Venue: Town Hall, Scarborough
Contact: Heather Donaldson, Democratic Services Officer
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To consider public questions, of which due notice has been given, and which are relevant to the business of the Overview and Scrutiny Board.
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(1) To consider the attached report of the Director (LD) (reference 18/078), which details the proposal of Yorkshire Coast Homes to merge with the Coast and Country Housing Association.
(2) To make recommendations to Cabinet and Council.
Mr A Rowe, Housing Manager, presented a report (reference 18/78) on a formally proposed merger between Scarborough-based Yorkshire Coast Homes (YCH) and Coast and Country Housing (CCH) in Redcar. The merger was to be achieved through YCH converting its legal status to that of a Community Benefit Society (CBS), and then CCH transferring its engagements to YCH under a statutory process in accordance with the Co-operative and Community Benefits Act 2014. The proposed completion date for the merger was 1 October 2018.
YCH Board members would be required to pass a resolution approving the conversion. The Council currently held a 33.3% ‘Golden Share’ of the voting rights of YCH’s membership, and these rights would cease on 15 May 2018 when the Council would have to relinquish its membership of YCH under the Local Authority Influence Regulations 2017. In practice therefore, the Council would be unable to determine YCH’s future and to vote on whether the conversion to a CBS and the merger proceeded. However, YCH had stated that it would prefer the Council’s continued strategic support to ensure that the new organisation’s aims and ambitions, particularly those relating to new housing and investment, were achieved. The report sought the views of the Board and Cabinet prior to consideration by full Council on 14 May 2018, and in particular, it sought Members’ views on matters to be included in the new Commitments Agreement between the Council and the newly formed organisation (Appendix B to the report refers).
The Board welcomed to the meeting Mr Owen Ingram, Interim Chief Executive of YCH, Mr Iain Sim, Chief Executive of CCH, Mr James Hayward, Chairman of the YCH Board and Mr Nigel Barton, Chairman of the CCH Board. They presented information on the merger proposals, the changes to be brought about by the new organisation and the ways in which it would work in partnership with the Council. They emphasised the importance of forging stronger links with the Council, particularly relating to development and governance of the new organisation. Nationally, it was popular practice to work closely with Local Authorities, and the new organisation would seek to achieve this. To this end, talks had begun early on in the process with the relevant Portfolio Holder and Council officers in order to improve relations and to change the vision for Scarborough.
The new Board would develop a skills-based approach, and political membership would cease. This would enable full independence in decision-making. The proposed development programme for the new organisation aimed to create stronger finances, efficiencies and ways of working. Senior posts would be streamlined, for example, only one Chief Executive and team of Directors would be required. Savings would also be achieved through developing one ICT system. The expertise that CCH had would help with the Council’s wider regeneration programme, and the new organisation wished to have a prominent role in that. The new organisation would develop clearer strategies on working with the Council to manage waiting lists and to tackle homelessness.
Members acknowledged that ... view the full minutes text for item 3.