Make it York – the unanswered questions

The confused relationship between York’s newest QUANGO “Make it York” (MIY) and the Council will be up for discussion at a meeting taking place later in the week.

Parliament Street fountainA scrutiny committee will consider how the new organisation will be held to account.

In April MIY took over management responsibilities for tourism, “Science City” and activities in the “City Centre” including the market.

The Council has agreed to pay Make it York £918,000 in 2015/16 and £898,000 in both 2016/17 and 2017/18.

In return, Make it York is required to reimburse the Council £374,000 representing the net income that the council historically collected from City centre Markets and events.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The funding is not ring fenced or stipulated against any particular category of spend.

An unseemly row developed a couple of weeks ago when MIY announced that the fountain in Parliament Street would be demolished to make way for more specialist market stalls. There had been no prior consultation before the event.

The Council has so far refused to publish a table indicating the performance indicators that the new organisation will be judged on. What has emerged into the public arena this week is a copy of the Service Level Agreement apparently signed off by all parties in March. Click here to download

It includes a very limited number of PIs. (See table right)

There are also a number of “self reported” performance measures (which will be difficult to verify)

Examples include

  • “creating 700 jobs  through interventions, with at least 500 estimated to be paid above national median wage (currently £11.62 per hour)”
  • “2,000,000 unique visitors accessing promotional or informative material about York for visiting, culture and events through channels in the ownership and influence of the company, e.g. VisitYork.org (total from web / twitter / youtube / visitor information centre / face to face etc) each year”

Noticeably lacking are numeric targets for City centre management activities.

Lack of transparency has always been one of the key issues with QUANGOS. Bodies like MIY, which are receiving large amounts of Council taxpayer’s money, need to be tied down on measurable – and independently verifiable – numeric targets.

It seems that part of the process hasn’t yet been completed.

It is therefore hardly surprising that there is a lack of baseline data which should have been published in April.

Time for the Council to get roles and responsibilities sorted out we think.

5 thoughts on “Make it York – the unanswered questions

  1. Steve Brown says:

    Mr Galloway,
    As the MD of Make It York, I am more than happy to talk you through anything to do with the way we are set up and our accountability.
    There are a number of misconceptions in your article that would be good to discuss with you.
    Let me know if you want to meet up.
    Regards,

    Steve Brown

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