To consider a report from the Director for the Economy, a copy is attached as item 14.
Before the Committee was a report by the Director for the Economy, copies of which had been circulated to all Members and a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as Item 14.
The report updated Members on the procurement exercise for the provision of Cultural Services; sought authority to make a direct award to the Council’s in house team; and updated the Committee on the successful contractual discussions that had taken place.
Officers advised that the Barristers advice was a matter of legal privilege and so it wasn’t something that Officers would issue to the Committee, but it was entirely appropriate and legitimate to quote from it.
A Member asked what would happen to assets in the case of insolvency of the trust. Officers advised that the assets would revert back to the Council and this would be enshrined into any contractual arrangement.
Another Member raised concerns that expert advice and guidance which had been provided through a number of reports and emails, was being ignored. He suggested that a pause in this process was the right course of action at this time and that the additional £200k required in 2021, would be better spent on other services.
The Leader of the Worthing Borough Council replied that the budgetary issues had been considered on numerous occasions. It was the Leaders belief that the Theatres supported the local economy and that there was a wealth of evidence to show this. In parts of the country where culture had been cut, it had a very detrimental effect. These proposals sought to put the Councils cultural services on a stable footing and to keep doing that. Officers advised that the two reports prepared and presented by apse solutions, had been considered carefully. However, it was the Officers view that the proposal outlined in the report, was the right course of action.
A Member sought clarification in relation to European Procurement Guidance and the criteria used to justify an exceptional procedure. Officers advised that Regulation 32(2)(a) of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 provided for a negotiated procedure, as outlined in paragraph 6.2 of the report.
A Member sought clarification in relation to the Arts Council Funding and what evidence supported the view that a trust could access funding that the in house team could not. Officers advised that they had been in consultation with the Arts Council who had advised that it was beneficial to be outside the Council structure to access grant funding.
Decision: The Joint Strategic Committee
1. resolved to make a direct award to the Council’s in-house team, subject to the finalisation of the contract price, with a feature of that award being the setting up of a new charitable organisation to deliver the service and contract with the Council.
2. authorised the Director for Economy to enter into the contract on behalf of Worthing Borough Council;
3. in accordance with its earlier decision in March; approved the use of £100k from the Capacity Issues Reserve to support the in-house team set up a Trust.