Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 9 June 2021 1.30 pm

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and apologies

To welcome everyone to the meeting and to note any apologies.

Minutes:

The Chair opened the meeting by welcoming members to the new council term and doing introductions around the virtual room.

 

Apologies were received from Cllr Robert Vines and Officer Steve Mawson.

2.

ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIR

Minutes:

Members were advised that as the legislation allowing local authorities to hold meetings virtually came to an end in May, any meetings now held remotely would not be formal.

 

This meeting was an introductory session to the Committee and therefore any formal business could not be carried out. Members were advised to give thought to their nominations for vice-chair ready for the next formal meeting of the Committee.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Members of the committee are invited to declare any pecuniary or personal interests relating to specific matters on the agenda.

 

Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

4.

Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To note the attached briefing paper (Annex A).

 

Note: the majority of this paper refers to the Gloucestershire Economic Growht Joint Committee remit, but it is useful for members to have an overall understanding of how both Committee’s work together. Scrutiny members should particular note points 15-18 in the attached paper.

 

Annex B is a copy of the County Council’s scrutiny structure, this allows members to see that, in addition to the Terms of Reference outlined in the briefing paper, the Committee has a wider responsibility to scrutinise Economic Growth in the county as a whole.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted the attached report on the terms of reference for both the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint and Scrutiny Committees, and their relationship to each other.

5.

The Role and Responsibilities of Economic Growth and Recovery in Gloucestershire pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To receive the following presentations on each organisations role and responsibilities for economic growth, and its involvement in Gloucestershire’s economic recovery following the Covid-19 Pandemic:

 

a)         GFirst LEP (Annex C)

 

David Owen, Chief Executive

 

b)         Gloucestershire County Council (Annex D)

 

Colin Chick, Executive Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure

 

c)         Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee (GEGJC) (to include the role of the six district councils)

 

Mike Dawson, Chair of the GEGJC Senior Officer Group

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Presentation 1 – GFirst LEP

 

5.1       The first introduction was received from David Owen, Chief Executive of the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership and the Committee noted the following:

 

·         The attached report provided links to the core documents for members to review and give an overall flavour of the work involved with an LEP.

·         The overarching mission for Gloucestershire was to sustainably grow the economy.

·         GFirst had been ranked as a high performing LEP by the Government via its yearly Ofsted inspection.

·         It had been challenged a few years ago on the quality of scrutiny it was undergoing by this Committee, fortunately this had been turned around and managed through close working with officers and members.

·         GFirst were really keen therefore to continue in that vein and maintain their high performance at a national level.

·         The LEP was now into its fifth year of growth deal funding and details of the projects supported by this could be found on the website.

·         There were national guidelines on partnership structures which GFirst broadly followed. There were up to 15 members of the Board at any onetime, which compromised of representatives from education, voluntary and community sector, political from GCC and districts and the private sector.

·         Supporting the main Board was also an Investment Panel which undertook detailed investigation of any funding allocations.

·         There were also ten sector groups that represented the main business sector groups in Gloucestershire who provided a genuine, strong sector voice into the LEP’s work.

·         Any money spent by the LEP Board was not held by GFirst but instead by the accountable body which was GCC. Both organisations had an excellent, open and sensible working relationship, one which had been recognised as such by Government.

·         The long-term guiding strategy for the LEP’s work was now the Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) (which was previously the Strategic Economic Plan).

·         In developing the LIS, the Board surveyed 6000 young people about what they wanted from a future in Gloucestershire.

·         The Strategy had four main focus’:

o   Net zero – both how the county could play a lead role in addressing climate change but also the opportunities change offered for economic growth;

o   Flexibility – this was a pre-Covid desire, recognising that in order to retain and attract young people, the county had to have a flexible approach to employment and employability;

o   Innovation – there was a long history of innovation in Gloucestershire and the LEP wanted to continue that. The County currently had a higher than national average of businesses involved in innovation.

o   Sector strengths: Cyber Technology – industry growth for the whole county, not just the development at GCHQ but digital skills centres etc. and Agritech development and growth locally and internationally.

·         The LEP had a four stage approach to its Covid response:

o   Setting up a remote response services as quickly as possible.

o   Gathering intelligence from businesses in Gloucestershire on the impacts of Covid and lockdown, which was then fed into Govt. to make sure support was coming  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

The skills agenda for Gloucestershire pdf icon PDF 597 KB

To receive an update on the joint work between GCC and the GFirst LEP on skills and employment in the county, particularly in respect of economic recovery.

Minutes:

Pete Carr, Director of Employment and Skills at the GFirst LEP, gave a brief overview of the skills agenda and members noted the following points:

 

·         The paper provided worked through how Gloucestershire operated in the skills space, the specific challenges that the skills landscape had and proposals that were currently being taken forward (by all partners) to try and reduce some of those complexities and offer a more streamlined landscape locally.

·         This agenda had been taken forward by a group called the Gloucestershire Skills Advisory Panel which aimed at bringing together all key partners in this area from education, providers, councils etc.

·         Provisions very much operated depending on the need. Some of the work for example was focused on strategic planning, whereas others might be delivering in person training around school career strategies.

·         There were also sub-groups of the Panel that were constantly working on a number of direct aspects such as Covid economic recovery.

·         The diagram at page 42 of the agenda pack represented the very complicated landscape that was the skills agenda.

·         One of the main local challenges was that 89% of all businesses in the county were classed as micro-businesses meaning they only had up to 9 employees. Many were therefore extremely stretched in terms of time and resources to be able to support this agenda.

·         The Panel had recently created the Skills Portal (www.skillsportalglos.com) which aimed at starting to simplify the landscape by bringing together all the support an individual might need to one place.

·         In addition to this, an Employment and Skills Hub was in the process of being created which would again aim to provide a ‘one front door approach’ for people who were looking for that support.

7.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 43 KB

To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings.

Minutes:

Members noted the future items in the attached work plan and suggested the following to be added:

 

·         Local Transport Plan, with a focus on carbon neutral and the affordability of public transport options

·         Youth unemployment

·         Green jobs and sustainable growth

·         What might be the future impacts of Covid on the economy, particularly with a move towards more home working

·         Statement of Common Ground

 

It was confirmed the Chair would share a draft work plan proposal with members to consider following the meeting.