Issue - meetings

Business Investment Grant (BIG) and Intensive Start Up Scheme (ISUS) Update

Meeting: 08/10/2014 - Audit and Risk Management Committee (Item 33)

33 Business Investment Grant (BIG) and Intensive Start Up Scheme (ISUS) Investigations pdf icon PDF 73 KB

This agenda pack contains the following documents –


BIG and ISUS Investigations

– Report of the Chief Executive (Pages 1 – 4)


Appendix 1  Internal Audit Draft BIG Report (Pages 5 – 26)


Appendix 2  Internal Audit Draft ISUS Report (Pages 27 – 44)


Appendix 3  Review of Internal Audit Reports (Pages 45 – 52)


Appendix 4  Grant Thornton ISUS Report

– Executive Summary (Pages 53 – 74)


Appendix 5  Grant Thornton ISUS Report

  – Full Report (Pages 75 – 450)

  Appendix 1 Enquiry Log (Pages 167 – 170)

  Appendix 2 ISUS Files Reviewed (Pages 171 – 234)

  Documents 1 – 17 (Pages 235 – 450)


Appendix 6  Letter from Merseyside Police (Pages 451 – 454)


Appendix 7  BIG Summary Report (Pages 455 – 462)


Appendix 8  ISUS Summary Report (Pages 463 – 470)


Appendix 9  Grant Thornton BIG Report

  – Full Report (Pages 471 – 586)

  Appendix 1 (Pages 533 – 534)

  Appendix 2 (Pages 535 – 536)

  Appendix 3 (Pages 537 – 538)

  Documents 1 – 12 (Pages 539 – 586)


Appendix 10 Grant Thornton BIG Report

– Executive Summary (Pages 587 – 604)


Appendix 11 Agreement between NWDA and Wirral Council

dated 17 September 2009 (Pages 605 – 616)


Appendix 12 Internal Audit Report Working Wirral Regeneration

dated 8 March 2010 (Pages 617 – 628)

Additional documents:


The Chair in introducing this item made a statement to the Committee as follows:


“The matter being considered tonight is important and has been ongoing since June 2011. There have been a lot of allegations made and issues and concerns raised since 2011.


A number of important steps have been taken and the Committee has received a considerable volume of papers to consider and digest. The papers have been redacted to protect businesses and companies against whom the allegations and concerns are made or directed. The names of officers and other individuals have also been redacted as appropriate.


It is important that the Committee recognises the need to ensure that names of businesses and companies, and commercially sensitive information is protected and that appropriate steps are taken to protect identities.


I accept that the Committee must satisfy itself of whatever line of enquiry it considers necessary to reach an informed decision, but that cannot be at the expense of exposing the Council to a risk of legal challenge and potential liability.


I would therefore remind everyone, including anyone addressing the Committee not to name businesses, companies, individuals or officers of the Council. Any issues involving officers should be addressed to the Council as officers act on behalf of the Council.”


Councillor Kelly sought some assurance as to the method of redactions in the documents before the Committee, noting in that some instances several lines of text or whole paragraphs had been redacted.


The Head of Legal and Member Services stated that a judgment had had to be made as to the levels of redaction but assured the Committee that they had been kept to a minimum level. Sometimes a number of lines of text had had to be redacted where it was felt that through reasonable enquiry someone would be able to piece together a name or organisation.


The purpose of the report was to share the outcomes from Grant Thornton’s reports into the Business Investment Grant (BIG) and Intensive Start-Up Support (ISUS) schemes with the Audit and Risk Management Committee. The report contained the initial draft reports produced by the former Chief Internal Auditor. The initial draft reports were attached at Appendices 1 and 2.


A review, requested by the Chief Executive, of the initial draft reports undertaken by the then Interim Director of Finance was attached at Appendix 3. This review recommended that an external firm of accountants or solicitors specialising in investigations for local authorities reviewed the evidence, allegations and investigations that had taken place in relation to both BIG and ISUS.   Following a tender process Grant Thornton were appointed to deliver this work. The ISUS reports, appendices and documents to accompany the reports were attached at Appendix 5, with the Executive Summary at Appendix 4. The BIG report was attached at Appendix 9, with the accompanying Executive Summary attached at Appendix 10.


Grant Thornton recommended that the Council consider referring the findings of its report into ISUS to the Police. As the provider was the same  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33

Meeting: 22/07/2014 - Audit and Risk Management Committee (Item 17)

17 Business Investment Grant (BIG) and Intensive Start Up Scheme (ISUS) Investigations pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:


The Chair referred to concerns that had been expressed to him in relation to the volume of the agenda documents and that their late receipt by some Members of the Committee had not allowed them enough time for the content to be studied in sufficient depth for an accurate judgement to be made. He had regard to the need for the matter to be dealt with, without further unnecessary delay and also to the potential for Members and officers to be on leave on the date of a reconvened meeting. However, so as to allow the Committee to be fully informed when reaching a decision on the matter, he believed it was appropriate for the meeting to stand adjourned for a week.


The Conservative Group spokesperson confirmed that he had not received the document pack until Friday evening and prior commitments had not allowed him adequate time to study its content. He indicated that he was not available to attend for over two weeks and, given that he had asked repeatedly since January 2014 for the report to be presented, requested that the Committee reconvene on a date that he was able to attend. Given the complexity of the matter, he was concerned that an adjournment of a week would not allow sufficient time for a nominated deputy with no prior knowledge of the issues to be adequately briefed.


The Chief Executive commented that it was his belief that the documentation circulated to Members vindicated Council officers and, to be fair to those whose integrity had been questioned, he urged the Committee to consider the matter as soon as was possible.


On a motion by Councillor Crabtree, seconded by Councillor Abbey, it was –


Resolved (5:4) – That the meeting stand adjourned until 5.00pm on Tuesday 29 July 2014.