It will forever embed the power for the Board to appoint two community directors, which in turn will strengthen the links between the Port and its community as envisaged in the Ministerial statement made in April 2014. These directors will bring special knowledge or experience of the position of the Port within the local community and local economy.
The HRO also puts the Port’s consultative mechanisms on a statutory basis and, in line with the Companies Act 2006, provides for meetings to take place by electronic means.
The Port is a hugely important part of the local economy, ranking first as the largest ferry port in the EU. The powers sought are considered necessary to enable Dover Harbour Board to work with the community at the beginning of what will be a significant period of regeneration for the Port and its town.
Currently the Board consists of a chairman and 4 other members appointed by the Secretary of State, the chief executive officer and a further executive officer with the Board having discretion to appoint a further member. The HRO would retain the power of the Secretary of State to appoint the chairman with the other members of the Board (“directors”) being appointed by the Board.
On 9 April 2014 the Shipping and Ports Minister, Stephen Hammond MP said:
“I believe Dover needs an enduring and meaningful consultative relationship with its port. This can be achieved by a legal commitment to consult interested parties, as has been done successfully at other major trust ports. The port and community forum and port user group are in their early days but these groups, among others which have been seen to work well at major trust ports, could be vehicles for delivering this legal commitment.
But we need to do more to deliver a significant and enduring relationship between town and port.
So as well as the legal commitment I have agreed with the board that an important form of permanent community involvement is seats in the boardroom.
Therefore additional, community non-executive directors should be appointed to the board, as has been done at other successful trust ports.
The future board will consist of the chairman, existing non-executive specialist directors, executive directors, and now these community non-executive directors.”