Lib Dems modernise control of Woking Borough Council’s companies 

July 30, 2022 9:21 PM

Woking Borough Council owns outright, or has an interest in, a number of trading companies. They were formed to deliver council objectives in a more efficient and effective manner. These companies include the ThamesWey group of companies which is regenerating Sheerwater and Victoria Square Woking Ltd which is regenerating Woking town centre. Last year, whilst still in opposition, Woking Lib Dems instigated a Review of all WBC's finances which was conducted by accountants EY. This review contained a series of recommendations including modernising the way these companies are held to account.

EY's recommendations are now being implemented by the new Leadership team. They will improve governance of these companies in line with current best practice and allow the Council to monitor closely its interests with greater clarity, transparency, and reporting.

The creation of a Shareholders' Advisory Group will ensure that WBC's companies act in the interests of the Council as shareholder and contribute to the Council's objectives.

Councillors will no longer be appointed to company boards thereby avoiding any possible conflict of interest. Instead, there will be increased opportunity for all Councillors to review and scrutinise what companies are doing to ensure that the social and economic objectives set by the Council are not lost in the drive toward the overriding and essential requirement for a company to be economically successful.

Cllr Ann-Marie Barker, the Lib Dem Leader of Woking Borough Council, said:

"These reforms fit with the work we're doing to get the Council's finances on a sustainable footing and support other commitments set out in the 'Woking for all' strategy, including conducting Council business with openness and transparency, and ensuring we're a high performing Council.

We are also proposing to create an area on the Council's website exclusively for Council owned companies, which will provide residents with high level information about what our companies do and how we govern them."