Improvements underway over running of Arch

21 Dec 2017

Northumberland County Council has held a special meeting to examine the way Arch is run.

The council convened an audit committee to discuss governance at Arch - its arms-length development company.

Last month it was confirmed that Arch  would be dissolved in its current format.

The decision was taken by board members following a ‘complex and comprehensive’ independent strategic review.

The board will now establish a new company that will solely focus on Northumberland-based regeneration, job creation, affordable housing and economic growth. The new company will still be closely aligned to the County Council and will still be expected to operate as a commercial organisation and deliver profit-making schemes.

The review had found ‘failings in relation to the operating principles and fundamental purpose of Arch’. It was also outlined that ‘probity has not been at the level required’ and ‘decisions made did not always follow appropriate procedures’.

Councillor Nick Oliver, Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, said: “It is important we are open and transparent as possible as we progress with this process.

“We have had to be mindful that there is an ongoing police investigation and it was therefore not possible to disclose some of the details discussed in the closed meeting.

“Nonetheless, the audit committee is going to be taking an active role in learning lessons from what has happened at Arch and making sure that governance improvements are implemented.  

“We want Northumberland residents to know the council is committed to a bright future for the development company and we will ensure it is properly run and governed from the outset.”