• Business forum aims to influence chief exec over investigation

    26th November 2012 | News | Claire
  • The committee – a task and finish forum (TAFF) – set up by EDDC’s overview and scrutiny committee at its 27 September meeting, will look into the workings, membership and influence, wielded by East Devon Business Forum since its creation in 2004.

    See account of the 27 September overview and scrutiny meeting HERE.

    The six-strong membership of the TAFF, has already been agreed at the September scrutiny meeting, and includes me as a member of the committee.

    But according to the latest set of EDBF minutes from 11 October, chairman, Graham Brown and honorary secretary/EDDC economic development officer, Nigel Harrison, are to lobby EDDC, about members of the TAFF who may have ‘“preconceived ideas about the forum and its operation.”

    The resolution on page 31 of the minutes states:

    “RESOLVED that the Chairman and Honorary Secretary be authorised to write to EDDC and express the Business Forum’s concern if it was found that the membership of the Task and Finish Forum
    contained members that they considered had preconceived ideas about the Business Forum and its operation.”

    Thinking that I was probably the odds on favourite for a quick exit, if EDBF could find a way to boot me off the TAFF, I emailed chief executive, Mark Williams on Friday afternoon, asking for a copy of the correspondence that presumably would have found its way to him by now.

    He replied quickly, as always, forwarding me a message that Mr Harrison had sent him on 30 October, which contained a copy of the above minuted resolution, with a further sentence assuring Mr Williams that EDBF chairman, Graham Brown and vice-chairman, Roy Stuart, would be more than happy to “elaborate” if he wished them to.

    Mr Williams informed Mr Harrison in his reply that he would raise the issue with the TAFF chairman, Cllr Graham Troman at a ‘scoping’ meeting, which will take place on Friday of this week.

    But it is as yet unclear whether any ‘elaboration’ between EDBF’s chair and vice-chair and Mr Williams, has taken place, and if so, what may have been said, proposed or agreed.

    The TAFF’s membership, as agreed at the 27 September overview and scrutiny committee meeting is as follows:  Graham Troman (chair), Mike Allen, Vivien Duval Steer, Claire Wright, Steve Gazzard and
    Peter Burrows.

    The first meeting of the TAFF to look into the workings of EDBF, takes place on Tuesday 11 December, starting at 6pm at the Knowle, Sidmouth

    .  The meeting is open to the press and public.

    To view the EDBF minutes from 11 October, click on the link below.  You will note that Sidmouth residents Tony Green and Graham Cooper attended this meeting and gave EDBF members a frank summary of their views!