Incredible first 5 minutes of Wirral Council councillors’ public meeting to discuss BIG & ISUS investigations

Incredible first 5 minutes of Wirral Council councillors’ public meeting to discuss BIG & ISUS investigations

Incredible first 5 minutes of Wirral Council councillors’ public meeting to discuss BIG & ISUS investigations

                                

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Above is video of the entire special meeting of the Audit and Risk Management Committee (Wirral Council) on the 22nd July 2014

Below is a partial transcript of the first five minutes of a special meeting of Audit and Risk Management Committee on 22nd July 2014 to discuss the investigations into the BIG and ISUS programs.

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
Good evening everyone, welcome to the Audit and Risk Management Committee. Errm

[Agenda item 1]Members’ Code of Conduct – Declarations of Interest.

Have we got any? No.

[Agenda] Item 2, minutes of the last meeting, are they agreed?

COUNCILLORS
Agreed.

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
Thank you.

[Agenda] Item 3, Business Investment Grant (BIG) and the Intensive Startup Scheme (ISUS) Investigation.

There’s been concerns from Members about the lateness and thickness of this item and, if I can given the size of the document and the concern that Members have about the lateness of receiving this, and that along with the written address from Mr Hobro, I’d like to recommend an adjournment of a week and we convene back here next Tuesday. Problem?

COUNCILLOR JOHN HALE (CONSERVATIVE SPOKESPERSON)
I’ve got a problem with that Chair.

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
You’re on holiday?

COUNCILLOR JOHN HALE (CONSERVATIVE SPOKESPERSON)
I won’t be back …..

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
….?

UNKNOWN COUNCILLOR
I’m on holiday as well Chair.

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
Sweet, (can’t be heard). Pardon?

GRAHAM BURGESS (CHIEF EXECUTIVE)
Chair is it alright if I cut in? Chair I was just saying that obviously, we’re entering the holiday season. It’s inevitable that there will be people on holiday throughout the holiday season so obviously I’m concerned both for the Members and Council to get this matter resolved as speedily but as comprehensively as possible.

So clearly, we’d urge you to consider the meeting adjournment, because clearly we feel that this matter for everybody’s interest needs to be considered as quickly as possible to the satisfaction of all the Members though.

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
Thanks for that, so I’m going to move that as a recommendation and…

(murmuring by councillors)

COUNCILLOR LEAH FRASER
… point of order, … should … we’re doing…before we do… (turns on microphone) sorry Chair, could I suggest we make it in a fortnight? Normally you would liaise with the spokes of each party and obviously you haven’t spoken to Councillor Hale and it would help. I think he should be here at the next meeting. Thank you.

COUNCILLOR RON ABBEY (VICE-CHAIR)
Fifth of August then Chair.

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
Fifth of August.

COUNCILLOR JOHN HALE (CONSERVATIVE SPOKESPERSON)
No, I won’t be back.

COUNCILLOR RON ABBEY (VICE-CHAIR)
Well the problem is you’re going to need to prolong it then and,

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
Yeah and there’s certain of the officers that won’t be here on the 5th,

COUNCILLOR RON ABBEY (VICE-CHAIR)
people will not be their deputies?

(multiple councillors talking at once)

COUNCILLOR LEAH FRASER
….. Council.. stepped on…

COUNCILLOR JOHN HALE (CONSERVATIVE SPOKESPERSON)
I’ll be back around the 7th.

COUNCILLOR LEAH FRASER
….

COUNCILLOR PHILLIP BRIGHTMORE
Chair, am I correct in thinking that err if any party has one of their members away so then they can be substituted by a deputy and if indeed if one of those deputies then can’t make it then they can’t be substituted?

COUNCILLOR JOHN HALE (CONSERVATIVE SPOKESPERSON)
We do have deputies, even though we’re charged with finding a substitute spokesperson.

COUNCILLOR PHILLIP BRIGHTMORE
It remains the case you’ve got deputies you can call on.

COUNCILLOR STUART KELLY (LIBERAL DEMOCRAT SPOKESPERSON)
I think the reality is, I think that that would normally be the case but the reality is that from the time that we’ve had it, I dare say amongst the lead Members, the spokespeople, would have made an ??? effort to digest as much of it as we possibly can without any slight meant to any other Members who clearly they will have done that, but certainly the spokespeople would have attempted that.

I mean I think what we probably do need to settle on a date, at which I, John and yourself could be there. Certainly if we push it to the 12th of August then I’m in Butlins (laughing)..err..

COUNCILLOR LEAH FRASER
Who’s the Chair?

COUNCILLOR STUART KELLY (LIBERAL DEMOCRAT SPOKESPERSON)
I mean I’m available up to that date. In moving your recommendation Chair is it your intention that we have a real discussion on what we have in front of us so far?

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
No, it’s not really worth breaking up the meeting when we’re halfway through, so it’s not worth having a new discussion tonight. Errm and we could go round all night and come to different dates couldn’t we? Just her and me and then the Monitoring Officer would be away.

COUNCILLOR DAVID ELDERTON
We’re relying on deputies. We’re relying on deputies because for all Members …all Members have problems if they’re not involved at all … basis that… would first, it’s the first time .. Chair… I’m looking for a way forward.

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
What time do you leave next Monday John?

COUNCILLOR JOHN HALE (CONSERVATIVE SPOKESPERSON)
Early.

COUNCILLOR DAVID ELDERTON
We can’t be arranging times just to suit John Hale.

COUNCILLOR JIM CRABTREE (CHAIR)
No, no we can’t.

COUNCILLOR DAVID ELDERTON
It’s a service, I can easily update John Hale he comes back.

COUNCILLOR RON ABBEY (VICE-CHAIR)
Now we’re moving into the peak holiday period errm middle of August.

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