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East Renfrewshire Leisure Trust Scrutinises Itself - Audit & Scrutiny Committee sidelined and excluded
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TOPIC: East Renfrewshire Leisure Trust Scrutinises Itself - Audit & Scrutiny Committee sidelined and excluded

East Renfrewshire Leisure Trust Scrutinises Itself - Audit & Scrutiny Committee sidelined and excluded 1 week, 5 days ago #1

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-------- Original message --------
Date:08/08/2019 17:03 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Cc: "Grant, B (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Fletcher, J (Provost)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Gilbert, C (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Ireland, A (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Swift,  Jim (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "McLean, J (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Subject: Leisure Trust contract with Big Wave media - Audit & Scrutiny - value for money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

Dear Stewart

I am writing to you as Chair of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee and would appreciate your(and the Committee's) help.

I have copied to the other members ( I am aware Cllr Grant and Cllr Fletcher are Trust Board members).

I wish to register my concern over a contract East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust(ERCLT) entered into with a company named Big Wave Media.

The only sum given by ERCLT for this contract was for £24,000.00.

However, from a FOI request for payment invoices, ERCLT have paid at least £67,577.04 to Big Wave Media -

31/12/2016 - £13,435.32

31/03/2017 - £1,435.32

30/04/2017 to 30/11/2018 - 20 monthly payments of £2,635.32 = £52,706.40

Total - £67,577.04

It is of great concern that this contract has now cost East Renfrewshire Council tax payers nearly 3 times(£67,577.04) the original sum of £24,000.00 and has failed to deliver the promised benefits.

It is also of great concern that the Chief Executive claims a saving of £22,000.00 p.a. when in fact they have spent at least £67,577.04 not £24,000.00.

It is also of great concern that The Trust has tried to hide this by not publishing any of this information and that it has only come to light via Freedom of Information(FOI) requests and appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

The Chief Executive of the Trust has admitted the failings of the contract.

In a Report to East Renfrewshire Culture & Leisure Board on 26 February 2019(obtained by FOI) The Chief Executive said -

'However, net financial growth has been below original forecasts.

Whilst we still use BWM for marketing and promotions, their Sales Director’s project management role has been brought in house at a saving of £22,000 p.a.

Key Issues

1. Demand analysis undertaken across the organisation highlighted a number of issues impeding progress, including Venue Managers only being able to allocate 10% of their time to the project.

That time was consumed by the two-day meetings and compiling the reports, rather than the business development activities intended to drive growth.

Similar issues were experienced with other staff groups.

2. Whilst the initial forecasts promised a marked improvement in the bottom-line performance akin to a step change for both gyms and fitness and swimming, the reality is that improvement has been incremental.

(In 2018 gym membership was 13.9% up on the prior year, but this was only a third of the target suggested by BWM.)

3.The two-day monthly meetings, whilst time consuming for both operational and senior staff did have considerable value in the first year, with coaching and insight accompanying external challenge to drive change effectively.

By the second year colleagues felt the meetings were increasingly ineffective and inefficient, and training, coaching and insight had diminished to the extent they were protracted reporting and discussion forums.

4.The proprietary tools, whilst helping to change practices and work cultures in a number of teams very successfully, seemed derived for operating models that had different structures generally, and greater levels of staffing, particularly in front of house  roles, or in support roles such as sales, communications and marketing.

5.Some conflicting advice from BWM highlighted that the methodology was increasingly at odds with the reality of ERCL’s situation and structure, as well as the particularities of our market and competition, and both the strategic direction and progress reporting  was becoming skewed by this.

In 2018 we held review meetings with the Sales Director of BWM in spring, summer and autumn to discuss these issues and possible solutions.

In December we trialled a remodelled meeting and reporting structure, and project management approach and in discussion with staff groups decided to continue with the programme, but without the input of the BWM Sales Director, at a saving of £22,000 p.a.'


I would appreciate if you can

- investigate/scrutinise the terms of this contract,

- why the cost nearly tripled from £24,000.00 to at least £67,577.04,

- why it is now seen as a saving of £22,000 p.a.(when it actually cost at least £67,577.04) and

- if it did provide value for money for the Council Tax Payers( £67,577.04).

- invite the Trust CEO to explain all of the above to the Audit & Scrutiny Committee.

Big Wave media were picked for their expertise in this area but as the Chief Executive has admitted they obviously failed to deliver.

Again, it is of great concern that the Trust have tried to hide this and have not published details.

Your help with this matter is much appreciated

Thanks

Re: East Renfrewshire Leisure Trust Scrutinises Itself - Audit & Scrutiny Committee sidelined and excluded 1 week, 5 days ago #2

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------ Original Message ------
From: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Saturday, 17 Aug, 2019 At 21:48
Subject: Fwd: Big Wave Media

Dear Sir

Following my request for clarity as to whether the Audit Committees remit extended to the Trust
I received the enclosed reply

Regards

Stewart

-------- Original message --------
From: "Daly, Eamonn" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:12/08/2019 14:19 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Cc: "Innes, Caroline" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Big Wave Media

Good afternoon Stewart.

Caroline forwarded your email from [name] to Gerry and I to take a look at whether or not it would be appropriate for the Audit & Scrutiny Committee to investigate.

Unfortunately in this particular instance it would not be appropriate for the committee to look into the matter further.

I have set out below the committee’s terms of reference

(a) to promote internal controls, financial and otherwise, in order to provide reasonable assurance of effective and efficient operations and compliance with laws and regulations;

(b) to review the control environment and make an annual statement to the Council on its evaluation of internal controls;

(c) to develop an anti-fraud culture within the Council to ensure the highest standards of probity and public accountability;

(d) to promote good financial practice within the Council;

(e) to agree the internal audit strategy and plan;

(f) to receive internal audit progress reports;

(g) to oversee and review action taken on internal audit recommendations and assist in responding to any criticisms made;

(h) to review the internal audit annual report;

(i) to be consulted on the external audit strategy and plan;

(j) to review all external audit material, in particular the annual report and management letters relative to the audit opinion of the Council’s financial statements;

(k) to oversee and review action on external audit recommendations;

(l) to review financial procedures including the effective operation of financial regulations;

(m) to review the Council's financial performance as contained in the Annual Accounts;

(n) to examine the activities and accounts of the Council in order to ensure that (a) the expenditure approved by the Council has been incurred for the purposes intended, (b) services are being provided efficiently and effectively and (c) value for money is being obtained;

(o) to consider those decisions of the Cabinet “called in” in terms of agreed procedure;

(p) to make recommendations to the Cabinet on the introduction and development of appropriate risk management arrangements across the Council;
(q) to review the performance of the Council in terms of:

· service delivery
· the processes by which policy decisions have been taken
· the substance of a particular policy and how it fits in with the overall objectives of the Council
· the effectiveness of a policy in terms of implementation

(r) to undertake whatever research and consultation is required in support of the analysis being undertaken on any particular issue.

These all relate to the operations of the Council.

Whilst it is accepted that the Council pays the management fee annually to the Trust, responsibility for the oversight of the operation of the Trust rests with the Trust Board.

As this issue relates to an operational matter any concerns should be directed to the Chair of the Board to decide on how to take them forward.

Kind Regards
Eamonn
Eamonn Daly
Democratic Services Manager
Department of Corporate and Community Services

Re: East Renfrewshire Leisure Trust Scrutinises Itself - Audit & Scrutiny Committee sidelined and excluded 1 week, 5 days ago #3

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------ Original Message ------
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Sunday, 18 Aug, 2019 At 12:01
Subject: Re: Fwd: Big Wave Media

Hi Stewart

It does seem a bit inappropriate that the Trust can be involved in hiding this spend then investigate themselves !

Can I ask you as my Councillor (and Chair of A&S) to forward the email to the Chair of the Board.

Or, can you let me know how to contact the Chair of the Board - 'any concerns should be directed to the Chair of the Board ' and I will forward my email to them.

Thanks

-------- Original message --------
Date:26/08/2019 19:28 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Re: Fwd: Big Wave Media

Hi Stewart

Have you forwarded my email to the Chair of the Trust Board?

or, please let me know how I can do this.

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
From: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Tuesday, 27 Aug, 2019 At 14:40
Subject: Re: Fwd: Big Wave Media

Good afternoon

I forwarded your email to the Trust CEO and forwarded his response to you about a week ago

Regards,
Stewart

------ Original Message ------
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Wednesday, 28 Aug, 2019 At 15:57
Subject: Re: Fwd: Big Wave Media

Hi Stewart

Just to say, I have not heard back from you.


I received this email, but have not received the email you say you forwarded a week ago.

Can you say how I can now get this email.


Thanks

------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Monday, 2 Sep, 2019 At 16:09
Subject: Fwd: Re: Fwd: Big Wave Media

Hi Stewart

would appreciate reply.

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Tuesday, 10 Sep, 2019 At 10:16
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Fwd: Big Wave Media - Please reply

Hi Stewart

Just to say, I have not heard back from you.

I have not received the email you say you forwarded to me.

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Monday, 16 Sep, 2019 At 09:32
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Fwd: Big Wave Media - Please reply

Hi Stewart


Would appreciate the courtesy of a reply.


Thanks

------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Sunday, 22 Sep, 2019 At 11:26
Subject: Would appreciate the courtesy of a reply - Re: Fwd: Re: Fwd: Big Wave Media

Hi Stewart


Would appreciate the courtesy of a reply.


Thanks

Re: East Renfrewshire Leisure Trust Scrutinises Itself - Audit & Scrutiny Committee sidelined and excluded 1 week, 5 days ago #4

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------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Thursday, 10 Oct, 2019 At 11:33
Subject: Complaint Re: Big Wave Media information from Leisure Trust CEO

Hi Stewart


I wish to register a complaint that in your role as Chair of Audit & Scrutiny committee you have not supplied me with the information from the CEO of the Leisure Trust.

You did say that you forwarded me this information.

I have repeatedly emailed you to say I have not received the information.

However, you have failed to acknowledge and/or reply to my requests for this information to be supplied.

I would appreciate if you can arrange to let me have a copy of the information supplied by the Leisure Trust CEO.

I would appreciate a reply.

Thanks

Re: East Renfrewshire Leisure Trust Scrutinises Itself - Audit & Scrutiny Committee sidelined and excluded 5 days, 14 hours ago #5

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Extract from minutes -


MINUTE of AUDIT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

Minute of Meeting held at 2.00pm in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Giffnock on 15 August 2019.


904
INTERNAL AUDIT PLAN 2019/20-IMPLEMENTATION PROGRESS REPORT –APRIL TO JUNE 2019

974.The committee considered a report by the Chief Auditor regarding progress made on the implementation of the 2019/20 Internal Audit Plan from 1 April to 30 June 2019.

It was confirmed that during the quarter three audit reports relating to planned 2019/20 audit work had been issued, that the management response for one of the audit reports issued had yet to be received the due date for which had not yet passed,and that a management response to a 2018/19 report had now been received.

Related details were provided.

Reference was also made to the quarterly performance indicators (PIs) for the section and four new requests for assistance dealt with using contingency time.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Having commented on the staffing position within the section, the report proposed that a planned audit on the operation of the Culture and Leisure Trust be deleted from the Audit Plan, senior management having proposed instead that a Best Value type review be carried out by the Scrutiny and Evaluation Officer, the findings of which would be reported to the committee in due course.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Whilst commenting on the report, the Chief Auditor clarified that the provision of feedback on the City Deal audit related to the implementation of the 2018/19 Internal Audit Plan.

In response to questions, she reported that she was not aware of any enhanced payments being paid to employees who were working on City Deal projects now.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Further reference was made to the proposed way forward on the Culture and Leisure Trust and the proposed Best Value type review to be progressed by the Scrutiny and Evaluation Officer.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The committee, following discussion, agreed:-

(a)not to seek any of the reports issued in the quarter at this stage;

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

(b)to approve the deletion of the audit of the operation of the Culture and Leisure Trust from the 2019/20 Audit Plan on the basis proposed, in respect of which the Scrutiny and Evaluation Officer would progress a Best Value type review on the Trust, the findings of which would be reported to the committee in due course;

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

and

(c)otherwise, to note the report and related comments made.

Re: East Renfrewshire Leisure Trust Scrutinises Itself - Audit & Scrutiny Committee sidelined and excluded 3 days, 22 hours ago #6

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To bring us up to date -


------ Original Message ------
From: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Thursday, 17 Oct, 2019 At 22:31
Subject: Re: Complaint Re: Big Wave Media information from Leisure Trust CEO

Dear Sir

Thank you for your email correspondence and I acknowledge receipt of your complaint which I will pass on

In my defence, I received two emails this afternoon to tell me that due to IT problems recently, your emails to this address had been inadvertently blocked by the server but now had been released therefore I never received your emails.

But of course, neither  you nor I knew that so I will progress your complain against me

As to the request about the Leisure Trust, I recall sending your questions to the Trust CEO who replied on behalf of the Chair and I forwarded you his reply

I'm sure someone will contact you regarding your complaint

Regards

Stewart


-------- Original message --------
Date:17/10/2019 22:53 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Re: Complaint Re: Big Wave Media information from Leisure Trust CEO

Hi Stewart

Yes I am now also aware of the problems with the ERC mail system.

Obviously I did not know this when I emailed the complaint.

I had emailed you to say I had not received your email with the Trust CEO reply.

I was concerned that you were holding this information from me.

I am quite happy to withdraw the complaint if you can arrange for me to receive the information you received from the Trust CEO.

Thanks


------ Original Message ------
From: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Friday, 18 Oct, 2019 At 09:02
Subject: Re: Complaint Re: Big Wave Media information from Leisure Trust CEO

Dear Sir

Once again, thank you for your communication

Unfortunately, your offer to withdraw the complaint carries conditions even although you acknowledge that you are aware of ETC IT problems, which is unacceptable so I will progress your complaint

For the avoidance of doubt, I have asked the Trust CEO to resend his response

Regards
Stewart


-------- Original message --------
Date:18/10/2019 09:12 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Re: Complaint Re: Big Wave Media information from Leisure Trust CEO

Hi Stewart

What conditions does my offer to withdraw my complaint carry?

As said, I was not aware of the Email problems when contacting you.

I only became aware of the problems along with yourself yesterday.

My main concern was that I had not received the Trust CEO information you said you had forwarded.

I was looking to receive the Trust CEO information.

Why waste all our time & effort when we already know the reason and I should now receive the Trust CEO information?

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
From: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Friday, 18 Oct, 2019 At 18:30
Subject: Re: Complaint Re: Big Wave Media information from Leisure Trust CEO

Good evening Sir

My reading of your proposed complaint withdrawal was you would withdraw the complaint IF I wrote to the Trust CEO and forwarded you his response, you would withdraw your complaint

Given that we were both unaware of the others concerns due to ERC IT problems, and the fact I have written to the Trust, I would hope that once I receive the reply and pass it on to you, that you would withdraw your complaint

Regards
Stewart


-------- Original message --------
Date:18/10/2019 18:56 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Re: Complaint Re: Big Wave Media information from Leisure Trust CEO

Hi Stewart

You said in email dated 27 August -

'I forwarded your email to the Trust CEO and forwarded his response to you about a week ago'

I replied to say I had not received your email.

but you did not receive due to the ERC email problems....................


I did not ask you to write to the Trust CEO........you had already done that -

'I forwarded your email to the Trust CEO and forwarded his response to you about a week ago'


I assumed you would just resend me the email.


As I made the offer, I am quite happy to go with this -


'I would hope that once I receive the reply and pass it on to you, that you would withdraw your complaint'


I look forward to finally receiving the Trust CEO's response.

Thanks


------ Original Message ------
From: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Friday, 18 Oct, 2019 At 20:30
Subject: Re: Complaint Re: Big Wave Media information from Leisure Trust CEO

Good evening once again

I'm afraid my emails are all deleted at the end of each month therefore it would have been impossible to resend any email from August or September

Regards
Stewart
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