A report from the Director of Law and Governance is attached. Note: Restricted appendices containing exempt information also refer. (Key decision – reference number 5197)
(This item contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 (information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person – including the authority holding that information) of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, as amended).
Councillor Mary Maguire (Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement) introduced the report of the Director of Law and Governance identifying and communicating the results achieved by the Council’s wholly owned trading companies and providing assurance that they continued to contribute effectively to the achievement of the Council’s corporate objectives.
1. That during the financial year ending March 2020, four companies wholly owned by the Council had operated to deliver services to residents. These were: Housing Gateway Limited; Lee Valley Heat Network Operating Company Ltd. (trading as Energetik); Enfield Innovations Ltd.; and, Independence and Wellbeing Enfield Ltd. (IWE). The final year-end results were now presented to Cabinet (containing exempt information) for transparency. The company accounts were approved by the Company Boards. IWE had since been insourced as of 1 June 2020. The legal entity was currently in the process of being wound up, following the Cabinet decision of 22 January 2020.
2. The accounts and performance of each of the companies as set out in the report. The impact of the pandemic on Housing Gateway Ltd. was explained as detailed in the report. The performance of Energetik was also highlighted, together with explanations and comparisons with other energy companies who had incurred high-profile losses. It was noted that the funding structure of Energetik worked to minimise risk to both the Council and the company. The model was explained fully to Members and reassurances provided.
3. The outcomes and future status of Enfield Innovations Ltd. (EIL) as set out in the report. The Company had no viable project to move on to following the sales of its final property interests and approval was now being sought to wind-up the company.
4. That letters from each of the Company Directors were provided for Members to note.
5. That the Company Accounts and performance information were being presented to the Cabinet for noting and transparency as Shareholder of the Companies and to comply with agreed governance arrangements.
6. The lessons that had been learnt from the setting up of Enfield Innovations Ltd. (EIL). The importance of establishing a comprehensive business case considering all related risks, modelling from a company perspective and addressing the priorities of the Council was explained.
7. That the company business plans were presented on a regular basis, comprehensive shareholder agreements were in place and, clear governance arrangements were followed with effective scrutiny of the companies’ activities and performance taking place.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, that the only alternative option was not to report or monitor progress, which as identified in paragraph 25 of the report, might result in a lack of cohesion between the Council’s objectives and its use of companies. The alternative to wind-up EIL was to leave the company dormant. As there was no viable project for the company in the foreseeable future, there was not assessed to be any value in this option.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to
1. Note the results presented by the companies (containing exempt information).
2. Approve the wind-up of Enfield Innovations Ltd. (EIL), following the sales of the final two properties in which it holds an interest, and delegate authority to the Director of Law and Governance to enact the wind-up in consultation with the Company’s Directors.
Reason: The company accounts were approved by the Company Boards and were presented to Cabinet for transparency and to ensure companies’ performance remained in accordance with the Council’s strategic priorities. EIL had no viable project to move on to following the sales of its final property interests. Given the company had not delivered value, coupled with the absence of immediate opportunities, it was assessed that there was no value in keeping the company structure in place.
(Key decision – reference number 5197)