Statement dated Tuesday 20th March 2018
Ripon City Council has recently received the resignation of the City Development Manager which has been accepted.
The Council has recently reviewed its staffing structure and will advertise a vacant post later this week.
Update on Matter referred to in Statement dated 5th December 2017
In November 2017 the Council faced public criticism as a result of having to take items of business in private session where members of the public and press were excluded from its meetings.
This action was necessary as both Local Government and Employment Law required it.
The Council are now in a position to make a public statement in respect of those deliberations.
When presented with an invoice for payment it was apparent to the Clerk that the Council was being asked to pay an invoice for which it had no legal power to do so. The Council is not permitted to undertake activities of a commercial nature.
This invoice related to the commissioning of an online advent calendar by the City Development Manager.
Subsequent investigations showed that Ripon City Council’s Financial Regulations had been breached as they require that three quotations are obtained for any spend above £100. No other quotations had been sought from other providers for this project.
Ripon City Council had no option but to pay the sum of £1,455 to the company involved who had acted in good faith and believed that a contract had been formed with the Council. The invoice was paid using power s.135(4) LGA.1972.
The Council self referred to the External Auditor, their response follows:
From an external audit perspective, we would always be keen to see that a council has sought and followed appropriate advice in such situations. We can see from the evidence provided that this is the case here.
In respect of the current year payment of £1,455 plus VAT, which the NALC legal advice has deemed as being potentially unlawful, we would expect this to be disclosed in the 2017/18 Annual Governance Statement by the inclusion of a ‘No’ response to Assertion 3. If this ‘No’ response is not given, we would then likely qualify our opinion, due to the evidence that you have provided in respect of this matter.
The Clerk can confirm that no members of Ripon City Council were involved in or aware of this matter until it was brought to their attention by the Clerk.
The City Development Manager was suspended from duty pending an investigation into his conduct.
The Council would like to place on record its thanks to the Clerk and other members of staff who have undertaken many additional responsibilities in light of this situation in recent months.
The Council does not intend to make any further statements on this matter.
Notification of Alteration of Ward Pattern
Harrogate Borough Council have notified the outcome of a Community Governance Review which took place following the Local Government Boundary Commission for England electoral review.
Following the review, Harrogate Borough Council made a reorganisation order on 13 December 2017 that three councillors be elected to each of the four wards for Ripon City Council and this will take effect from May 2018.
Maps of the revised wards are shown below
Hewick Bridge Closure
Please find attached details received from North Yorkshire County Council on the forthcoming closure of Hewick Bridge.
We have received a number of enquiries about the Cabmen’s Shelter in recent weeks. Following a tender process the Finance and General Purposes Committee of the Council resolved to appoint a specialised conservation company to restore the shelter in the summer of 2017.
The shelter was listed in 2009, details of the listing can be found on the link below:
Ripon City Council made a Listed Building works application to the Heritage Team at HBC in late summer.
Our chosen contractor is now working with HBC to agree proposed scope of works to allow the restoration to proceed.
The chosen contractor has a track record in restoring heritage wooden railway carriages.
We hope that works are approved by the HBC Heritage Team in the not too distant future.
Statement dated 5th December 2017
Having received legal advice, Ripon City Council have agreed to pay an invoice relating to a contract that has been formed outside of its financial regulations.
The Council have resolved to self refer to the External Auditor.
No further statements will be made until the External Auditor’s response is received.
Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Return
Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017