Agenda and minutes

Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Joint Scrutiny Committee
Friday 9th July 2021 2.00 pm

Contact: Paul Rogers 

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chairman and Vice Chairman to the GBSLEP Joint Scrutiny Committee

Members of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee will nominate and confirm the appointment of the Chairman and Vice Chairman for the 2021/22 municipal year.

Minutes:

MINUTES

 

Present:  Councillor S McKiernan (Chairman): East Staffordshire Borough

  Council

 

Councillor Dr. S Peaple (Vice Chairman): Tamworth Borough Council

 

Councillor D Leytham: Lichfield District Council

 

Councillor M Hart: Wyre Forest District Council

 

  Councillor P Griffiths: Birmingham City Council

 

Councillor A Kriss: Bromsgrove District Council

 

Councillor P Hewitt: Cannock Chase District Council

 

 

Guests:  Ed Watson, Interim Chief Executive - Greater Birmingham and 

  Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

 

Henriette Breukelaar, Director of Economic Strategy - Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

 

Christian Cadwallader, Consultant Project Manager, Greater Birmingham  and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

 

Officers:  Paul Rogers, Democratic Services - Solihull Metropolitan Borough

  Council

 

The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting commenced at 2:00 p.m.

 

 

1.  APPOINTMENT OF  CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN TO THE GBSLEP JOINT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Councillor S Peaple proposed Councillor S McKiernan for the position of GBSLEPJSC Chairman for the 2021/22 municipal year, which was seconded by Councillor M Hart.

 

Councillor S McKiernan proposed Councillor S Peaple for the position of GBSLEPJSC Vice Chairman for the 2021/22 municipal year, which was seconded by Councillor M Hart.

 

 

No other nominations for the position of GBSLEPJSC Chairman or Vice Chairman were received.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Councillor S McKiernan and Councillor S Peaple serve as the GBSLEPJSC Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively for the 2021/22 municipal year.

 

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor A Hodgson (Solihull), Councillor M Chalk (Redditch), Councillor J Grubb (Substitute Member, Redditch) and Councillor P Thomas (Bromsgrove), for whom Councillor A Kriss (Bromsgrove) was substituting.

 

3.

Declaration of Pecuniary or Conflicts of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor S McKiernan declared that she was a Trustee of the South Staffs Mental Health Network and had received advice from the GBSLEP Growth Hub. Councillor P Griffiths declared that he was a Non-Executive Director of Civica.

 

4.

Questions and Deputations

Minutes:

No questions or deputations were received.

 

5.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 226 KB

To consider for approval the draft Minutes arising from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 26th March 2021.

Minutes:

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee: 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes arising from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint  Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 26th March 2021 be AGREED as a correct record.

 

6.

Induction for GBSLEP Joint Scrutiny Committee Members pdf icon PDF 356 KB

To provide an Induction and Refresh for Scrutiny Committee Members on the Role and Purpose of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Economic Strategy (GBSLEP) delivered a PowerPoint presentation for Members of the GBSLEPJSC, providing an overview of the role, responsibilities, funding arrangements and project deliverables for the GBSLEP.

 

Having received the presentation, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)  To note the content of the presentation; and,

 

(ii)   To note the intention of the GBSLEP Executive to arrange a tour of GBSLEP projects for Scrutiny Members when Covid-19 restrictions allow.

 

7.

Alexander Stadium: Local Growth Fund Update pdf icon PDF 279 KB

To update Members on the Alexander Stadium project as part of the Local Growth Fund programme.

 

Minutes:

 

The purpose of the report was to update Members on the Alexander Stadium project as part of the Local Growth Fund programme.

 

An application for Local Growth funding was submitted by Birmingham City Council in 2019 for £20M of support via the GBSLEP Local Growth Fund towards delivery of the Alexander Stadium, with the total project cost at that time amounting to £72M.  Whilst the funding was primarily directed towards construction costs, a number of other significant outcomes were realised, including continued use of the Alexander Stadium post-games. A study undertaken in 2017 showed that could represent a significant impact across the West Midlands. Works commenced on the Stadium in May 2020. The current programme has scheduled project completion for February 2022, with good progress being made. 

 

The Stadium is being monitored in respect of the social benefits it is achieving, which includes local employment, good employer targets, partnerships in the community and delivery of sustainability aspirations to be delivered through the project in terms of C02 reduction.  Programmes were in place to support local procurement and procurement opportunities for local businesses, all of which is monitored and reported.  GBSLEP were also supporting other projects which were supporting the Commonwealth Games via the Local Growth Fund, such as the Perry Bar Phase 2 (train station) project and via the Enterprise Zone the clearance of the Birmingham Smithfield site for use via the Commonwealth Games.

 

Having received the presentation, Members of the Joint Scrutiny Committee raised a number of related questions, which in summary included the following matters:

 

Councillor Peaple questioned some of the employment opportunity targets, citing the level of expectation and in some cases there being no targets set at all, specifically pertaining to young people. Councillor Peaple stated that in future set targets should be more rigorous in relation to the funding set aside. In respect of Buy Local,  it was welcomed that SME’s had been recognised and that contract spend with SME’s was at 73% against a target of 85%, but questioned how the target setting had been established at the start of the project and whether the targets for the latest project proposals had been given greater consideration than before.

 

Members were advised that the setting of future targets by the project sponsor (Birmingham City Council) would in future be given rigour in their setting and that the current targets had been established against defined criteria. Some of the targets were dependent on at what stage of the contract had been reached and the length of the remaining contract period.  Scrutiny of proposed targets was undertaken at the Business Case assessment stage before funding was allocated, but the level of  rigour applied to future target setting would be taken into account in future. 

 

Councillor Kriss questioned the targets set against Partners in Communities, specifically  for volunteering hours and public engagement, whether the LEP had attained a position it expected to be in for delivery against these targets.  Members were advised by the Consultant Project Manager that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Enterprise Zone (EZ) 2020/21: Quarter 4 Update pdf icon PDF 825 KB

To inform Members of the 2020/21 Enterprise Zone (EZ) Programme Financial Outturn position and to provide an update on the Enterprise Zone Programme and progress on the Enterprise Zone Investment Plan.

 

Minutes:

The purpose of the report was to inform Members of the 2020/21 Enterprise Zone (EZ) Programme Financial Outturn position and secondly, to provide an update on the Enterprise Zone (EZ) Programme and progress on the Enterprise Zone Investment Plan.

 

The Consultant Project Manager drew Members attention to three key tables within the report, specifically Table 1 for the Q3 and Q4 end of year forecast 2020/21, which reported a slight fiscal surplus, which was more than anticipated, owing to a slight reduction in Capital spend and, secondly, in terms of the increased net arising from business rates income arising from the reduction of appeals via the latest Valuation Office data.

 

Table 2 of the report sets out the annual forecast for the next five years and gives an indication how the business rates income should start to increase over the coming five years.  In terms of moving from Q3 to Q4, the LEP had received an application of Financial Principles 16, which sets out all those projects with no Outline Business Case (OBC) approved by the LEP. The associated costs would be parked at the end of the programme with the difference in the Q3/Q4 figures detailed in Table 3 as a result. Table 3 shows a difference between secured/committed business rates income, compared to all business rates income included/anticipated.  If only the secured/committed business rates income were allowed for it reports the programme at a net deficit of £659M, whereas if all the forecasted business rates were included as income the position changes significantly to a £633M surplus.  The reported position is purely on a prudence basis and assists with calculating affordability throughout the programme.

 

The Enterprise Zone Investment Plan refresh was reported to have commenced, which would align somewhat more closely with the GBSLEP Delivery Plan, as well as the emerging ‘Our Future City Plan’ via Birmingham City Council. The three EZ key projects remained as Birmingham  Smithfield, which had had its strategic OBC approved by GBSLEP Board and the signing of the Joint Venture Agreement with Lend Lease. Paradise Phase Three was being progressed, and an OBC had also been received for consideration of EZ funding from Martineau Galleries, which could potentially contribute over £500M in Business Rates Income to the EZ Programme.  A number of other key project sites have also been approved, such as for Digbeth High Street and Southside Public Realm, for which work has commenced on site.

 

Consideration has been given to bringing forward new projects as part of the EZ Investment Plan with the GBSLEP concluding that the review of the EZ Investment Plan and the review of the Project Pipeline provides an excellent opportunity to revisit how the project is being delivered, how it is moving towards delivering improved income, and how the GBSLEP can be more strategic in its finding and support for the project, whilst also providing a level of prudency in terms of spend.

 

Other updates for the EZ include the PWC audit report, carried out during Phase  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Route to Recovery pdf icon PDF 259 KB

To provide background to the GBSLEP Route to Recovery process.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was provided to give background to the GBSLEP Route to Recovery process.

 

The Interim Chief Executive  presented the report. Members were informed that GBSLEP had rapidly put in place a series of economic interventions driven by the Recovery Taskforce in order to support the economy, businesses and community. GBSLEP funding amounting to £3M was re-purposed in order to support businesses in a range of different ways, such as the Pivot and Prosper scheme. A series of sector recovery plans were also developed, which are regularly scrutinised by the Recovery Taskforce, and the sharing of data and intelligence across sectors to gain a better understanding of how the LEP can provide targeted support. Arising through the Recovery Taskforce and supported by the LEP Board is the Young Peoples Recovery Strategy. It was clear through the data available  at an early stage of the pandemic that the pandemic was having a disproportionate impact on young people.

 

The GBSLEP Director for Economic Strategy further informed Members that the Pivot and Prosper programme was established with £2M of funding to support businesses with grants of up to £40,000, providing that the businesses met three criteria:

 

·  They were small businesses (up to 100 employees)

·  That they fitted in one of six priority sectors

·  The grants could be used to innovate and grow the business and create and safeguard jobs.

 

The Pivot and Prosper programme achieved and delivered on the objectives detailed above quickly. The GBSLEP was of the opinion that it was important to undertake a robust evaluation of the Pivot and Prosper programme as to how it had been run and what success had been secured through the programme. An external evaluation was commissioned and undertaken. Some key findings arising from the review included the fifty grants awarded to businesses through the programme, which were spread across the six sectors as well as being geographically dispersed across the LEP area.

 

The level of match funding for the programme was reported to be 44%, which was a very healthy level of match funding (the minimum level for the programme having been set at 25% match funding). The grants were used in a variety of ways by the businesses concerned, but it was evident that businesses were keen to upgrade their digital services and applications (largely arising through the restrictions during the pandemic period on personal interactions and a greater move towards remote service delivery). The programme was successful in safeguarding jobs, with an additional 500 jobs generated (with a forecast of generating over 600 jobs) and retaining in the region of £30M GVA.

 

The programme evaluation was very positive. A number of lessons had been learned through the programme, such as suitability of  project timescales for businesses, marketing and refining the programme criteria to ensure that they were aligned with the GBSLEP strategic priorities.  The overwhelming conclusion was the Pivot and Prosper had provided excellent value for money and had delivered a number of significant successes.  It was the LEP’s intention to facilitate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee Draft Work Programme 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 161 KB

For Members to consider the draft annual Work Programme for the 2021/22 municipal year, to submit further topic areas for inclusion within the Work Programme and to formally agree the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for the 2021/22 municipal year.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee:

 

RESOLVED:

 

i.  To note the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/22.

 

 

 

11.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The meeting is not open to the public during discussion of the following item because the report contains exempt information as defined in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Minutes:

The meeting was not open to the public during discussion of the following item because the report contains exempt information as defined in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

12.

LEP Review: Update

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee will receive a verbal update on the latest position regarding the LEP Review.