The Council noted reports prepared by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority summarising the work of the Authority in November and December 2017.
The Council’s representatives on the Combined Authority were invited to comment on the reports, as summarised below:-
· Councillor Topping, the Council’s representative on the Combined Authority Board commented on:
o the proposal for the Combined Authority to undertake a strategic review of bus services;
o the position with the development of the Cambridge Mass Rapid Transit Options Appraisal which was due to be considered by the Combined Authority and Greater Cambridge Partnership;
o the independent Economic Commission being led by Dame Kate Barker which was undertaking a review of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economy; and
o recent Parliamentary scrutiny of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which had now been brought under the auspices of Combined Authority.
· Councillor Fraser, a member of the Audit and Corporate Governance Committee, noted that the Mayor had been invited to attend the meeting of the Committee on 18 December 2017. As indicated in the decision summary the Committee had highlighted the need for risks around the Mayor operating without appropriate arrangements in place or in the absence of the Section 151 Officer to be reflected in the risk audit carried out by the external auditor.
· Councillor John Batchelor, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, reported that the Committee had been concerned to understand the potential implications of the decision with regard to the LEP for the way in which the Combined Authority ran its business, in particular with regard to officer structures going forward. He also commented that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be considering the mass rapid transit plans at its meeting on 29 January 2018.
During general discussion:-
· The Leader noted and took on board concerns raised by Councillor Bridget Smith about the need to maintain the positive work of the Greater Cambridge Partnership Skills Working Group, which had been chaired by the previous Chair of the LEP, in order to ensure that there was no adverse impact on skills accessibility in South Cambridgeshire.
· Councillor Van de Weyer observed that the report on Mass Rapid Transit Options had not been published with the agenda for the meeting of the Combined Authority Board.
· With reference to the Decision Summary for Audit and Governance Committee (page 203), Councillor Bridget Smith drew attention to concerns expressed that the Code of Conduct for the Combined Authority appeared “lightweight” in comparison to that of other local authorities. She suggested that a suitably robust Code of Conduct should be in place for the Mayor and Combined Authority. In response, Councillor Fraser noted that the Committee had also highlighted these concerns but that he could flag them again.
· Councillor Cathcart expressed reservations about the proposal to establish the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Land Commission and suggested that the activities of the Commission should be kept closely under review.
· In response to a question from Councillor Kindersley, Councillor Riley confirmed that substitutes were appointed for members of the Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committee.