Agenda Item No. 4
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Trust Committee: 17th October 2016
Report of the Managing Director
Former Sixth Form Site - Cowbridge Comprehensive School
Purpose of the Report
- To formally apprise the Committee of the outcome of the formal request to the Trustees of the Cowbridge Comprehensive School Trust and the Sir Thomas Mansel Franklen Trust to remove the prohibition imposed by those Trustees on a member of a local authority within or serving the Vale of Glamorgan from being a Trustee or either of the said Trusts.
- To seek an appropriate resolution from the Committee in order that the conditional approval given to the Scheme drafted by the Charity Commission (attached at Appendix 1) on 27th July 2015 be progressed with and the Scheme be forwarded to the Charity Commission for authorisation
- That the Committee note the outcome of discussions with the Trustees of the Sir Thomas Mansel Franklen and Cowbridge Comprehensive School Trusts concerning the eligibility of Members of the Authority (and Members of the Community Council) to act as Trustees of either Trust.
- That the Committee determine and resolve to approve the Scheme and forward the said Scheme to be submitted to the Charity Commission for final authorisation.
Reasons for the Recommendations
- To update the Committee as to the outcome of the discussions with the Trustees of both Trusts.
- To enable progress to be made with the disposal of the Sixth Form Site.
- The full background to the ultimate drafting of the new Scheme was set out in the report to the Committee of 27th July 2015 (Appendix 2).
- Following the resolution of the Committee of 27th July 2015 (Appendix 3), correspondence was entered into by Legal Services with the Secretary to the Trusts in order to seek a reversal of the prohibition on Members of the Authority (or Members of Community Councils in the Vale) serving as Trustees of the Trusts. A concession has been made permitting the appointment of Community Councillors as Trustees but the Trustees are adamant that Members of this Authority remain ineligible to act as Trustees. The reason is that the Trustees are anxious to avoid any possibility of a Trustee promoting a course of action on the basis that it might benefit the Council as the Local Education Authority rather than the beneficiaries of the Charity. The Secretary to the Trustees has stated that during the year in which he has served in that capacity there have been numerous occasions where a Councillor Trustee would have been excluded from discussion and decisions due to conflict of interest. The Trustees state that they are anxious that the Sixth Form Site be disposed of as soon as possible to enable application of the sale proceeds for charitable purposes. It is plainly undesirable for the Scheme purposes to be unduly delayed.
- From an administrative point of view it is plainly more convenient to transfer the land direct to the Trustees in order to facilitate implementation of the Scheme without delay; this will lead to savings in officers' time both in the interim securing arrangements for the Site which are becoming problematic and in marketing the Site particularly in the situation where the Council has no interests in the Site or its sale proceeds and is liable as Trustee in the interim for safety of the Site. Recent correspondence from a resident at Millfield Drive has complained about the appearance of the building, damage caused by trespassers and risks to young people entering as trespassers and becoming injured, poor maintenance of the fences / hedges separating the building from adjacent residential properties with invasion of pernicious weeds to neighbouring residents' gardens.
Relevant Issues and Options
- The Committee can proceed with final authorisation of the Scheme and subsequent transfer of the land to the Trustees or can determine that officers of the Council should proceed to marketing and disposal of the Site with the net sale proceeds to be transferred to the Trustees. Costs savings will accrue from a direct transfer of land and a concomitant responsibility for maintenance and safety of the Site to the Trustees.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- The transfer of the land will enable costs savings to the Council in relation to security and ancillary costs in relation to the Site.
- There are no financial benefits in the Trust retaining control over the disposal of the site as all proceeds of sale are subject to the objects of the new Scheme.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- There are no such implications.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
- The Council in its Trustee role is required to comply with the statutory requirements set out in the Charities Acts 1993 and 2011.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- There are no crime and disorder implications.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- There are no Equal Opportunities implications.
- The sole concern of the Trustee is to act in the best interests of the Trust.
Policy Framework and Budget
- Not applicable.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
Draft Scheme at Appendix 1
Report to the Committee of 27th July 2015 at Appendix 2
Resolution of the Committee of 27th July 2015 at Appendix 3
Mike Walsh, Principal Officer, Property & Contracts Team, Legal Services
Strategic Estates Manager and Principal Accountant
Rob Thomas, Managing Director