Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee - Wednesday 10 March 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Web ex meeting. View directions

Contact: Laura Powick 

Items
No. Item

271.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were no apologies at the meeting.

272.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2021 were agreed as a correct record.

273.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any pecuniary or personal interests by members.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.

274.

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee

To receive an update on the work of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee.

Minutes:

Cllr Kevin Cromwell, Chair of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee (GEGSC), provided an update on the work of the GEGSC.

 

It was noted that at their last meeting in January, the Committee had received presentations on social mobility from Jon McGinty, Managing Director of Gloucester City Council, and from the organisation the Power of 3; the Taxi Licensing Scrutiny Task Group report had been well received and the recommendations had been taken away by officers for implementation; and that scrutiny members were keen to be involved with the development of the digital strategy for Gloucestershire.

 

The GEGSC would be reviewing the Growth Hub service and receiving an update on the skills agenda at their meeting that afternoon.

 

As this was the last meeting before the local elections in May, Cllr Cromwell thanked GEGJC and GEGSC members for their work and support over the last four years.

 

Following a request for further information, Jon McGinty provided GEGJC members with a brief update on the work of the social mobility group within the County. He explained that the group had been in communication with the national Social Mobility Commission and had shared their research with them. The link to the report produced by the national Social Mobility Commission on social mobility opportunities within local areas in England would be shared with the Committee.

 

One member suggested that an item on health inequality and its impact on economic growth within Gloucestershire be considered by the Committee at a future meeting.

 

275.

Skills Strategy and Skills Portal pdf icon PDF 280 KB

To receive an update on the Skills Strategy and on the Skills Portal.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Pete Carr, Director of Employment and Skills, GFirst LEP, gave a presentation updating the Committee on the skills strategy and Skills Portal.

 

A suite of four documents were being prepared to coordinate employment and skills in Gloucestershire, which included an employment and skills evidence base; an employment and skills strategy; an employment and skills action plan; and a local skills report. It was understood that some of these documents had to be prioritised due to the requirements of the Department for Education.

 

The Committee was informed that work on the employment and skills strategy had been delayed in order to focus on economic recovery; however it would be revisited after March in order for the strategy to be published by the end of June 2021.

 

The presentation outlined the actions to support Gloucestershire’s economic recovery, and the following four work streams had been identified: information and signposting; apprenticeships; unemployment/redundancy support; and Cyber County – digital and cyber skills. An action plan had been developed which was included in the agenda papers for the meeting.

 

Through collaborative working with key partners, four priorities had emerged from County and District council recovery plans, which were: social value; construction; green/renewables/retrofit; and cyber and digital. Work was also being undertaken with partners to identify businesses at risk of making redundancies, and through employment initiatives such as Kickstart.

 

A demonstration was provided of the new Careers Coach Gloucestershire online tool, where individuals could research careers, access live vacancies, and build a CV. A demonstration was also provided of the Skills Portal.

Following the presentation, the Committee was asked to empower District Economic Development and Skills leads to feed main employment and skills needs and proposals into the skills strategy development and to the district representative on the Gloucestershire Skills Advisory Panel (GSAP), as well as to promote the Skills Portal.

 

It was requested that the employment and skills strategy be added as an item for the GEGJC to consider at its next meeting in June 2021 to sign off before its publication.

 

There was a query as to whether a bid would be developed for the Community Renewal Fund, which had been announced in the Chancellor’s budget the previous week. It was understood that initial conversations had taken place, and any bid needed to fit and add value to existing work streams.

 

Following further queries, the Committee was advised that the skills strategy was owned by the GSAP, which brought together employers and key agencies involved in skills in the County, including the DWP, training providers, and county and district council representatives, and it was their responsibility to monitor the action plan that had been produced. Work still needed to be undertaken to understand what success looked like.

 

It was requested that the action plan reflected the work that was being undertaken by district councils on employment and skills in the County. It was also suggested that sustainability should underpin the action plan.

 

There was a brief discussion on business redundancy concerns in Gloucestershire,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 275.

276.

The impact of Brexit in Gloucestershire pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To receive a report on the activities and findings of the Growth Hub’s EU Exit outreach project within Gloucestershire.

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation on the activities and findings of the Growth Hub’s EU Exit outreach project within Gloucestershire from Sarah Danson, GFirst LEP, and Matt Rigby, the Growth Hub.

 

The Committee understood that the project had been launched at the request of the Government to prepare businesses for the end of the transition period, and was launched in December 2020 with a target to reach 1,500 Gloucestershire businesses before the end of 31st March 2021.

Three full time advisers were employed to work on the project, and a telemarketing campaign was launched to contact local businesses to provide advice and support. It was understood that calls had become increasingly more complex and time-consuming.

 

Project activity and data on business preparedness, issues/challenges and opportunities was reported weekly to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

 

Members were also informed that the team were supporting MBA students studying International Business at the University of Gloucestershire.

 

It was understood that there were currently no funding for this project beyond the end of March 2021, however the phased plans for EU Exit meant that businesses were likely to require ongoing support until at least the end of 2021. Additionally, due to the pandemic, businesses were currently focussed on surviving, rather than on the impact of leaving the EU.

 

It was recognised that this could present LEPs and Growth Hubs with a resource challenge, and questions needed to be asked as to how this work could continue. Sarah Danson was invited to attend a meeting of the SoG to discuss the project going forward.

 

277.

Gloucestershire Covid-19 Economic Recovery Planning

To receive an update on activities and proposals relating to the Gloucestershire economic recovery collaboration process, including an update on Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) Covid-19 economic recovery planning.

Minutes:

Colin Chick, Executive Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure, GCC, provided a verbal update on GCC’s Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

 

He explained that the GCC Transition Group continued to meet monthly to ensure the recovery plan was moving forward. As part of that, they were looking into the programme for the roll out of innovation labs across the County, and its ambition was for innovation labs to be rolled out across all districts by the end of the next financial year or ideally before Christmas, starting with Gloucester.

 

The Committee was advised that work was underway to develop an economic dashboard based on the latest economic data to monitor recovery.

 

Additionally, theCommittee noted the nomination for the fusion project, for the Oldbury and Berkeley submission to the UKAEA call for a STEP fusion prototype power station and a research and development site. It was very early in the siting process, however it was believed that this could present a real opportunity for the region to lead the way on safe, clean, low carbon energy as well as proving far reaching economic benefits. If successful, it would be a game changer for the County as it would mean that Gloucestershire would be home to the world’s first fusion reactor.

 

It was explained that there had been a brief discussion amongst the group regarding the Community Renewal Funding and the levelling up agenda.

Members noted that a Skills and Employment Sub-Group had been established from the Transition Group to focus on the integration of the skills agenda within GCC and with partners. The sub-group meets monthly, consisted of representatives from across GCC and GFirst LEP, and considered all aspects relating to skills and employment, including apprenticeships, support for the disabled and disadvantaged, and the Kickstart programme.

 

At the last meeting, the sub-group looked at social value, and have started to develop principles by which GCC will procure and act commercially in the future to maximise social value, which will be taken to Cabinet.

 

Colin Chick asked the GEGJC to endorse the Inclusivity Works campaign, and for each district council to nominate a representative to work with GCC on the project to maximise co-ordination. Inclusivity Works was acampaign and a resource that would providefree up to date information to support the development and sustainability of inclusive workplaces across Gloucestershire.  The campaign was aimed at helping employers to understand the benefits of a diverse workforce and would, through a website, link them to resources and information as well as providing practical help and advice from organisations including the Gloucestershire GEM Project and GCCs Forwards Employment Service. There would also be an Inclusive Employer Award which employers could sign up to and which they could use to promote their commitment of inclusive employment to both potential and existing employees. 

 

After a brief discussion, it was agreed that a briefing note would be circulated on the campaign to enable districts to make a decision as to who to nominate as representative. On this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 277.

278.

GFirst LEP Update pdf icon PDF 559 KB

To receive an update on the work of the GFirst LEP.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Dev Chakraborty, Deputy Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, presented the Committee with an update on the work of the GFirst LEP.

 

It was noted that the nomination to submit for the atomic fusion project would be submitted by the end of the month, and all districts had committed in principle for the pooling of funds for the discretionary grant scheme.

 

The LEP also offered its help to support local authorities by reviewing any bids to be submitted as part of the new Levelling Up Fund announced in the Chancellor’s recent budget.

 

 

279.

Business Rate Pool pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To receive an update on the Business Rate Pool.

 

 

Minutes:

Andrew Cummings, Strategic Director of Resources, Stroud District Council, provided the Committee with an update on the Gloucestershire Business Rate Pool.

 

Members were informed that the estimated position for the Strategic Economic Development Fund (SEDF) for 2020/21 was £744k, and that the forecast gain for the Pool for 2021/22 was £3million, with £600k gain to the SEDF. It was also noted that there would be relief for a number of businesses following the Chancellor’s budget announcement as they would be receiving financial support in light of the ongoing pandemic.

 

280.

Forward (Work) Plan pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To note the Committee work plan, and to consider items for discussion at future meetings, including emerging SEDF proposals.

Minutes:

The next GEGJC meeting would be taking place following the local elections in May on 9 June 2021.

 

Requests were made to consider an update on the Skills Strategy, the Tourism Strategy and a presentation from the Western Gateway at that meeting.

 

The Chair thanked all members on the Committee for their work over the last four years and for their enthusiasm for Gloucestershire. He also thanked officers for the support they had provided the Committee.

 

281.

Future Meetings

To note the dates of meetings for the remainder of 2021: 

 

9 June 2021

15 September 2021

17 November 2021

 

Minutes:

The Committee noted the meeting dates for the remainder of 2021.