Tonight I visited the Mendip Scrutiny Board to discuss the grants made by Mendip District Council to Bristol Academy of Performing Arts (BAPA) of £16660, £20000 and £27000.
I put several questions to the Scrutiny Board;
1.When each of the grants was made who investigated the financial viability of BAPA and it's ability to fulfill its (what)promises made to Mendip Council?
2.When considering the applications for the grants, what meetings took place in deciding the ability of BAPA to continue, which stakeholders and who in the council decided to award the two grants of £27,000 and £16660?
3.On which dates was this audit of BAPAs accounts conducted and by whom and what minutes were made and which evidence was the award based?
4.What service level were promised when each of the grants were handed over?
5.Were the three sums of £16,660, £20,000 and £27,000 given in response to specific requests to fund what functions?
6.Was any service agreement asked by Mendip when the grant was made, or what the stated terms of the awarded grant were made?
7.In the name of transparency, I am calling for an independent investigation by your scrutiny committee to investigate, to give Shepton Mallet residents the confidence in Mendip Council, I asked for each question of the report to be sourced with minutes attached, so it is clear the evidence that decisions were made.
8.Before the Musical Theatre School ceased trading last year it needed funding to attract pupils, was Mendip Council formally asked for further grants to continue, if so was there any investigations into the MTS finances.
I am pleased that the Mendip Scrutiny Board decided to conduct a scrutiny investigation into the questions raised, they hope to have a report by March 2011.
The financial officer said that Mendip Council has no recollection of a payment of £16,660 to BAPA on Mendip Councils records, and the amount does not ring any bells with him.