Not dead, but dormant… how controversial YourMK might be resuscitated in Milton Keynes
An organisation that was stripped of some of its powers in the furore surrounding a council’s controversial regeneration programme is being prepared for possible resuscitation.
YourMK was a partnership set up in March 2016 by Milton Keynes Council and developer Mears Group plc to manage the delivery of the council’s new build, regeneration and repairs and maintenance functions.
But the flak it took over the way the regeneration programme was being handled eventually led to Mears agreeing in 2018 to the council taking back functions including community engagement, the neighbourhood team, and the management of the repairs contract.But YourMK still has a legal role to procure contracts to deliver new build homes, including on the regeneration estates in Milton Keynes. The council says that it and Mears are in discussions about whether it will remain the right partnership structure in future.
But now, following the resignation of all five members from the partnership’s board, MK Council has decided to appoint two senior officers to make sure its positions are covered. It will be up to Mears to provide its board members.
At a meeting of the Senior Officer Appointments Panel on Friday, two councillors decided to appoint the council’s director of housing and regeneration, Michael Kelleher, and head of legal, Paul Cummins, to the board. The board positions are unpaid.
Cllr Allan Rankine (Cons, Bletchley Park), said: “I am disappointed that it has come to this. With the right oversight, it could have been a success.”
He said he thought putting two council officers on the board was the right thingto do until either something more productive was done with YourMK, or it was decided to “dismantle” it.
Cllr Jenni Ferrans (Lib Dem, Monkston) was concerned that putting Mr Kelleher on the board might be seen as a conflict of interest. But Mr Cummins said Mr Kelleher was employed by the council to provide a housing service, and this was one way he could do this.
And Cllr Ferrans, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Labour’s Cllr Nigel Long, wanted to see the council fill its third vacancy with someone who had plenty of development experience.