City Council sets out way forward from auditor’s report

An extraordinary full council meeting of Nottingham City Council will take place next week to discuss the Report in the Public Interest into the council’s governance of Robin Hood Energy Ltd issued by the council’s External Auditor and the council’s action plan to respond to its recommendations.

Due to Covid restrictions, the meeting on Thursday August 27th at 2pm will he held virtually. Members of the public will be able to follow proceedings through a livestream here, with background papers available here.

The meeting will respond to the External Auditor’s Report in the Public Interest which made 13 recommendations for the council to address failings in its governance arrangements for Robin Hood Energy, the energy firm it set up in 2015 to tackle fuel poverty.

The council fully accepts the report’s findings and recommendations and has developed an action plan to address them. These add to actions already taken, including suspending senior staff at RHE, appointing industry experts and a new management team, setting up new arrangements to strengthen governance of RHE and starting a strategic review to consider all options for the company’s future.

Further actions proposed since the auditor’s report include:

• Reviewing the council’s approach to the ownership of companies and to councillor membership of its company boards
• Providing mandatory training for councillor and officer representatives on its company boards
• Reviewing the council’s approach to its own risk management and governance as well as risk management and governance of its companies
• Improving the clarity of roles of different committees involved in different aspects of the council’s companies
• Using external advice and best practice from elsewhere to help shape the way forward.

In 12 months there will be a report back to council on progress in carrying out the actions in the plan, with quarterly reports in public to the council’s Executive Board and regular feedback provided to the auditor and updates on the council’s website.

City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “The auditor’s report acknowledges that the original intentions for Robin Hood Energy to reduce fuel poverty in Nottingham were laudable. However it points out we were not strong enough in our governance of the company, which operated in a difficult market, and we accept the auditor’s findings and recommendations.

“We are fully committed to implementing a range of changes and improvements which will address the recommendations made by the auditor, in respect of Robin Hood Energy, our other companies and the council as a whole.

“We will learn from the mistakes that have been made with Robin Hood Energy and from good practice in other companies we run, to find improved ways to serve the people of Nottingham.”

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