Concise Minutes - Public Accounts Committee


Meeting Venue:

Committee Room 3 - Senedd

Meeting date: 13 October 2015

Meeting time: 09.03 - 11.04
This meeting can be viewed
on Senedd TV at:
http://senedd.tv/en/3258


Attendance

Category

Names

Assembly Members:

Darren Millar AM (Chair)

Mike Hedges AM

Sandy Mewies AM

Julie Morgan AM

Jenny Rathbone AM

Aled Roberts AM

Andrew RT Davies AM (In place of Mohammad Asghar (Oscar) AM)

Alun Ffred Jones AM (In place of Jocelyn Davies AM)

Witnesses:

Leo Bedford, Amber Infrastructure Limited

Giles Frost, Amber Infrastructure Limited

Gareth Morgan, Welsh Government

Christopher Munday, Welsh Government

James Price, Welsh Government

Committee Staff:

Fay Buckle (Clerk)

Claire Griffiths (Deputy Clerk)

Joanest Varney-Jackson (Legal Adviser)

Alistair McQuaid (Wales Audit Office)

Mike Usher (Wales Audit Office)

Huw Vaughan Thomas (Wales Audit Office)

Nick Tyldesley (District Valuer)

 

<AI1>

Transcript

View the meeting transcript.

</AI1>

<AI2>

1       Introductions, apologies and substitutions

1.1 The Chair welcomed the Members to the meeting.

1.2 Apologies were received from Mohammad Asghar. Andrew R T Davies substituted.

1.3 Jocelyn Davies excluded herself under Standing Order 18.8. Alun Ffred Jones substituted.

1.4 The declarations of interest made in the meeting on 12 October are applicable to this meeting.

1.5 Following a BBC article on 12 October, the Auditor General for Wales advised that the figure of £16.93m is taken from information provided by Lambert Smith Hampton Ltd (LSH) and is comprised of:

·         Paragraph 9.19 of LSH's written submission to the Public Accounts Committee (available on the Committee’s web-site), which discloses the sale of part of the Monmouth site by SWLD for £12 million; and

·         Paragraph 3.129 of the Auditor General's report on RIFW,  which references the sales by SWLD of the Aberdare, Bangor and Pyle (7 of 13 acres) sites for £0.43 million, £2.5 million and £2.0 million respectively

</AI2>

<AI3>

2       Papers to note

2.1 The papers were noted.

</AI3>

<AI4>

3       Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales: Evidence Session 3

3.1 The Committee scrutinised Welsh Government officials who were previously responsible for the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales, questioning James Price, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Economy, Skills and Natural Resources Group, Christopher Munday, Deputy Director, Business Solutions and Gareth Morgan, Deputy Director, Public Transport.

·         James Price was formerly the Director General and Additional Accounting Officer of the Department that created RIFW

·         Chris Munday was the lead official responsible for the establishment of RIFW, the appointment of the Board members  and the selection of the assets transferred from the Welsh Government to RIFW.  Mr Munday also acted as the Welsh Government observer on the RIFW Board until June 2011.

·         Gareth Morgan represented the Department as it is now, into the input into the responses on RIFW and has a knowledge of arms- length bodies.

3.2 James Prices agreed to send further information on:

·         The line management structure applicable to Christopher Munday during his period as observer on the RIFW Board and the mechanism for reporting to Welsh Government including following RIFW Board meetings;

·         Clarify when the policy mind-set reverted back to being a more ‘normal’ environment and decisions could be taken more rationally to from an emergency thinking of a ‘fire sale’;

·         The Welsh Government’s stance with relation to the housing assessment by Cardiff Council;

·         Confirmation whether the then RIFW Board had sight of the King Sturge Valuation Report and when;

·         Check and advise as to what information was included in RIFW Board Members induction packs and whether this information outlined the Welsh Government’s expectation of the role of RIFW Board members.

3.3 Christopher Munday agreed to check and confirm if and when he reported his observations from attending RIFW Board meetings to Welsh Ministers

</AI4>

<AI5>

4       Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales: Evidence Session 4

4.1 The Committee scrutinised Giles Frost and Leo Bedford from Amber Infrastructure Ltd as part of the inquiry into the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales.

4.2 Giles Frost agreed to check the dates Amber Infrastructure Ltd attended meetings with the RIFW Board outside of the normal meeting arrangements, what meetings, if any, Amber Infrastructure held with Welsh Government Ministers, and confirm the date the Asset Realisation Plan was approved.

</AI5>

<AI6>

5       Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting for the following business:

5.1 Due to time constraints, Members agreed that Item 1 of the meeting on 20 October would be held in private.

</AI6>

<AI7>

6       Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales: Consideration of evidence received

6.1 Due to time constraints, this item was not reached.

</AI7>

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