Agenda item


            The Chief Executive of ICC Belfast reported that, in January 2020, the BWUH Ltd Board and Senior Management team, Belfast City Council and the Shareholders’ Committee had agreed a five year business plan, including a strategy execution map

and tactical direction of the company.


            However, given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which had caused the ICC Belfast, the Waterfront Hall and the Ulster Hall to close, in April 2020, the agreed mission and aim was set aside for an interim mission.


She explained that the BWUH Ltd Board had held a virtual strategy day in October 2020, to discuss short and medium plans to take the business forward. The Members were advised that outputs from the session had included both strategic and corporate projects to ensure the long term sustainability of BWUH Ltd and eventual business preparedness for when it was safe to open again.


            The Committee was advised that it was usual at that time of year to agree amendments and extensions to the five year plan but, due to the uncertainty that Covid-19 had brought to the industry, the report sought to provide the Shareholders’ Committee an overview of the direction of travel for 2021/2022.


            She explained that a draft business plan would be submitted to the BWUH Ltd Board on 11th February, 2021, for its consideration, and would subsequently be presented to the next BWUH Shareholders’ Committee.


            The Members were advised that the anticipated re-opening date for the venues was 1st April, 2021, however, given the recent announcement from the NI Executive in January 2021, that was subject to change.


            The Committee was provided with an overview of the Business’s key achievements in 2019/2020, including that it had exceeded the £100M economic impact target one year ahead of schedule. 


            She provided the Members with the Interim Strategic and Corporate Projects 2021/2022 as well as an analysis of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.


            The Director of Finance and Systems provided a financial update in regard to income, room hire targets and overheads.  He emphasised that there remained a great deal of uncertainty for events which were currently scheduled to take place between April and June 2021.


            A Member cited the recent Supreme Court ruling which would mean that tens of thousands of businesses would receive an insurance pay out to cover financial losses occurring during the UK’s first lockdown under Covid-19.  TheDirector of Finance confirmed that he had been in touch with the Council’s Insurance and Risk manager in relation to that issue.


            A number of Members raised questions in relation to future proofing the venues, including hybrid-offerings and live streaming artists to a virtual audience.  The Chief Executive confirmed that they had successfully held a “Live from the Ulster Hall” event over the festive period and had received a small grant from the Arts Council NI to do so.


            A further Member asked for an update on the building maintenance programme.  The Chief Executive advised that an update on the works could be submitted to a future meeting in conjunction with the Physical Programmes Department.


            The Committee noted the contents of the draft Business Plan 2021/2022.