The Executive Director of Economic Development and Communities submitted a report to outline the proposal from North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Trust (NONDET) to take over the running of North Ormesby Market.
The report stated that NONDET had approached Middlesbrough Council with a proposal to take on the running of North Ormesby Market. NONDET are a Company Limited by Guarantee, a Registered Charity and a Development Trust. They formed in 1997 and are managed by a Board of Directors, which meet monthly. They currently operate:
a. an information point which also doubles as the organisations main base;
b. a Community Shop selling donated goods;
c. a print facility, broadband service for residents of the area and Childcare provision run from North Ormesby Community Hub; and,
d. are the accountable body for the £1M North Ormesby Big Local initiative.
The report outlined that Middlesbrough Council currently operates North Ormesby Market twice weekly on a Tuesday and Saturday. The market was seen as being of particular significance to the area in terms of:
a) its role as a focal point within the community; and,
b) the economic benefit it brings to the Kings Road retail community and local community facilities and projects.
The performance of the market has however declined in recent years, mirroring national trends. A study carried out by the Retail Markets Alliance indicated a 14% decrease in the number of market traders nationally in the five years previous, with competition from low cost shops and supermarkets reducing the traders ability to compete.
Although the fortunes of North Ormesby Market have mirrored the national picture, recent capital investment in the Market Place, alongside work carried out by Council staff has seen a stabilisation of the market operation. The most recent figures for the financial year 2013/14 demonstrate the Council made a profit of around £15.7K in its operation, although weather and other factors the previous year meant it operated at a loss of around £2K.
There was a perception however that the quality of the market traders has declined in recent years, with the majority now dealing in second hand goods on Saturdays.
The report gave information on the following areas, further details of which were outlined in the report:
Council Operation - Financial Breakdown,
Financial Health; and
The report outlined in terms of the options that the Council had been approached by NONDET with the proposal to take on the running of the market. As such the proposal can only be judged on its own merit in relation to:
a) its fit with Council priorities, in particular the Change Programme; and,
b) the submitted business case.
Given the Councils stated intention that where possible it will
Council competition if there is an effective local market that would continue to operate without the Council this is the criteria against which the proposal is being assessed.
The options were therefore:
a) to retain the status quo with the Council continuing to deliver the service; or,
b) agree the NONDET proposal to allow it to take on the running of the market.
Assessment of the financial case suggests that the proposal was deliverable, and that was adequately equipped to deliver the required financial stability. Acceptance of the proposal would potentially leave a budget pressure of up to £15,000 within Environment, Property and Commercial Services, but would contribute to the overall reduction of Council activity required to meet the challenging budget savings required from corporate functions such as finance.
NONDET taking on the market could also contribute significantly to the sustainability of their operation, and enhance their wider impact on a community identified by the Council as being in need of urgent support.
As demonstrating a relatively low risk, sustainable example of successful self-management principles in North Ormesby could have such significant benefits, the recommended option is therefore to agree the NONDET proposal.
That the operation of North Ormesby Market be transferred to NONDET, subject to the following conditions:
a) a process be identified which enables the smooth transition of staff from Middlesbrough Council to NONDET as part of a TUPE, secondment or buying in arrangement, addressing any potential implications through this process;
b) a plan for strengthening the day to day management capacity of the organisation be agreed with the Council;
c) ongoing links be established between NONDET and the Councils Economic Development Team who will be able to provide advice and signpost to relevant areas for support; and,
d) the Council retain the ability through an agreement with NONDET to bring the service back in-house if it is evident that the proposed transfer is not working. Clear and robust monitoring arrangements would need to be put in place to identify the circumstances in which this could be enacted.
The decisions were supported by the following reasons:
The proposal fulfils key priorities for the Council in terms of:
a) the Council seeing its role as an enabler rather than provider of services, where a suitable alternative to its own provision is available;
b) the positive impact approval of the proposal will have on strengthening the local voluntary sector in the area and increasing the ability of local communities to self-manage; and;
c) the NONDET proposal demonstrates their ability to deliver an at least comparable and potentially improved service to that of the Council