We know it wasn’t Devon County Council- they are quoted as saying they will object. It doesn’t seem it is Somerset County Council as DCC mentions that it believes they will also object.
So, we have a very strange situation where the CEO’s of the two counties involved seem to have no power over the people who are supposed to work on behalf of the two counties.
If enough other board members (including our own Paul Diviani) agree, presumably the increase will go ahead.
Remember, this money will not come out of their own budgets but from us, the taxpayers – and we have NEVER been asked if we agree to this.
All very well John Hart saying he cannot support the proposed 26% pay rise for the Chief Executive, Chris Garcia, but he knows that the LEP has to be chaired by a prominent businessman and businessmen have to form the majority i.e that there is no democratic control over what they do whatsoever. The coalition government set these bonkers ground rules in 2010, in what now looks like too much haste.
Questions are: what role did John Hart play in creating our particular monster under these rules? And is he prepared to continue backing an organisation spending hundreds of millions of our money on schemes which are supposed to create growth in our local economy, with no measures of success and no effective monitoring organisation?
A few more titbits.
Two of the many things we don’t know about our LEP are: how many staff our £90,729 pa (current pay rate now under review) Chief Executive, Chris Garcia, manages? Or what the staff bill and administrative costs are? Nation Audit Office (NAO) believes median number of full time equivalent staff across the country is eight.
The initial intention was that LEPs should be self-funding from private enterprise. In the event these funds did not materialise for the first LEPs to emerge, but imagine the expectations this funding mechanism could have generated amongst the “donor” community.
In a 2016 report the NAO says: “The Department [Department for Communities and Local Government] provides LEPs with £500,000 in core funding for administrative purposes, subject to LEPs securing £250,000 in match funding from local partners. All LEPs received the same core funding, regardless of size or structure.”
So there is really quite a lot of cash in the kitty to spend on “administrative purposes” (maybe it is even ring fenced for such purposes and if the CE and staff don’t get it, it disappears back to the Treasury?).
One of the reasons the Coalition announced in their 2010 White Paper the eventual abolition of Regional Development Agencies and their replacement by LEPs was because the current system was not seen to be delivering. So it is slightly surprising to see that Chris Garcia is a one-time “Director of Enterprise and Skills at the South West Regional Development Agency”.