New Guidelines for Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) and every other Harbour in England

The new Guidelines just published by the Government contain many useful suggestions, which we would love to see applied to Whitby harbour. Remember, SBC is the Strategic Harbour Authority for Whitby Harbour and every single Harbour Authority in England should be complying with these new Guidelines:

“Harbour Board Effectiveness – Principles:

“The Board and its committees need to have the appropriate balance of skills, experience, independence and knowledge to enable them to discharge their respective duties and responsibilities effectively.

“The Board needs to be of a sufficient size so that the requirements of the business can be met. It should include an appropriate combination of executive directors and Non-Executive Directors such that no individual or small group of individuals can dominate the board’s decision taking.

“New directors should be appointed by a formal, thorough and transparent procedure. The search for, and appointment of, board candidates should be made on merit, against objective criteria and with regard for the benefits of diversity on the board, including gender.

“It is important that all directors can allocate sufficient time to the company to discharge their responsibilities effectively. All directors should receive induction on joining the board and should regularly update and refresh skills and knowledge.

“It is important that a Board is supplied in a timely manner with information in a form and of a quality appropriate to enable it to discharge its duties.

“It is good practice for Boards to undertake a formal and rigorous annual evaluation of its own performance and that of its committees as well as of individual directors. The chair may decide to act on the results of a performance evaluation by recognising the strengths and addressing weaknesses of a board.

“All directors should be considered for re-election or re-appointment as appropriate at regular intervals, subject to their continued satisfactory performance.

“Harbour Board Accountability – Principles :

“The Board should present a fair, balanced and understandable assessment of its position and prospects. This responsibility covers annual reports and information required to meet statutory requirements.

“A Board is responsible for determining the nature and extent of the principal risks it is willing to take in achieving its strategic objectives. The board should maintain sound risk management and internal control systems.

“Further, a Board should establish formal transparent arrangements for considering how they should apply the corporate reporting and risk management and internal control principles and for maintaining an appropriate relationship with the company’s auditors. An audit committee, including three Non-Executive Directors or two in smaller organisations, should be established to help achieve this.”

Well, well, well!  Fair? Balanced? Transparent? That all seems to be a far cry from what Scarborough Borough Council is doing in Whitby. Always remember, SBC created a Whitby Harbour Board a few years ago – and then abolished it a couple of years later. For the past several years all decisions about our harbour have been made by one person: the Portfolio Holder for Ports and Harbours on the Cabinet of Scarborough Borough Council.

We wonder when SBC will comply these new Government Guidelines, which now apply to every single harbour in England?

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