Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions
Contact: Laura Gibbard
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations by members of:
a) Personal interests (including their nature);
b) Prejudicial interests under the Code of Conduct.
No declarations of interest were made.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2015.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2015 be approved as a correct record.
To receive an update report on GFirst LEP Growth Deal activity.
Please note that the spreadsheet referred to in paragraph ‘b’ of this report is only available in hard copy. A copy will be available for public inspection at the meeting or can be obtained in advance by contacting the Democratic Services Unit on 01452 324205.
Pete Carr, Deputy Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, provided the Committee with an update on GFirst LEP Growth Deal activity.
Members were informed that projects moving through the approval and funding process were on track and that LEP Board sub-committees were meeting to progress projects including the Growth Hub. Attention was drawn to the project reporting spreadsheet which provided an overview of the phases of development with each project.
Pete Carr explained that projects were now inputting onto an online system and that work was being carried out with project promoters and LEP leads on the better recording and monitoring of outcomes and outputs. The final two evaluations within the Growth Deal for the Berkeley Green project and Cyber Security Training and Conference Centre had been discussed with project promoters and would be scoped in detail and commissioned in the next 2 months. An update would be provided at a future meeting of the Committee.
In response to a query on the Growth Hub project, the Committee was informed that the rotation of locations was being considered and that further details on the criteria and location of Growth Hub spaces would be provided.
One member suggested that it would be useful for detailed information on projects within district areas to be available on the GFirst LEP website.
The Committee was informed that there would soon be an announcement by the Government on the next round of Growth Deals and that it could be a more competitive process than the last round.
The Committee considered whether it would be possible to refresh the data sets behind the Strategic Economic Plan between the Growth Deal rounds. It was suggested that a partial refresh could be completed as projects were developed over the summer for prioritisation.
The Committee noted the update report and recognised the positive relationship that was being developed between the local authorities and the GFirst LEP.
To receive a report on the skills policy for Gloucestershire.
Peter Holmes, Head of Extended Learning, Gloucestershire County Council, presented a draft skills policy for Gloucestershire to the Committee. He informed members that the Skills Funding Agency was looking to devolve funding for Adult Skills and therefore it was important that the principles to engage in a skills strategy for Gloucestershire were set out.
The aim of the skills policy for Gloucestershire would be to address economic growth by increasing skill levels within the county. Particular emphasis would be placed on higher level technical and professional skills, and providing skills for those who needed to reengage with learning as a route to employment or re-employment. It was estimated that funding would be between £10 and £15 million and that there would be competition amongst education providers for the funding.
Members discussed how the policy could recognise the skill needs of employers and small businesses and how the skills gained by young people could be matched to the skills required by local businesses. Consideration was also given to the recognition of apprenticeships within the policy.
Peter Holmes explained to the Committee that the district councils, GFirst LEP and further and higher education providers would need to be liaised with regarding the skills needed within the county, the reasons why a proportion of the working age population were not engaged with the labour market, and the types of skills courses available.
The Committee understood that funding for Adult Skills would be predicated on a Devolution deal, however funding could potentially be secured through other mechanisms, such as through the LEP.
The Committee recognised that the draft skills policy was a starting point and that a strategy would need to be developed to reflect how the skills policy would be achieved and measured. The Committee agreed that it would be useful to have a shared vision on a skills policy for Gloucestershire and requested that progress with the development of the policy be fed back at a future meeting.
To receive a report on the progress with the development of the Gloucestershire Infrastructure Investment Plan.
Mike Dawson, Chief Executive, Tewkesbury Borough Council, introduced the report on the progress with the development of the Gloucestershire Infrastructure Investment Plan (GIIP).
Lisa McCance, Shared Intelligence, explained that there had been a focus on interdependency between existing projects and risk management, which had been reflected in the GIIP. Progress on proposals would continue to be driven and funding would be explored.
Members were informed that two new projects had been presented to the Senior Officer Group for inclusion in the GIIP. These were Cheltenham High Street, categorised as a developer-led infrastructure project, and West Cheltenham Employment Land, categorised as an infrastructure project that was a longer-term priority. There was currently a shortfall estimated to be £495k for the Cheltenham High Street project.
In reference to the proposed Housing and Planning Bill, members were encouraged to make relevant comments directly to the Government consultation and the Local Government Association (LGA).
One member suggested that long-term aspirations and challenges for the county, such as the A417 missing link and the Severn crossing, be considered and addressed in the GIIP.
Having been informed that the presentation and effectiveness of the GIIP was being considered, members noted the report.
1. To confirm the new projects and categorisation of projects within the GIIP; and
2. To approve the work streams to take the GIIP forward into delivery.
To receive a presentation on a recent Case Study focused on Gloucestershire commissioned by the LGA and to comment on the further development of the document.
Nigel Riglar, Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure, Gloucestershire County Council, introduced David Marlow of ‘Third Life Economics’ to the Committee. David Marlow had been commissioned by the LGA to complete four ‘Local Growth Case Studies’, one of which included Gloucestershire. He had since been commissioned by Gloucestershire County Council to produce a ‘Gloucestershire Growth Showcase’, which would be available by 11 April 2016, to highlight Gloucestershire’s successes and demonstrate how it could deliver economic growth.
David Marlow presented to the Committee the issues and opportunities for Gloucestershire, referencing 26 key issues that would need to be addressed in the local growth landscape from 2016. He also determined how the proposed growth showcase would be developed out of the initial LGA case study. This would include showcasing local examples of serious contributions to local growth debates, such as in transport and infrastructure developments.
The Committee discussed the productivity challenge against other areas that were similar to Gloucestershire, recognising the challenge Gloucestershire faced against metropolitan areas, and considered Gloucestershire’s assets and capabilities. Reference was made to the consideration of Gloucestershire’s long-term aspirations.
The Committee noted the report, recognising that it was useful to have a new perspective on Gloucestershire’s economic development and growth.
1. That the contents of the LGA Economic Growth Case study be noted; and
2. That Gloucestershire County Council’s commissioning of additional work be supported.
Business Rate Pool
To receive a verbal update on the current position of the Business Rate Pool.
Sandra Cowley, Strategic Head (Finance and Business Services), Stroud District Council, provided members with a verbal update on the current position of the Business Rate Pool. It was explained that for 2015/16, following backdated appeals, the forecast net gain for the year would be £0.8million and that there would not be a contribution to the Strategic Economic Development Fund.
Members noted that the Pool was to be dissolved in its current form and reformed for 2016/17 to exclude Tewkesbury Borough Council following the impact of the successful backdated appeal by Virgin Media in 2014/15. The forecast for the new 2016/17 Pool was that an estimated £2.5million would be retained in Gloucestershire.
The Committee noted the update and thanked Sandra and the Business Rate Pool Management team for their work.
Future Meeting Dates
To note that the Committee is due to meet on the following dates in 2016:
Thursday 23 June
Wednesday 7 September
Wednesday 30 November
All meetings to start at 10am (this allows meetings of the Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee to take place on the same day).
The Committee noted the meeting dates for the remainder of 2016.