ACC Liverpool Group could be sold off as part of planned review
The possible sale of Liverpool’s arena and convention centre complex will be considered in 2023/24.
It is part of a review due to be carried out of The ACC Liverpool Group, stemming from the Max Caller ‘Best Value’ inspection report of Liverpool City Council published in March 2021.
It called for a review of The ACC Liverpool Group, which has recommended a series of improvements to the council’s governance and oversight of its subsidiary to reduce the financial risk to the local authority.
The recommendations will not impact on the delivery of events at the waterfront site, which incorporates the M&S Bank Arena and Convention Centre, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the Pullman Hotel.
The ACC Liverpool Group is one of four council-owned companies that are now subject to review.
The independent report, by Local Partnerships, makes a total of 22 recommendations, many of which are already being delivered.
They include improving the governance relationship between the council and The ACC Liverpool Group, and the local authority’s oversight of its financial position.
A Governance Agreement has already been developed and is currently being reviewed by both parties.
Responsibility for the cost of repairs and maintenance of the complex is set to be transferred to The ACC Liverpool Group as part of a new lease, to reduce the financial burden on the council.
And an appraisal will be carried out in 2023/2024 to consider a range of potential options for its future, ranging from continuing with the present arrangement, through to transfer to another operator, or its sale.
Assistant Mayor and cabinet member for strategic development, Cllr Sarah Doyle, said: “The arena, convention and exhibition centre have provided an incredible boost for the city and is a major success story for Liverpool.
“This review is part of our improvement journey to make sure our governance arrangements are as good as they can be, and that we are getting best value and social value from our assets.
“This is something that the council has not been good at previously, and we are committed to putting it right. In the last year we have also worked with The ACC Liverpool Group on the creation of its own Ethical Charter to make sure it fits with the values of the city.”
She added: “It is right and proper that periodically, we take a long, hard, strategic look at our assets and consider whether or not to operate them in a different way.
“In 2023/2024 we will carry out a full options appraisal regarding The ACC Liverpool Group’s future operation. It is important to be clear that this will have absolutely no impact on the operation of the complex in the short and medium term, and events such as Eurovision and all the other high profile conferences and concerts that are in the calendar will take place as planned.”
Faye Dyer, managing director of The ACC Liverpool Group, said: “We have worked closely with the city council to assist in this review and are pleased that it did not identify any significant concerns with the internal operation of The ACC Liverpool Group.
“We are proud to have played a key role in the renaissance of Liverpool and we look forward to continuing our positive relationship with Liverpool City Council. With a further 10 years in our management agreement with the city council, we will continue to support them with any further actions as a result of the report.”
Max Caller was appointed as an inspector, by Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick in December, 2020, to scrutinise Liverpool City Council’s dealings, following the arrest of its mayor, Joe Anderson, linked to the ongoing Aloft Police inquiry focused on property dealings within the Liverpool City Council boundary.