Posted: Mon 4th Jun 2018

Tŷ Pawb to be subject separate scrutiny by councillors later in the year – FOI gives Advisory Board update for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jun 4th, 2018

A Council Officer is looking to bring scrutiny of Tŷ Pawb infront of councillors, as the new arts and markets development celebrates its two month birthday.

Earlier today reported that members of the council’s employment, business and investment scrutiny committee will be provided with an update on the SAMP (Strategic Asset Management Plan 2016-21) for the town’s two indoor markets.

The report focuses on progress at the Butchers and General Markets, with Tŷ Pawb / the former Peoples Market specifically not featuring in the review or any future reviews of the two indoor markets.

However on Wednesday’s meeting councillors will have the chance to discuss a topic request form submitted by a council officer (not a councillor), specifically the council’s head of housing and economy, who has asked for the committee to monitor Tŷ Pawb’s progress against its original Fourth Street Business Plan.

The business plan, which was formulated in by consultants in 2015, provides details on the recommended governance model for Tŷ Pawb, projected finances and a ‘sensitivity analysis’. In December Cllr Hugh Jones, said this original business plan was still being followed, a position consistently held.

In September 2017 it was announced that Tŷ Pawb would not immediately be placed into a trust as was intended due to legal issues that could have meant a non-Wrexham trust operating the development.

As as result the site will be operated by Wrexham Council for at least three years – with plans to establish an advisory board pressing ahead as planned.

The transferring to a trust was seen as integral part of the future of Tŷ Pawb, with the original business plan saying it would remove the “bureaucracy and red tape” of council management.

Tŷ Pawb has been described as being “on budget and on time”, despite building works on the site overrunning past the official and public opening events.

In the topic request form reference is made to the September 2017 executive board report, which stated that it was: “Agreed that the Council continues to manage the People’s Market and Arts Service from 1 April 2018, with annual reviews of performance and consideration of alternative, devolved delivery models after three years of operation.”

It adds: “Paragraph 4.22 of this report stated that – Regular monitoring of performance is also critical in achieving the assumptions and targets in the Fourth Street Business Plan, therefore quarterly meetings with the lead officer (Service Manager – Regeneration), Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection & Community Safety, and Head of Finance will take place with annual reports of performance to the appropriate Scrutiny Committee.”

With Tŷ Pawb being open since April 2nd, a quarterly meeting would in theory be carried out this summer.

The report adds that the expected outcome of such a meeting would be “…for Scrutiny Members to comment on progress and identify any areas for improvement to recommend to Lead Member and the Tŷ Pawb Team and advisory Board; and to recognise successes achieve annually.”

It is also suggested a range of officers and representatives are in attendance at the future meeting, including: service manager – regeneration, Tŷ Pawb operations manager, arts lead, head of finance/finance business partner and the lead member for people – communities, partnerships, public protection & community safety.

External involvement also includes the chair of the Tŷ Pawb advisory board and the chairman of the Wrexham town centre forum. placed an Freedom of Information request to discover various answers over the status of the Advisory Board.

We were told there had been seven applications received by Wrexham Council for the six roles advertised on the council website between February and March 2018.

Interviews took place on 6th March 2018. Three took place that day with conversations followed up to those unable to attend that day.

As of the 31st of May 2 roles were filled and were appointed on 7th March 2018.

We also asked about the advertising of the roles, which we are told was cost free, via Wrexham Council social media and Arts Council of Wales social media.

The report before councillors this week is expected to be added to the committee’s work programme and discussed at a later date. Some committee items often feature on forward work programmes for several months before going up for discussion – so an exact date / time is likely to be firmed up at a later date.

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