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Decision details

Combined Authority Update

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Strategy and Transformation

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


To enable the Committee to scrutinise the Council's representative on the Combined Authority.


Matter for Decision

The Officer’s report provided an update on the activities of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority since the 2 July Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee.


Decision of the Executive Councillor for Strategy and External Partnerships

i.  Noted the update provided on issues considered at the meetings of the Combined Authority held on the 25 July and 26 September.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Chief Executive and were asked to note the updated paperwork regarding the 26 September Combined Authority meeting.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

i.  Commented that FOI requests had been submitted to the Combined Authority to try and gain further knowledge of payments that had been made to employees who had left the organisation.

ii.  Noted that the person specification for the new Director of Strategy and Planning role did not require any planning experience.

iii.  Noted that the Chief of Staff role at the Combined Authority was a politically restricted position, however the current incumbent had been selected as a Conservative Parliamentary candidate. 

iv.  Noted that the Affordable Housing Strategy which had been adopted by the Combined Authority permitted equal bids by partner councils for the money. This was not fair on South Cambridgeshire District Council who would not receive the finance that they deserved.

v.  Expressed concerns regarding the governance of the Combined Authority.


The Executive Councillor said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The senior staffing structure for the Combined Authority was adopted in February 2018 so it had been in place for 9 months. It was originally discussed at the Combined Authority that key Directors be in place before the appointment of the Mayor. It was noted that quite a few posts were currently filled by interims for example the Director of Finance.

  ii.  He only became aware of the departure of the Chief Executive of the Combined Authority when it was published in the Cambridgeshire Times. Clearer transparency was required and an independent finance and governance review had been requested in September by Councillor Herbert and Councillor Smith.

  iii.  It was unclear why a severance payment had been made to the Chief Executive as there was no contractual obligation to pay one.

  iv.  Noted that whilst good people had been appointed to Senior Combined Authority posts there were a limited number of people applying for top Combined Authority posts.

  v.  Advice had been provided that there was no issue with the Combined Authority’s Chief of Staff being a prospective Parliamentary candidate unless an election was called.

  vi.  Noted that South Cambridgeshire District Council joined the Combined Authority to gain access to the affordable housing funding. He had a meeting arranged with Housing Associations to discuss the affordable housing strategy / funding. He felt that Housing Associations should be able to far easier access and bid for the funding as well as constituent councils.

  vii.  Referred to previous discussions in the Committee meeting regarding Cambridge Northern Fringe East and the HIF funding and the importance of the Combined Authority’s support with these projects. He noted that there had been a lot of good work undertaken by the Combined Authority and that we needed to work as a collaborative team.


The Committee and the Executive Councillor agreed to invite Mayor Palmer to a Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee meeting and the Chair of the Committee confirmed that she would write to Mayor Palmer to invite him.


The Committee noted the update.


The Executive Councillor noted the update.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.



Publication date: 05/04/2019

Date of decision: 08/10/2018