Questions to the Council about Brushwood & Millvina; ‘Invest to Save’ and many more

This is where scrutiny is supposed to take place but we have a system which makes it difficult to get answers and where there is no checking of the Council’s progress in a systematic way.

Yesterday I held my six-weekly 1:1 with a senior officer of the Council. I only get an hour and as you might guess I have a lot to ask and discuss. I use the time to highlight issues because the scrutiny system in the Council is very poor with members finding it difficult to get questions in and even more difficult to get them answered in a full way.

These are questions that should eb answered easily and quickly but for some of them I have already waiting for an answer for 6 weeks. The Council has no means of monitoring its progress on a month-by month basis with no systematic comparison of Liverpool against either other core cities or other local councils in the Liverpool City Region area.

I am recommending on the next occasion that we review our Governance that we have a public scrutiny session with the Mayor where details of activities across the Council can be asked and, hopefully answered.

In the meantime, I will plug on with my questioning!

So here are some of the questions that are still outstanding which I have asked the Council to respond to quickly with answers I can share:

  1. Companies Governance Committee

My colleague Cllr Andrew Makinson has put in a lot of questions about why this Committee has not effectively met since November 2019; why the accounts from 2019 have not yet been scrutinised and when they and the 2020 accounts will be reviewed.

  • Invest to Earn Strategy (from last meeting!)

I am to receive an outline position on all invest to save investments and the position on relation to their success.

  • St Johns Market (if it hasn’t been sorted in meantime) and markets generally

Changes may be made to the location of the team that run the markets and a move to join a more entrepreneurial unit of the Council. Lib Dem Cllrs will make suggestions about the operations of St Johns Market, the Farmer’s Markets and other potential market activities in their area.

  • Follow up to Fractional Investment Task Force

A review is being undertaken of stalled sites in the City with reputable developers who might be able to find a bespoke solution on a site by site basis. I will be briefed when this si done.

  • Zipworld

We agreed that there are legacy issues here but the questions put to officers under the ‘Councillor’s Right to Know’ from Cllr Andrew Makinson will be answered. In addition I asked:

What was the nature of the legal advice sought by the Council from a London firm regarding the Zipwire in Summer 2018?

Can I see a copy of the advice?

  • How much has the Council spent on ‘The Leccy’ including:

Marketing costs, staff costs, admin costs?

What was the income?

How many people signed up to the Leccy’s services?

  • Briggs Automotive
  1. What are the value of the charges placed by the Council on the Company’s assets in 2013?
  2. Why did the Council seek two separate charges in the same month?
  3. What percentage of the Company is owned by the Council given its purchase of shares in 2017 and 2019 and how much did the Council pay for them?
  4. How much dividend has been received by the Council from the shares purchased?
  5. How many jobs have been created for Liverpool people as a result of the investment?
  6. Do we still believe that an investment in a ‘petrolhead company’ which produces small volume luxury cars is consistent with our Climate Change declaration?
  • Brushwood & Millvina

How did the Council ‘estimate’ that the ‘market’ was sufficient to fill two blocks at the same time?

Residents think that the first discussions about the future of the block between Shaw and the Council took place in January. Is this true?

It would appear that there are sufficient numbers for one block if not two. Have the Council and Shaw considered relocating staff and residents from one block into another to maximise the continuity for residents of staff caring for them with the high level of provision required?

Have the Mayor, Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care or senior officers yet met representatives of the families of those being cared for in the two care homes?

When will the Council make clear whether or not expressions of interest have been received to take over the running of the blocks for their present purpose which would lead to new contracts being issued?

The Mayor has made clear that these buildings will only be used for social care purposes if they cannot be sued for their original purpose. Who are discussions taking place with to ensure that this is the case? When will firm proposals be brought forward for this alternative purpose?

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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