A TOURISM organisation which was rocked by the sudden departure of its CEO Gary Verity earlier this year is set to appeal to a joint council committee for £1m to keep its finances afloat.

Welcome to Yorkshire (WtY) has been struggling financially since it had public sector funding paused during the investigations into former CEO Mr Verity, and on Monday the North and West Yorkshire Business Rates Joint Committee will discuss releasing funds to the organisation.

Since July, a group of chief executives from across the Yorkshire and Humber region – including North Yorkshire County Council – have worked with the WtY board and senior leadership team and provided advice, support and resources to accelerate change in key areas such as finance, recruitment, development of the business plan and overall improvements.

The councils have been playing a greater role in running WtY – but have said WtY needs to find permanent resources if it is to continue to progress.

The North and West Yorkshire joint committee will meet on Monday, October 7 with recommendations to deliver £1m to WtY in three instalments, with conditions attached.

The committee requires recruitment to the WtY board to be carried out immediately, with the new board in place no later than the end of the financial year; a chief executive to be recruited as soon as possible, and until the recruitment is complete, Jacqui Gedman, chief executive of Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire, is to provide strategic support to WtY.

WtY must also draw up an improvement plan and deliver progress reports to the committee by January.

The report ahead of the meeting states WtY’s funding currently consists of a split of public and private sector funding, and acknowledges WtY has delivered high profile, successful events across Yorkshire which has helped increase the value of tourism to Yorkshire from £6bn in 2011 to £9bn in 2017.

Following Mr Verity's departure from WtY, subsequent investigations into the organisation’s culture and management found greater focus needed to be put on employee wellbeing. The report also identified issues of expenses being used for personal rather than business use.

During the investigations, leaders of the North and West Yorkshire Business Rates Pool member authorities paused the release of funds to WtY.

Keith Stewart, interim chair of Welcome to Yorkshire said: "Welcome to Yorkshire is a not-for-profit organisation which does not have large cash reserves.

"The organisation is under financial pressure due to the one-off costs associated with the investigations and the pausing of public sector funding which had been included in our budget.

"We are hopeful for continued support from the North and West Yorkshire Business Rates Pool Joint Committee which will allow us to rapidly progress the recommendations from the independent investigations and continue to boost the Yorkshire tourism economy."

The nine members of the committee represent the five councils of West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire County Council, City of York Council and Scarborough and Harrogate borough councils, which represent North Yorkshire’s district councils.

The committee was brought together to make strategic decisions about how to allocate money that came about from a successful bid to the government to run a business rates pilot. It considers priorities including tourism, and economic development.