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'Far Too Little Change At Welcome To Yorkshire' Says Leader

'Far Too Little Change At Welcome To Yorkshire' Says Leader

Published by Karen Liu at 1:55pm 8th October 2019.

The Leader of Scarborough Borough Council has issued a statement in regards to the authority's contribution towards Welcome to Yorkshire.

It is after yesterday’s meeting between regional local authority leaders and tourism agency, Welcome to Yorkshire, there were calls for the transformation of Welcome to Yorkshire in order for it to secure future public funding.

Cllr Steve Siddons, Leader of Scarborough Borough Council and member of the North and West Yorkshire Business Rates Pool, said:

“The Yorkshire brand needs a marketing organisation that has the confidence of both public and tourism industry sponsors.

We were asked to consider the progress that Welcome to Yorkshire has made recently.

Since the launch of investigations into the company there's been far too little change.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s governance, accountability and transparency are still perceived as being inadequate.

I told the meeting that Welcome to Yorkshire needs a new board, a new CEO and senior team urgently to regain the confidence of all those involved in and dependent on the Yorkshire tourism industry.

The new board can then have the chance to quickly get the Yorkshire brand back on track with sweeping changes.

Members of the North and West Yorkshire Business Rates Pool agreed a series of firm conditions, which the tourism organisation’s board must accept before part release of the funds previously agreed for the financial year 2019/20, subject to further progress reviews. The conditions were:

  • Immediate recruitment of a new Welcome to Yorkshire board, with the interim chair arrangements ceasing immediately
  • A public sector chair to be appointed and the new board in place before the end of the financial year
  • Recruitment of a new Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive to start immediately and the process to be publicly visible. Until this process is complete, Jacqui Gedman, Chief Executive of Kirklees Council, to provide Welcome to Yorkshire with strategic support and authority to draw down Business Rates Pool funding as required
  • The launch of a public sector led consultation over a period of four months about the future of regional tourism

As a start to addressing the criticism of the company’s lack of openness, the pool also agreed to publish, in full, confidential reports supporting the review apart from commercially sensitive sections.

Since the meeting, the Welcome to Yorkshire board’s interim chairman, Keith Stewart, has stepped down and the transformation of the board before the end of the financial year is now in progress.

We meet again later in the year to assess improvement before future funds are released.”

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