Agenda and minutes

Special Meeting, Corporate Governance and Standards Committee - Wednesday, 15th May, 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. View directions

Contact: John Armstrong, Democratic Services and Elections Manager  Tel: (01483) 444102


No. Item


Apologies for absence and notification of substitute members

Additional documents:


Apologies for absence were received from Murray Litvak and Simon Schofield.



Local code of conduct - Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to declare at the meeting any disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda.  Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must also withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.


If that DPI has not been registered, you must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.


Councillors are further invited to declare any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.


Additional documents:


There were no disclosures of interest.


Corporate Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee noted that, on 3 January 2024, the former Chief Executive and other statutory officers commissioned the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) to undertake an Independent Governance Review of Guildford Borough Council (GBC). The scope of the review had been deliberately wide, to encompass the entirety of the Council’s business, structure, processes, systems and culture.

Alongside this report, SOLACE had also been commissioned to look specifically at Guildford’s housing landlord function.

The main finding of the reports, both of which were appended to the report submitted to the Committee, was that the Council was at serious risk of failing in its statutory duty to deliver Best Value. The recommendations of both reports were designed to assist the Council to avoid such a failure, and to address the issues identified.

The reports had recognised the efforts that were already underway to improve the Council’s operation, and had recommended that the Council should develop a comprehensive Improvement Plan encompassing all of the recommendations within the reports.

The SOLACE reviews had also recommended that the progress of the Improvement Plan should be reported to the Council at six monthly intervals for three years. 

The Joint Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service introduced the report and emphasised that he, the Joint S151 Officer and Joint Monitoring Officer, and all of the Corporate Management Board had accepted all the findings of the report, and that the situation that they described was not acceptable, and that residents and businesses deserved better.   The statutory officers had all agreed that there was a problem and were united in their determination to deal with it.  The proposed improvement plans were comprehensive and addressed every recommendation and finding.  It was intended that the improvement plans would continue to develop and, in line with the recommendations, progress on implementation would be reported, in public, to full Council every six months and, in that regard, an independent assurance panel would be appointed to provide support and challenge, including an independent view on progress every six months, which would also be published.

The Joint Chief Executive, in commending the report to the Committee, emphasised that it was about the basics, getting the right culture, the right structure, strategic direction and values, the right governance, appropriate financial controls in order and ensuring that the Council provided the services that residents and businesses deserved and in a way that was openly and transparently value for money.

The Leader of the Council also acknowledged that the people of Guildford deserved better from their council, and that the Executive was absolutely committed to putting right the long-standing issues which had been uncovered and that they welcomed the reports, and all of their recommendations.


During the debate, the following points were raised by the Committee and those in attendance:

Comments from non-Committee members:

·      In response to a question as to whether the proposals in the Housing Sub-plan in respect of addressing performance management issues were unique to the housing team, the Joint Chief  ...  view the full minutes text for item CGS3