Under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, it's a statutory requirement of our external auditor (Mazars) to issue a Public Interest Report when 'a significant matter comes to their notice, and to bring it to the attention of the audited body, and the public'.
Public interest report
Mazars published a Public Interest Report, on Monday 19 April 2021, which provides information regarding the 'Exit Package' of the former City of York Chief Executive, Ms Mary Weastell.
The recommendations from the report are that the council should:
- adopt and apply appropriate standards for business case preparation, in relation to exit and pension discretions, to improve information supporting decisions
- maintain decisions notes that document the factors that explain the case for the use of public funds under the scheme of delegation, such as where payments exceed contractual entitlements
- review the design of its governance policies and procedures to manage conflicts of interest (including self-interest threats); this should include updating the Council’s constitution and scheme of delegation
- ensure all Members fully understand the requirements of the Code of Conduct in relation to declaration of interests
- review its policies and procedures to reflect government guidance in the use of non-disclosure agreements
Our response to the report
In response to the auditor's report and recommendation, we're developing a comprehensive action plan which will be discussed at a Full Council Meeting scheduled for 4 May 2021; this meeting will be held in public, and webcast.
Senior management restructure
In order to ensure that we can meet the challenges facing the city and generate further efficiencies, we've undertaken a restructure of our Senior Management Team and Corporate Leadership Group. In turn, this has generated £200K of savings per annum, and created a new structure in which the Council can focus on recovery from the pandemic.