Agenda item

Covid-19 Response - Planning for Gloucestershire’s Economic Recovery

In response to the Covid-19 Emergency, the committee: - 


a)    To receive information on the proposed development and implementation of an Economic Recovery Strategy for Gloucestershire.


b)    To receive a verbal update from GFirst LEP on current and future activities in response to the Covid-19 Emergency.


The committee noted information on the proposed development of an Economic Recovery Strategy for Gloucestershire, including a verbal update from the GFirst LEP on current (and future) activities in response to the Covid-19 Emergency.


The committee received information on the activities being undertaken by the County, District, Borough and City Councils of Gloucestershire in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The committee to note the proposed governance arrangements for the economic recovery planning process, including development of an Economic Recovery Strategy, for Gloucestershire.


The committee received a verbal update from GFirst LEP on current, (and future), activities in partnership response to the Covid-19 Emergency. Please refer to the attached power point presentation for the update provided by GFirst LEP.


In terms of leading the economic recovery of the County, it was proposed that the current governance model for economic growth should be used to manage the recovery process. It was suggested this should involve the GEGJC overseeing the strategy development and delivery of the process, with the Senior Officer Group, (group of senior officers set up to support the work of the GEGJC), managing the operational strategy.


It was also proposed that a Gloucestershire County Transition Group be established to support the Senior Officer Group, to include District, Borough and City representatives, as well as representatives from GFirst LEP.


The committee considered the suggestion that Gloucestershire County Council lead the co-ordination and strategic input for the recovery process, with the understanding that any overlap with structures emerging through GFirst would need to be considered in order to reduce duplication and improve the co-ordination of activity.


Speaking on behalf of GEGSC members, the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Kevin Cromwell, questioned the role of the scrutiny committee in the economic recovery planning process. Clarification was also sought on the roles of the Joint Committee; the Senior Officer Group and GFirst LEP. Cllr Cromwell emphasised the key role the scrutiny committee should play in planning for the economic recovery of the county going forward.


Emphasis was placed on the need to work in partnership, and for care to be taken to avoid potential overlaps and duplication in any work being undertaken by the District Authorities.


In responding to the information report, questions were raised on the priority areas suggested for consideration and in response to the findings of Business Sector Sectoral Intelligence in relation to the proposed anticipated areas of recovery.


Careful monitoring of future unemployment data was identified as a key area of focus for the planning process. It was generally agreed that geographical issues, (national versus local/rural versus urban) would also need to be considered in the approach to economic recovery.


Having sought clarification on what was being asked of the committee, it was suggested that, as an ‘in principle’ decision, the Joint Committee should undertake responsibility as the administering body for the recovery process. Adopting a collaborative approach, it was suggested that the County Council, (supported by the District Councils), should take a strategic role in responding and communicating with Government guidelines. Recovery activities to be considered in the immediate/interim and long term stages of the process.


Following an in-depth discussion on the stages of recovery, it was agreed the views of the committee, including any areas of concern, should be taken away and considered/worked on by the Senior Officer Group, in conjunction with discussions with the Chief Executives and Leaders of all 7 authorities.


It was agreed an additional single item GEGJC meeting should be arranged in July, which would form the platform for the discussion going forward.


The Joint Committee to i) provide a steer/amalgamate the work of the County Council/GFirst LEP in responding to the anticipated economic downturn of the County and ii) engage/contribute to the development of a recovery plan for Gloucestershire. The coordination of the individual recovery plans by District Authorities would be essential to this work.


On being put to the vote and seek an overall direction from the committee, it was agreed the GEGJC would act as the ‘in principle’ coordinating body to collaborate the work for the economic recovery planning process of Gloucestershire. The ‘in principle’ decision would be subject to further discussions and provide the basis for the recovery committee meeting in July.


In the meantime, the Scrutiny Committee and the District Councils to develop their individual views and plans for recovery for discussion at the meeting.

Supporting documents: