Agenda item

Public Questions & Requests to Address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

(Democratic & Electoral Services Team Manager) To receive questions submitted by members of the public and any requests to address the Committee, in accordance with Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Council’s Constitution.


(a)       Public Questions


Members of the public may ask questions of the Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny Committee at ordinary meetings of the Committee, in accordance with the procedure set out in the Constitution.


(b)       Requests to address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee


Any member of the public or a representative of another organisation may address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on any agenda item (except those dealt with in private session as exempt or confidential business), due to be considered at the meeting.


(a)          Public Questions


The Chairman announced that two questions had been received from an Epping resident, who had been unable to attend this meeting. The questions were as detailed below:


Question 1: Qualis Finance Report As the reported ‘Expenditure’ was higher and ‘income’ (generally) significantly less than expected, did you envisage any problems with meeting deadline dates covering the costs associated with ‘interest’ loan repayments?



Qualis had paid interest and principal on loans to date and envisaged no issue with continuing to make these payments. Income from Qualis Management and Qualis Group was as expected. Qualis Living income was lower than forecast, and expenditure was also lower which improved the position. Qualis Commercial was not expecting any income this year, as per the financial plan.


Six months ago Qualis News released a statement advising that a new Community Interest Company was agreed and would form a Partnership with specialists Primera Corporation? The only acknowledgment of this new company set-up [the Epping resident] could see in this latest report shows that £3,000 was spent on ’set-up’ costs?, £6,000 paid to Primera?, and £10,000 on ‘Other’?


Question 2: Could you kindly give a couple examples of what the £10,000 ‘Other’ had been spent on and a summarised progress report on the partnership with Primera?


Answer (in part):

The fee agreed with regeneration specialists Primera for supporting the set-up of the Community Interest Company (CIC), full stakeholder consultation, identifying focus areas and the initial projects, was £13,000. There had been no additional expenditure associated with the CIC to date apart from relatively small costs associated with registering the company. The CIC was fully supported by the Group and did not currently have any employees. Costs associated with support would be recharged to the CIC, which was the most efficient approach during the set-up phase. The CIC would require seed money to get started in October 2021, and we were currently exploring funding options for the initial projects. Please see the Qualis Four-Year Business Plan (2021-2025) for additional information.


The Chairman remarked that Qualis had not had time before the meeting to answer question 2 fully, but this would be recorded in the minutes of this meeting. Replies would also be sent separately to the Epping resident.


Post meeting update: To conclude the answer to question 2 around the Community Interest Company (CIC), the details set out in the Qualis Quarterly Monitoring Report (quarter 1) to Cabinet on 20 April 2021 were a list of potential calls against the contingency budget of the Qualis Group.


The figures set out were:


£3,000 for the initial scoping and set up of the CIC. This expenditure has been committed to.


£6,000 for specialist consultancy support from Primera.


£10,000 for the start-up of initial projects till income and funding can be raised. To date no projects have been identified or committed to.


The Qualis Four-Year Business Plan summarised the progress Qualis had achieved with the CIC thus far. Qualis also intended to issue a press release after the stakeholder consultation exercise was completed, to inform interested parties of the key focus areas over the next four years.


(b)          Requests to address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee


The Committee noted that no requests to address the meeting had been received.