Secrecy over £25,000 report set to determine Welcome to Yorkshire's future

A report expected to determine the future of Welcome to Yorkshire is to be kept secret - even after council bosses make a decision.

By Chris Burn
Sunday, 27th February 2022, 7:00 am

The Yorkshire Leaders' Board, made up of council leaders, chief executives and the region's two metro mayors, is to meet in private on Monday to discuss the findings of a review by former Wakefield and Calderdale Council chief executive Merran McRae into the tourism organisation.

But a spokesperson for the board said while a press release will be put out after Monday's meeting, the report itself, which was commissioned at a cost of £25,000, will remain "confidential" even after a decision is made.

The spokesperson said it was not possible to say anything about the contents of the report, including what recommendations it is making.

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Former Calderdale Council chief executive Merran McRae

The review has been ordered by Yorkshire and Humber council leaders and metro mayors following a series of reputational and financial crises affecting the agency, which is currently without a chief executive. It is believed the idea of moving the region's tourism agency into formal public sector control is under consideration.

Welcome to Yorkshire is a private company but is reliant on public funding, largely coming from local councils. One of the major criticisms of the organisation in recent years has been its lack of transparency despite its use of public funding.

A Welcome to Yorkshire board meeting to discuss the Leaders' Board decision, as well as the organisation's own review into the views of private sector members, is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the agency said: "Welcome to Yorkshire understand that the confidential report is with the Yorkshire Leaders Board for consideration and a statement will be made to the media next week.

"The Welcome to Yorkshire Board will meet to discuss the outcome of the Yorkshire Leaders meeting and an agenda for the public element of that meeting will be published in advance."