Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee - Wednesday 16 November 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Laura Powick 

No. Item



To note any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Cllr Catherine Braun. Cllr Natalie Bennett substituted for Cllr Braun.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2022.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2022 were approved as a correct record.



Declarations of Interest

To receive any pecuniary or personal interests by members.


There were no declarations of interest.



Business Rate Pool pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To receive an update on the Business Rate Pool



Andrew Cummings, Strategic Director of Resources, Stroud District Council, presented his report.


Pool gain had reduced slightly to £3.3 million with a gain to the SEDF fund of £727,000, though there may be increases depending on the chancellor’s statement coming the next day. The pool was expected to continue for another year. The forecast balance of the SEDF fund was £906,000 but it was advised that the Committee not allocate £727,000 until those funds were  confirmed in March 2023. This left £180,000 available for the Committee to consider allocating.


No questions were raised at this stage.



SEDF Bid - Gloucestershire Statement of Common Ground Action Plan pdf icon PDF 248 KB

To approve the recommendation of the GEGJC Senior Officer Group to ear mark £50,000 funding from the ringfenced City Region Board SEDF allocation (previously approved 3 June 2020) for the preparation of a Gloucestershire Statement of Common Ground Action Plan.


Tracey Birkinshaw, Director of Community and Economic Development, Cheltenham Borough Council, presented the bid. Previously it was agreed the Senior Officer Group would take away the recommendation to develop a SEDF bid to fund the development of the Gloucestershire Statement of Common Ground Action Plan.


It was proposed that the bid be funded through the city region allocation (existing SEDF funding as agreed previously by the Committee) and to accept the support offered by GCC to lead on the consultancy procurement.


Simon Excell, Assistant Director of Planning and Economic Development, Gloucestershire County Council (GCC), added that GCC would appoint consultants, most likely Atkins, who would create the action plan, and this would be commissioned in the new year. Once the action plan was complete, it would be reported back to the Committee.


Gareth Edmundson, Chair of the GEGJC Senior Officer Group (SOG), confirmed that the SOG was supportive of the bid.


A member raised a question as to whether an action plan was necessary. A Statement of Common Ground had already been agreed and set out and it was suggested that that should be sufficient.


It was noted that this debate had been considered during the previous Committee meeting. It had also been agreed that part of taking forward the Statement of Common Ground would involve an action plan.


The member felt that the discussion from the last committee meeting did not demonstrate in a satisfactory way how the action plan would have a meaningful impact. It was unclear exactly how the funding of £50,000 would help local authorities to achieve the aims of the Statement of Common Ground and greater detail was requested about the work that was  anticipated.


In response to this comment, it was highlighted that the Expression of Interest did explain the course of action proposed. It was also explained that the action plan would help build momentum and solidify commitments and expectations.


Another member stated that the Statement of Common Ground was a high level document and that it was appropriate to have a way forward detailed by an action plan.


It was also added that the report stated that a high-level spatial plan would be set out, however a member countered that a high-level spatial plan for Gloucestershire could not be delivered by this Committee.


Colin Chick, Executive Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure, GCC, added that having an evidence base was necessary before long-term planning could be made and that this action plan would be the first step in gathering that evidence base. The Statement of Common Ground alone did not determine how to deliver the ambitions agreed upon.


A member commented that having evidence-driven strategic allocations for housing and employment land across the County would be useful for officers creating individual plans for individual planning authorities, but that this was not what had been proposed so far.


Cllr Robert Bird proposed an amendment to the bid to replace the words ‘action plan’ with ‘defining the requirements of the evidence  ...  view the full minutes text for item 373.


SEDF Bid - GFirst LEP pdf icon PDF 294 KB

To approve the SEDF core match funding request for Gfirst LEP, subject to confirmation on the National Government core funding for 2023/24.


Additional documents:


The bid was presented by Dev Chakraborty, Deputy Chief Executive of the GFirst LEP.


It was commented that central government disruption had led to large amounts of uncertainty and the LEP was still awaiting confirmation of core funding before the new year. The bid was for £250,000, however it was proposed that the LEP receive half of the bid and return to the Committee to request the second half in 6 months’ time once there was better clarity from Government.  


It was noted that staff retention was a key concern at the LEP and securing match funding now would greatly support that.


The Chair asked for clarification as to exactly what funding the bid was requesting.


Colin Chick explained that there was significant uncertainty over the level of Government funding moving forwards, but the LEP needed funding to keep operating. It was agreed that £125,000 would be sufficient to keep going, with the remaining amount on the table for future discussions. Several members agreed that this was a sensible recommendation.


A member expressed a concern of conflict of interest over their board membership of the LEP. Gillian Parkinson, Assistant Director of Legal Services, GCC, clarified that in previous years, LEP board members had participated in these discussions and voted. The member expressed their support of the recommendation.


On being put to the vote, it was




Approve the SEDF core match funding request for GFirst LEP of £125k for the first 6 months of the financial year 2023/24, subject to confirmation of the National Government core funding for 2023/24.



GEGJC Governance Arrangements pdf icon PDF 313 KB

To receive a report on proposals for future GEGJC governance arrangements.


Gareth Edmundson presented the report.


It was explained that the Committee had been extended to March 2023 to allow sufficient time to assess the Levelling Up White Paper. Without this extension the Committee would no longer exist.


Gloucestershire City Region Board had been established from previous committees, and the duplication of remit between the City Region Board and GEGJC had been recognised.


Members were informed of the proposal to create a single forum under the Gloucestershire City Region Board, which could facilitate future levelling up and devolution plans. The forum would comprise of members of the 7 Gloucestershire local authorities, representatives from Gloucestershire partners, and representatives from the business community.


It was understood that the new forum would retain a decision-making element to enable decisions to be taken on SEDF bids. This should allow for a framework to take on additional powers agreed in devolution agreements. Potential future responsibilities of this forum were outlined in the Levelling Up White Paper.


It was proposed that the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee (GEGSC)  would continue to scrutinise the Gloucestershire City Region Board, and that the board would feed into Leadership Gloucestershire.

It was understood that the plan was for Leadership Gloucestershire to give final agreement on the draft proposals which would then be ratified by all Gloucestershire local authorities in the new year. GCC had indicated its  preference to chair this forum.


The Chair asked if a decision made by this new body could have its decision overturned by the Cabinet at GCC. It was explained that the powers of this new body were yet to be confirmed. It was proposed that Cabinet’s involvement could be for particular aspects of devolution, but not for all aspects of the new body’s decisions. It would depend on the county deal agreed upon.


In response to a question over the democratic voting process and membership of the new committee, it was explained that details on membership were still to be finalised and that views about that were very welcome from the Committee. It was also explained that it would only be elected members that had voting powers.


It was also explained that between now and the new year, agreements in principle would be made with Leadership Gloucestershire, which would also outline a transition period as the new committee comes in.


A number of members expressed different opinions on how this new committee should be chaired. The Chair suggested that this be left open, and the debate would continue as feedback came from councils.


Review of Skills pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive a review of skills, including the first year of the Skills Hub.


Pete Carr, Head of Employment and Skills, GCC, delivered a presentation on the implementation of the Employment and Skills Hub. Vikki Walters, Kirsten Smart and Tom Mayo from the Employment and Skills Hub prepared and delivered parts of the presentation.


The main aim of the Hub was to co-ordinate and reduce complexity around skills development and employment in the County. This included working with employers to adjust employer practices to be more inclusive.


There were multiple funding streams that supported the Skills Hub. Most were short-term funds but two were recurring funds. The Hub had received 391 referrals up to October 2022. Before the Hub had been set up, the average number of annual referrals was 70. The Skills Hub was the only provision for those that were employed and economically inactive. Most of the referrals were out of work but some were employed and looking for a career change. Most referrals were over age 25 and recently there had been an increase in those over age 50 who needed to work due to the cost-of-living crisis. Many people accessing the Hub had a disability or health condition and there was a commitment to maintain this line of support whilst numbers of referrals go up.


It was noted that 119 self-referrals had been received, many of which had heard about the Hub through word of mouth. 51 were adult social care referrals and job centres were being targeted to increase up-take. The Employment and Skills Hub Café had also attracted significant interest. A hub worker would speak with each referral and decide on a pathway. Only 26 referrals declined support.


It was understood that there had been an increase in referrals from refugees who did not have rights to work in the UK and the Skills Hub could not provide support to them. Discussions were being held with the job centre to assess what support could be provided.


Members were informed that the customer base was widely varied and so the triage was very important to assess needs. Referrals could also be signposted and handed over to partners if they had needs outside of the Skills Hub’s capacity. 1-to-1 support offered started with a vocational profile, from which bespoke smart action plans were created. This led into job searching, discussions with potential employers and supporting up to 1 year after employment was achieved.


A video was presented of interviews with people who had accessed the Skills Hub’s resources.


The current challenges of high unemployment and high rates of those economically inactive were recognised. There were also misconceptions from employers and those on benefits that needed to be overcome to increase uptake. The Hub was also needing to recruit more staff to keep up with demand and ensure services were accessible across the whole County. Most staff were on fixed term contracts and most of the funding streams would expire soon so sustainability was also a key concern.


It was noted that the next steps were to continually evolve the Skills  ...  view the full minutes text for item 376.


UK Shared Prosperity Fund Update

To receive verbal updates from district councils on their bids.


District Council representatives were invited to provide updates on their UKSPF bids.


It was understood that councils were still awaiting decisions from Government on their proposals.


It was noted that the councils which had received the rural element of the UKSPF would shortly be formally considering their proposals. 



Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee Update

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


Cllr Matt Babbage, Chair of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee (GEGSC), provided a verbal update on the activities of  the GEGSC.


During their last meeting, they explored the Golden Valley Development Project in Cheltenham, the Gloucestershire Statement of Common Ground and the GCC Economic Dashboard. A joint meeting had been arranged with the Environment Scrutiny Committee for next week to discuss bus services and economic growth.


Following a comment from the Chair, it was confirmed that the terms of reference for the GCC Bus Services Task and Finish Group were close to being finalised.



GFirst LEP Update pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To receive an update on the work of the Gfirst LEP, including the LEP delivery plan and advanced engineering in Gloucestershire.


Dev Chakraborty took the report as read but highlighted key points. A 1-to-1 discussion of the refresh to the Local Industrial Strategy had already taken place with the Forest of Dean District Council, with discussions planned with the other district councils. The refresh would factor in the updated evidence base which had been produced for the UKSPF bids. Alongside the refresh a project pipeline appendix would also be published, highlighting key priority infrastructure projects.


The Inward Investment Project was reported to be going well, with 30 new enquiries having been received since April 2022. A memorandum of understanding had also been signed with Hartpury University, the Royal Agricultural University and Campden BRI to work more collaboratively as part of the Gloucestershire Agri-Tech Partnership. Partners had been meeting with district councils on the project, and 500-700 new jobs were forecasted as part of the project.


The Made in Gloucestershire Scheme had been gaining traction with 73 members signed up, and an affiliate scheme had been set up to include businesses that did not directly produce food and drink.


It was noted that the recruitment process for an advanced engineering and manufacturing champion was midway through. The response rate had been encouraging with most relevant businesses making an application. The Growth Hub was also holding a net zero conference today with 130 businesses joining. It was a massively oversubscribed event with a selection of good speakers attending.



GCC Economic Dashboard pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To note the updates to the GCC Economic Dashboard.


This report is to be taken as read.


The report was taken as read. Katherine Martin, Data and Analysis Manager, GCC, summarised that the census data showed a decline in the working age population as well as an increase in the 50-59 bracket who would be retiring soon. High job postings and unemployment plateauing at a low level were listed as current challenges. It was also confirmed that the cost-of-living dashboard first draft should be ready by the end of November or start of December 2022.


In response to a member asking if lay-offs in the technology industry would affect Gloucestershire employment, it was confirmed that this was something that was being closely monitored and updates would be fed back.



Forward (Work) Plan pdf icon PDF 57 KB

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


The Committee noted the Forward (Work) Plan.



Future Meetings

To note the dates of meetings for 2023 (all meetings to start at 10am):   


9 February 2023

15 March 2023.




The Committee noted the dates of future meetings.