The Cabinet at Hambleton District Council is to consider giving its chief executive delegated authority – in consultation with the Leader – to approve investments up to £5m, subject to certain safeguards.
A report prepared for the Cabinet meeting today (9 October) said: “Some commercial opportunities are only available for a time limited period. Currently, the council can only make offers to purchase or to invest in assets and ventures subject to Cabinet approval.
“This may result in the council being considered less favourably to a potential competitor that can complete an acquisition or investment more quickly.”
The report said that to achieve appropriate checks and balances it was proposed to establish and Investment Board to support the Chief Executive, the Deputy Chief Executive, the Director of Finance (S.151 Officer) and the Director of Legal and Governance (Monitoring Officer). This board would meet as and when a commercial opportunity arises that requires a timely decision.
It added: “The Board will receive a report on the commercial opportunity which will set out the proposal and the associated risks as well as the financial and legal implications. The business case for the commercial opportunity would need to be signed off by the S.151 Officer and the Monitoring Officer.
“In summary, checks and balances are achieved as each delegated decision is subject to a business case signed off by the S.151 Officer and the Monitoring Officer, such decisions are subject to being in line with the emerging Capital Investment Strategy approved annually by the council and the consultation of the Investment Board.”
The report noted that the Council Plan 2015-19 identified as part of its foundations the need to generate additional income to ensure on-going affordability of council services. All commercial opportunities will be considered with respect to the priorities in the Council Plan, it said.
“The vision of the council’s Commercial Strategy is to ‘become self-sufficient in 2020/21’. This requires a commercial approach. The proposal contained in this report reflects such a commercial approach.”