The Government, through its Department for Transport, has just issued new official Guidelines on the ‘Good Governance’ of ports and harbours in England this month (March 2018). The Introduction to the Guidelines says: ‘This guidance covers all Strategic Harbour Authorities regardless…’
Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) is the Strategic Harbour Authority (SHA) for Whitby harbour. See for yourself just how well (or not) SBC’s current governance of Whitby Harbour (a single Portfolio Holder in SBC’s Cabinet is now responsible for all aspects of our harbour) complies with these new Government Guidelines:
“Where relevant, all port business should be headed by an effective board which is collectively responsible for the long-term success of the business. The board’s role is to provide leadership within a framework of prudent and effective controls which enables risk to be assessed and managed.
“The board’s job is to set an organisation’s strategic aims, ensure that the necessary financial and human resources are in place to meet those objectives and to review management performance in meeting them. All board directors must act in the best interests of the SHA consistent with their statutory duties.
“It is important to have a clear division of responsibilities at the head of a SHA between the running of the board and the executive responsibility for the running of the business. It is best practice that no one individual has unfettered powers of decision over the business.
“The chair is responsible for the leadership of the board and ensuring its effectiveness. Part of the chair’s role is to set the board agenda, allowing adequate time for discussion of items, in particular strategic issues. Promoting a culture of openness and debate in board discussions is also important.
“Part of the role of Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) on a board is to challenge constructively and help develop proposals on the company’s strategy. A further part of a NED’s role is to scrutinise the performance of management in meeting agreed goals and objectives and monitor the reporting of performance.”
NB: Scarborough Borough Council did set up a Whitby Harbour Board several years ago, but then dissolved it a couple of years later. Since then, one individual SBC Councillor (the Portfolio Holder for Ports and Harbours) makes all the decisions as part of the SBC Cabinet.
By the way, this report also has a chapter on Local Government Harbours, which have extra Guidelines IN ADDITION to all of the above, but don’t worry, we WILL get to those in the next few weeks…