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Cabinet (Wirral Council) 10th October 2013 | Minutes silence (Sylvia Hodrien) | Birkenhead Priory Heritage Lottery Grant | Declarations of Interest | Minutes | Annual Governance Statement 2012/2013
Prior to the first item the Chair of Wirral Council’s Cabinet, Cllr Phil Davies asked for people to stand for a minute’s silence in response to the news of the death of former councillor Sylvia Hodrien. Once the minute’s silence had finished, he reported the news (which was already reported by the Wirral Globe two days ago) that Wirral Council had been successful in obtaining a Heritage Lottery Grant for Birkenhead Priory of £393,100.
He said that the money would be used to improve the visitor experience, for a digital learning pack for schools and would lead to opportunities for volunteers. Cllr Davies was “delighted” at this “really good news story” and thanked the team at Wirral Council that had applied for the funding. He asked if Cllr Chris Meaden wanted to make any comments?
Cllr Chris Meaden referred to Jo McGuire the conservationist and pointed that this was the second Heritage Lottery Grant that Wirral Council had received for Birkenhead Priory. She also thanked the team.
Cllr Phil Davies suggested that for item 17 (Proposed changes to school funding formula) that they make a block interest declaration as many of the Cabinet were school governors. Cabinet agreed to a block declaration of interest.
Cllr Harry Smith asked if he needed to declare that his brother was a lay reader at Birkenhead Priory? Cllr Phil Davies told them he didn’t need to.
2. Minutes 4:41
Cllr Phil Davies asked if Cabinet agreed the minutes of the last Cabinet meeting held on the 19th September? Cabinet did agree the minutes so Cllr Phil Davies signed them.
3. Annual Governance Statement 2012/2013 5:04
This item had a report and three appendices, appendix 1 (Annual Governance Statement), appendix 2 (Significant Governance Issues Action Plan) and appendix 3 (CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) framework).
Cllr Phil Davies, Cabinet Member for Finance said that the Annual Governance statement was an important document and a draft had been presented to the Audit and Risk Management Committee meeting of the 18th September. He wanted to make a few general comments, first that he was pleased to see references to the progress made on getting Council’s finances on a sustainable footing which was welcome. Cllr Davies also said the report mentioned work on a new vision for Wirral Council and that there would be a councillor’s training session on Saturday to look at that.
He said that they’d be having an annual policy Council meeting in November of this year to look at the future direction of the Council and refresh the Corporate Plan. Ed – The policy Council meeting will be in December as was mentioned in an earlier blog post.
Cllr Davies said they’d done a lot of work on improving their corporate management procedures and making sure they got their risk management in good order. In section five of the Annual Governance Statement he said there were a number of challenges ahead, such as the bad debts issue, saying “I think we’ve taken quite strong and prompt action to address the bad debts”. Cllr Davies wanted to draw Cabinet’s attention to the conclusion which referred to the auditors being pleased about considerable progress made to address the governance issues and that this had been reflected in the recent Corporate Peer Challenge report that was debated in Cabinet and Council.
He said that it also recognised a number of developments put in place to address the further challenges in section five and that they needed to agree a plan and review process to check that the items were addressed. Cllr Davies described it as “generally an encouraging report and lots of progress has been made but a fair amount of progress still to be done”. He asked Cabinet to agree the recommendations, which were that the Annual Governance Statement, action plan for 2012/2013 and updated code on corporate governance were all approved by Cabinet. Cabinet agreed this.
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