A decision that Lancaster City Council should directly manage the Storey Creative Industries Centre has been called-in for scrutiny.
The city council’s Cabinet discussed the future of the SCIC, which is currently managed by a private company, earlier this month and agreed to support its use as a creative industries centre but under the council's direct management and control.
The decision was taken after the SCIC failed to meet the terms of a loan which was granted to it in February 2012.
However, the decision has now been called-in for scrutiny and the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee will investigate the issue at a specially arranged meeting on Tuesday 17th July at Lancaster Town Hall.
Members of the committee will consider the Cabinet report along with any additional information which has become available since the decision was taken.
The call in, made by Conservative councillors, argues the decision is unclear as to the actions that have been delegated to the chief executive and that "openness was lacking" in that the public report was not published until after the Cabinet meeting had finished.
It's also argued the stated aim of the decision to take control of the running of the Centre is unclear and does not appear to have been set out unambiguously in the decision taken by cabinet.
"The aim ignores the financial implications of the preliminary actions decided upon, and potential future costs. The aim to be achieved by the decision is to resolve the future use of the Storey Institute building following the failure of the company to achieve profitability and at the same time to protect as far as practicable the interests of the sub tenants with businesses in the building, while also protecting the financial interests of local taxpayers."
The call-in will seek to question the decision takers in order to make a recommendation to Cabinet (or Council) to clarify and modify the instruction given to the Chief Executive, so that the Cabinet decision leads to effective support of the Creative Industry businesses that are presently subtenants of the building while also protecting the public purse.
These reasons are public - but it is anticipated that the public will be excluded from most of the call in process to enable questions to be raised on the exempt report to Cabinet.
The meeting will start at 7.00pm, or after the conclusion of the scheduled meeting of the Budget and Performance Panel.
Members of the committee will have the opportunity to question the decision makers, make recommendations and potentially ask Cabinet to reconsider the decision.
Other options available are to refer the matter to full council who, after debate, can accept Cabinet's decision or refer it back to Cabinet for reconsideration.
Alternatively the committee can decide to take no action, in which case the decision will be implemented.