Following last month’s fiasco when the local Chamber of Commerce made an abortive attempt to take over the setting up of a sub-board of the Leeds Initiative organisation, Leeds City Council has taken steps to ensure that nothing of the kind happens again.
A set of guidelines governing the setting up of the boards has been drawn up and will be put to the Council’s Executive for approval at a meeting on Wednesday 2nd November.
As reported in the leeds citizen, one of the Council scrutiny boards is meeting next Monday (31st October) to look into what went wrong when the Chamber of Commerce got involved in the setting up of a sub-board to oversee the issues of housing and regeneration in east Leeds.
In brief, the Chamber:
* drew up a list of proposed members of the board, including local councillors and three of its own officers
* called a first meeting of the sub-board
* drew up the agenda and drafted all the papers for that meeting
* included on that agenda a presentation on the Chamber’s private-sector development initiative called New East Leeds (an initiative that the Council says it knew nothing about)
The report makes it clear that NO sub-board on regeneration in east Leeds has been set up yet, though they’re working on one each for east, west and south Leeds.
“Members may be aware that questions have been raised in regard to a possible East Leeds Regeneration Board, which is one of the reasons why this new framework has been prepared,” says a Council report on the new guidelines rather coyly.
The new guidelines specify inter alia:
* that sub-boards will only be set up following a minuted decision from one of the Leeds Initiative’s top boards
* the Council or the Leeds Initiative office will be solely responsible for convening and supporting all sub-boards
* any participation by councillors on sub-boards will be referred up to the Council’s Member Management Committee
In what sounds like an oblique reference to the attempt by the Chamber to get its private-sector New East Leeds project discussed by the sub-board, the report says:
“In progressing this work, consideration also needs to be given to the issues and linkages between economic based regeneration and growth and housing/social regeneration activity and how such is governed through the city’s partnership arrangements”.
Amen to that.