Green Capital commonly asked questions

1. European Green Capital Bid

Why did Bristol win?

Bristol is European Green Capital for 2015. The European Green Capital Award was launched in 2008 by the European Commission to promote and reward the efforts of cities and their local authorities to improve the environment.

Nominated cities face stiff competition from all over Europe and Bristol is the first UK city to win the award. 

The Europa website gives further detail about why Bristol won.

What did Bristol City Council spend on the bid to become European Green Capital?

A sum of £44k was made available by the Council to help deliver the application for European Green Capital status. This covered the production of the bid, video materials, website and other communication activities.

Who else contributed to the development bid?

Additional contributions were made in kind from other organisations. For example the University of the West of England contributed towards the costs of producing a video.

In addition, staff time and associated costs were committed to the campaign by the Council and other organisations. For example both Bristol Water and Wessex Water wrote chapters of the technical bid and assisted with the presentation and answering technical questions during the assessment process.

2. Bristol 2015 Ltd company information

What is Bristol 2015 Ltd ?

Bristol 2015 Ltd is an independent limited company registered at Companies House (company number 08917477). Its registered address is Units 5-6, 1 Canon's Road, Bristol BS1 5TX.

Where are Bristol 2015 Ltd’s offices?

Bristol 2015 Ltd offices are at Units 5-6,1 Canon's Road, Bristol BS1 5TX

What is the main purpose of Bristol 2015 Ltd?

The main purpose of Bristol 2015 Ltd is to manage and deliver key events and activities during 2015, engaging with key partners and attracting sponsorship to support additional activities. Its core activities are events management, marketing and communications.

What is Bristol 2015 Ltd’s relationship to Bristol City Council?

Bristol 2015 Ltd has a contractual agreement with Bristol City Council (BCC) to deliver key events and activities during 2015, including a Neighbourhood Arts programme, Schools programme and a series of national and international summits.

Contract documents:

Why have a separate company delivering this?

Since the award is to the City of Bristol and not Bristol City Council, delivery of the year through a separate company has prevented it being seen as a solely Council-led initiative and has enabled input on the design of the year from a range of experienced Board members.

3. Bristol 2015 Ltd management arrangements

Who manages Bristol 2015 Ltd?

Bristol 2015 Ltd is governed by a Board of Directors and Chaired by Andrew Garrad. 

During 2015 the Senior Management Team of Bristol 2015 Ltd were:

  • Chief Executive Officer: Nicola Yates
  • Director of Education and Engagement: Savita Custead
  • Finance Director: Emma Lloyd
  • Director of Operations: Ben Hardy
  • Marketing & Communications Director: Zoe Sear

How can the City Director of the Council also be the Chief Executive of Bristol 2015 Ltd?

The City Director undertakes the role of Chief Executive at Bristol 2015 Ltd over and above the time she spends executing her duties at the City Council.  The City Director fulfils her contractual time commitments to the City Council.

Is the Council paying the salary of the Chief Executive of Bristol 2015 Ltd?

This is a separate engagement and Nicola Yates receives no additional remuneration for this role from the Council. In accepting the role in Bristol 2015 Ltd the City Director has complied fully with Section 117 of the Local Government Act 1972.

4. Funding for the Bristol 2015 Programme

Details of the funding of the Bristol 2015 programme was presented in a report to the Council’s Audit Committee on 11 March 2016.

What public money is available for Bristol 2015 programme?

Bristol City Council has allocated £1m to the Bristol 2015 programme from its general fund, which includes funds from Council Tax and other sources. This was agreed at a Cabinet meeting on 27th June 2013.  An extra £200,000 has been specifically allocated to the One Tree Per Child project, which is now being managed directly by the City Council.

£7m of funding from the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has been made available to Bristol 2015 Ltd via a contract with Bristol City Council to enable delivery of specific aspects of their Programme.

A total of £4.7m was paid to Bristol 2015 Ltd by the City Council with other funds, such as grants to community projects, paid by the city council directly.

What other sources of funding are available to Bristol 2015 Ltd?

In addition to the Council funding for the programme, Bristol 2015 Ltd has separately attracted sponsorship from a number of organisations. This comprises both cash to support additional activities, plus ‘in kind’ support for initiatives. The split of sponsorship between cash and value in kind is as follows:

Cash 1,800,000
Value in Kind 2,309,000
Total 4,109,000

To date (16 April 2015)

5. Publishing information about Bristol 2015 Ltd

What is the status of Bristol 2015 Ltd with regards to the Freedom of Information Act?

Bristol 2015 Ltd is not a publicly-owned company as defined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and is not therefore subject to the FOIA. The Council monitors the spend of public funds by Bristol 2015 Ltd and reports this both to its own audit committee and then to DECC, but has no authority to monitor the use of private funding.

Why does the Council not publish Bristol 2015 Ltd’s full accounts?

As it is a private company the Council does not hold the full accounts for Bristol 2015 Ltd, but it does track the public money spent.

Details of the funding and spending of the Bristol 2015 programme was presented in a report to the Council’s Audit Committee on 11 March 2016.

Bristol 2015 Ltd also raised substantial sponsorship from businesses.  The public funds were used on certain parts of the project, in line with agreements with Bristol City Council and the Government with sponsorship being used on other aspects.  For example, the £2m of grants for community groups was funded from Government funding.

The financial controls and spending of Bristol 2015 Ltd has been scrutinised by the City Council’s Internal Auditors and the City Council’s Audit Committee, made up of councillors from all parties and independent people.  They concluded that they were satisfied by the financial control of the project.  This level of audit, scrutiny and publication is higher than the City Council applies to its other suppliers and other recipients of grants. 

As part of this enhanced financial control the city council asked that Bristol 2015 Ltd provide proof of expenditure when it invoiced the city council.  This expenditure included both spending on activities funded from public funds and those from sponsors. 

Following requests from members of the public for these invoices to be published the city council is publishing approximately 600 invoices, from approximately 200 organisations who supplied goods and service to Bristol 2015 Ltd.  The invoices contained some personal information about people and this has been blanked out, in accordance with S40(2) and S40(3) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

These are large files and may be slow to download.

6. Financial monitoring arrangements

Who is monitoring Bristol 2015 spending?

The public funding for Bristol’s year as European Green Capital is being reported to the City Council’s audit committee to ensure proper scrutiny of the spending. In addition the Council reports to DECC on a monthly basis.

What other Council reporting arrangements are in place?

From June 2013 Green Capital has reported to the following:

  • 27 June 2013: Cabinet
  • 13 February 2014: Sustainable Development & Transport Scrutiny
  • 31 July 2014: Place Scrutiny
  • 23 September 2014: Audit Committee
  • 16 October 2014: Overview & Scrutiny Management Board
  • 7 November 2014: Audit Committee
  • 14 November 2014: Overview and Scrutiny Management Board
  • 16 December 2014: Cabinet
  • 24 April 2015: Audit Committee
  • 27 November 2015: Audit Committee
  • 2 March 2016: Overview and Scrutiny Management Board

Briefings were offered to all Councillors on the following dates:

  • 24 February 2015
  • 9 July
  • 3 September
  • 12 November
  • 14 March 2016