The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (the Act) provides that the Police and Crime Commissioner for a police area must appoint a person to be responsible for the proper administration of the Commissioner’s financial affairs (referred to in the Act as the Chief Finance Officer).
Councillor Hawkins declared a personal interest as she knew Mr Menon.
David Munro - Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)
Lisa Herrington - Chief Executive (Interim), Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC)
Key points raised in the discussion:
1. The Chairman welcomed Mr Kelvin Menon to the meeting and in accordance with Schedule 1, paragraph 11 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, stated that this was the formal confirmation hearing for the proposed appointment of Chief Finance Officer of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey.
2. The Chairman explained that the Panel was invited to question the candidate on whether he had the professional competence and personal independence to exercise the role and the Panel would go into a private session to decide upon its recommendation to the Commissioner.
3. Following the meeting, under paragraph 10, Schedule 1 of the Act the Panel would review the proposed appointment and make a report with a recommendation to the PCC within three weeks of the Panel’s notification of the proposed appointment.
4. The current postholder Ian Perkin would retire in March 2020 and as a result a selection process for the new Chief Finance Officer was undertaken and Kelvin Menon was identified as the preferred candidate.
5. The Panel and PCC offered a vote of thanks to Mr Perkin.
6. The Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) stated that Mr Menon had undergone a thorough selection process and thanked those involved for their advice and firmly recommended that Mr Menon be appointed to the role of Chief Finance Officer.
7. At the request of the Chairman, Mr Menon summarised his professional qualifications: he was a qualified chartered accountant with ten years’ experience in public practice as an auditor and accountant, he then became a finance director for a number of property developers before moving into the public sector where he was an elected parish councillor for eight years. He headed the finance department at Berkshire East Primary Care Trust, before his move to Surrey Heath Borough Council (BC) as Executive Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer where he had been for the last twelve years – where he increased managerial efficiency and diversified the council’s investment portfolio.
8. Mr Menon stated that working within the OPCC presented a new challenge where he would use his combined past experiences. Surrey Police’s move to its new headquarters at Leatherhead was an exciting venture.
Panel Members were invited to question Mr Menon and a summary of the questions and responses can be found below:
9. In response to the Chairman’s question, Mr Menon stated that contractually the earliest he could start was the beginning of March.
10. A Member noted that the budget for the OPCC was significantly larger than that of Surrey Heath BC and was asked how he saw the relationship between the OPCC and Surrey Police. Mr Menon explained that despite the difference in budget size, both Surrey Heath BC and the OPCC would have similar budget constraints so he would use similar techniques. He noted that there would be a close relationship between himself at the OPCC and with the Chief Finance Officer of Surrey Police as it was important to align their objectives.
11. In response to the Vice-Chairman’s query over his membership of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), Mr Menon explained that had gained CIPFA whilst at Surrey Heath BC as it gave him a greater knowledge of public sector accounting.
12. In response to a Member question over the strategic advice given on large scale capital projects, Mr Menon commented that at Surrey Heath BC he oversaw the redevelopment of the area to the north of Camberley which involved taking control of the site. Particularly he was involved in the tender process for site which cost in excess of £100 million and was currently in the process of negotiating a development agreement.
13. Mr Menon was asked by the Chairman as to whether he had considered the relationship between Sussex and Surrey Police forces, he stated that it was advantageous to have closer association between the two but there would be differing priorities between them.
14. In response to the Chairman’s query over how he would handle his relationship with the PCC if he found him diverging from his role, Mr Menon stated that he would hope to have a strong relationship based on mutual trust and they would address issues jointly.
15. Mr Menon was asked by the Vice-Chairman about his experience with IT projects and noted that he had some experience in Surrey Heath BC where he implemented a new financial system. It was essential that IT projects focused on user experience and provided good value for money, not underestimating the amount of resources.
16. In response to a Member query over the timescale of the Panel’s recommendation for the proposed appointment of Mr Menon, the Chief Executive (Interim) commented that the Panel had three weeks from receipt in the published agenda to contact the PCC.
The Chairman brought the discussion to a close by thanking Mr Menon for attending and answering the questions put to him.
That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information under the relevant paragraphs of Part 3 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Exclusion of the Public (Part 2): 11:03am
The Panel considered the appointment of the proposed candidate for the role of Chief Finance Officer under Part 2.
Exclusion of the Public (Part 2) ended: 11:07am
The Panel reviewed the proposed appointment and would publish a report to the Commissioner on the proposal recommending the appointment of the candidate, Kelvin Menon.
Actions/Further information to be provided:
R50/19: The Panel will publish a report to the Commissioner - within the three week period - on the proposal recommending the appointment of the candidate, Kelvin Menon.