Proposed Lease and monitoring arrangements for community centres
- Meeting of Scrutiny Committee, Tuesday 6 October 2015 6.15 pm (Item 44.)
- View the background to item 44.
Contact Officer: Mark Spriggs, Strategic Community Centres Coordinator
Tel 01865 252822, email@example.com
The Scrutiny Committee has asked for this item to be included on the agenda for pre-decision scrutiny.
Why is it on the agenda?
The City Executive Board will be asked to agree the report at its meeting on 15 October 2015. This is an opportunity for the Scrutiny Committee to make recommendations to the City Executive Board.
Who has been invited to comment?
The Strategic Community Centres Coordinator will attend to answer the Committee’s questions.
The Board Member for Culture and Communities presented an updated report (previously circulated, now appended). She explained that the revised version of the report would be submitted to CEB on 15 October 2015. She outlined the main changes in the report and said that the revisions reflected recognition by the Board of the significance of the concerns raised by Community Centre Associations regarding the lease proposals.
The Committee questioned the wisdom of presenting the proposals for lease renewal and monitoring arrangements independently of the Community Centre Strategy. The Head of Community Services explained that it had been the original intention to present the two reports in parallel but that in view of the concerns expressed by the Community Centre Associations it was felt that delaying the lease proposal report would be unreasonable. He assured the Committee that, subject to the consultation results, there was nothing in the draft Community Centre Strategy that conflicted with the lease proposals.
The Scrutiny Committee discussion focused on the importance of recognising the work of the volunteer staff in the Community Centre Associations and ensuring that these valuable assets were used for the benefit of all groups in the community.
The Committee requested more clarity about what expectations would be placed on Community Centres, for example the need for centres to be open and accessible to the whole community, and what mechanisms would be in place to ensure that such expectations would be met. The Committee suggested that guidance should be developed in the form of a code of conduct that sets out the expectations on Community Centre Associations and the types of support that Associations can expect from the City Council. This should form part of the lease and monitoring arrangements. The Committee noted that the guidance should not be too prescriptive because the individual organisations were very different.
The Committee considered the conditions around the termination of leases if a Community Centre Associations defaulted or wanted to end their lease. The Committee questioned whether independent advice would be made available to Community Centre Associations signing new lease arrangements.
The Scrutiny Committee AGREED that the following comments should be referred to the City Executive Board:
1. That the Scrutiny Committee regretted the late publication of the report but welcomed the revisions presented;
2. That the Scrutiny Committee regretted the tone and language of the report and its reliance on legal arguments which gave no recognition to the important work of the Community Centre Associations and their volunteers. The Scrutiny Committee hoped that CEB would take the opportunity presented by this report to minute their thanks to volunteers who put time and effort into managing our community centres.
The Scrutiny Committee RESOLVED that the following recommendations be put to the City Executive Board:
1. That the City Executive Board considers deferring the decision on this report and taking it alongside the Community Centre Strategy decision, which is expected in November;
2. That the City Council should develop a “code of conduct” that sets out the expectations on Community Centre Associations and the types of support Associations can expect from the City Council. This code of conduct should be linked to the lease and monitoring arrangements for community centres;
3. That the report should provide more detail on the standard forfeiture (termination) provisions on tenant default or insolvency;
4. That City Executive Board should make arrangements for independent legal advice to be available to Community Centre Associations
- Community Centre Leases CEB report version dated 17 Sep 2015, item 44. PDF 94 KB View as DOC (44./1) 186 KB
- Appendix 1 LG Lease lengths attachment to CEB report finalised 14 Sep 2015, item 44. PDF 28 KB View as DOCX (44./2) 18 KB
- Appendix 3 Risk Register, item 44. PDF 70 KB