Nominations to the Board of Directors of Trading Standards South East Ltd (PP3354)
To propose nominations to Board of Trading Standards South East Ltd and seek approval for those appointments.
The Committee considered a report (Agenda Item 6) which asked that the Committee approve that Sean Murphy be nominated as Director of Trading Standards South East (TSSE) Ltd to represent West Berkshire District Council, Bracknell Forest Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council (‘the Councils’) and that John Nash be nominated to the role as Alternate Director to represent the Councils.
Steve Loudoun explained that the decision was a straightforward business need. All three Councils had a right to be members of the company but as they were part of a shared service there was an opportunity for a saving and have only one person representing all three Councils.
Sean Murphy explained that each authority was entitled to nominate one Director and a number of Alternate Directors. Currently Sean Murphy was a Director for West Berkshire Council. Wokingham Borough Council had no formal representation on the Board. Bracknell Forest appointed Rob Sexton but he stood down on the formation of the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) in the expectation that the PPP would then assume this role. As each of the three Members of TSSE Ltd were now parties to the Public Protection Partnership, it was proposed that it would make good sense to have common representation on the Board. This would not alter the individual status of each authority as a Member of the company.
Councillor Norman Jorgensen asked what sorts of decisions were taken by Directors of TSSE Ltd. Sean Murphy responded by explaining that the initial purpose of the company was to manage and deliver the contract with the government for the Consumer Direct Advice Line. Initially it ran in parallel with the Trading Standards South East Partnership which was an affiliation of member authorities who shared best practice and developed initiatives aimed at improving service improvements, cross border co-operation and value for money. In 2007 a decision was made to broaden the remit of TSSE Ltd to encompass all activity. The company had a good governance structure and drove efficiencies. It handled grant funding from a variety of government sources and made decisions relating to the business of the company and its strategic direction.
Councillor Nick Allen asked whether there might be any disadvantages to voting rights in not having three representatives on the company’s board. Sean Murphy advised that there was one other joint service on the board (Buckinghamshire and Surrey) which has maintained two Directors however he had not come across a situation when two votes would have changed a decision made. It would be possible for the Committee to change a decision regarding nomination to the board at any time.
Councillor Allen asked for the cost implications. Sean Murphy advised that the cost structure was set depending on the size of the Council. The three Councils’ fee was lower as a shared service versus paying as three separate unitary authorities. The Committee could opt to have more than one representative if they chose but officers recommended that one representative could speak on behalf of the three Councils. Steve Loudoun added that each Council was still able to bid separately for any funding and could in effect have three bites of the cherry. Clare Lawrence noted that county councils had a significantly larger remit in comparison to unitary authorities but were permitted one representative.
Councillor Ian McCracken noted that in the financial implications section of the report, the membership fee was £12.3k per annum and the benefit had been equivalent to £200k over five years. Sean Murphy clarified that the £200k figure had been based on the former shared service between Wokingham and West Berkshire and therefore did not include the benefit received by Bracknell Forest Council. To maximise the opportunity for grant funding there needed to be a critical mass so that the resource could be deployed. All three councils would have better access to grant funding now they were all part of the shared service. Membership of the company also provided access to national investigative resources. Steve Loudoun added that sending just one rather than three representatives would be one of the potential benefits that should arise from the partnership.
Councillor Boeck asked whether representation would be improved or reduced as a result of one Director representing the PPP. Sean Murphy explained that the Director would be speaking with one voice on behalf of the membership and if the Committee were dissatisfied with the decision they could change it at the next meeting.
Councillor Allen noted the benefit of membership of TSSE Ltd but asked if the benefit would reduce if the PPP was represented by only one person. Steve Loudoun explained there would be a benefit in terms of officer time saved.
Councillor Michael Firmager expressed concern that the PPP could be outvoted if they chose to have only one representative. Sean Murphy advised that he could not recall a time when two votes would have made a difference in terms of the decision made.
Councillor McCracken asked whether there was a tiered structure to the company’s board. Sean Murphy advised that there was a Chair, a Finance Director and a Strategic Management Group which comprised past Chairs as therefore as a former Chair he was a member.
RESOLVED that the Committee approve that: Sean Murphy be nominated as Director of Trading Standards South East Ltd to represent West Berkshire District Council, Bracknell Forest Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council (‘the Councils’) and that John Nash be nominated to the role as Alternate Director to represent the Councils.
- Nominations to the Board of Directors of Trading Standards South East Ltd, item 26. PDF 59 KB
- Nominations to the Board of Directors of Trading Standards South East Ltd - Appendix A, item 26. PDF 80 KB
- Nominations to the Board of Directors of Trading Standards South East Ltd - Appendix B, item 26. PDF 3 MB