme was fit for purpose. He advised that one year after the signing of the Deal in March 2017, all the governance arrangements were in place for the 11 defined projects. The delay in drawing up the governance arrangements, from the Deal’s Head of Terms was due, in part, to the Election and more specifically the purdah period. Thereafter the Shadow City Deal Joint Committee became the City Deal Joint Committee. Three full Business Cases were endorsed at the Joint Committee meeting held on 22 November 2018, one of which included the full Business Case for Delta Lakes. Cllr Stewart confirmed that the Joint Committee was committed to delivering the City Deal Programme. ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
Agreed by the Joint Scrutiny Committee, subject to a Special Meeting being convened to consider the reviews’ findings and that the 151 Officer be invited to attend to explain governance arrangements.