Mayor’s Formal Response to Tees Valley Review Submitted

Tees Valley Mayor | Published on: 29th February 2024

The Tees Valley Mayor has provided a response to Government, which has been endorsed by the five local council leaders in the region, setting out how recommendations laid out in the independent Tees Valley Review report are to be implemented.

The review was established by the Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities following claims of corruption made in Parliament and the media in relation to the redevelopment of Teesworks, the UK’s biggest industrial zone.

The report, published in January, found no evidence of corruption or illegality in respect of Teesworks Ltd, the Teesworks Joint Venture Partners, the South Tees Development Corporation or Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA).

It also recognised the pace and scope of regeneration at Teesworks and the positive impact on the Tees Valley economy, including the creation of 9,000 jobs and the return of £1.3billion to the local taxpayer in business rates. It also highlighted the “critical” role the Joint Venture Partnership has played in unlocking and developing the site at pace.

The report contained a series of recommendations to further strengthen governance and improve transparency at the Combined Authority, with Secretary of State Michael Gove requesting a reply by 8 March on a proposed response.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has now written to the Secretary of State to provide the reply and confirm the process, which was agreed by the five Local Authority leaders who sit on the TVCA Cabinet, and Siobhan McArdle as Tees Valley Business Board Chair.

It includes a comprehensive review of the recommendations and their implications for the TVCA and STDC constitutions and governance arrangements.

A working group made up of statutory officers from all five constituent authorities – including their Chief Executives, Monitoring Officers and Chief Financial Officers – has now been established and has held its first meeting.

It will consider and agree an action plan for the implementation of the review recommendations.

An STDC board sponsor has also been appointed, who will provide feedback on proposals as they progress on behalf of the Development Corporation.

Once is completed the action plan, together with the revised governance arrangements and constitutions, will be submitted to the Combined Authority Cabinet and STDC Board for approval.

The amendments will be incorporated into the processes and documentation of Hartlepool and Middlesbrough Development Corporations to ensure best practice is consistent across all regional statutory bodies.

The Mayor is also inviting the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny to consider the scrutiny arrangements and undertake training for officers and statutory committee members.

The Local Government Association will also be invited to deliver workshops with Cabinet and senior officers within TVCA, STDC and Local Authorities to ensure independent rigour is applied to the implementation of the recommendations.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “While we were vindicated by this report and it made clear that there was no wrongdoing at Teesworks, we recognise and welcome the recommendations it made so we can continue to improve our processes.

“We have been clear that we will work quickly and effectively to deliver on these, which will provide a firm basis for future governance and transparency procedures.

“We have worked closely with officers and elected members from the five Local Authorities to ensure a co-ordinated and robust process is now in place and I look forward to working with them to move this forward at pace.”

To read the letter from the Mayor to the Secretary of State, click here.

To read the letter from the Local Authority Leaders to the Mayor, click here.

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