Agenda and minutes

Reconvened from December 2020, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Joint Scrutiny Committee
Friday 29th January 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: PLEASE NOTE that any member of the press and public may view the proceedings at this virtual meeting via this weblink https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7DDSVoAIgTnwgp0Ku8iFLQ

Contact: Paul Rogers  Email: paul.rogers@solihull.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

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

   Council

 

Councillor R Cox: Lichfield District Council

 

Councillor A Hodgson: Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

 

Councillor J Newbury: Cannock Chase District Council

 

Councillor P Thomas: Bromsgrove District Council

 

Councillor M Chalk: Redditch Borough Council

 

Councillor M Hart: Wyre Forest District Council

 

In

Attendance:  Councillor A Kriss: Bromsgrove District Council

 

 

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

  Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

 

Dr. Michaela Kendal, Consultant, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

 

Serena Bacuzzi, Consultant, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

 

Spenser Wilson, Head of Skills, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

 

Officers:  Paul Rogers, Democratic Services, Solihull Metropolitan Borough

  Council

 

 

1.  Apologies for Absence

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Dr. S Peaple (Tamworth Borough Council).

 

2.

Declaration of Pecuniary or Conflicts of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of pecuniary or conflicts of interest.

 

3.

Questions and Deputations

Minutes:

No questions or deputations were received.

 

4.

Public Minutes pdf icon PDF 320 KB

To consider for approval the Public Minutes arising from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 25th September 2020.

Minutes:

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee: 

 

RESOLVED:

 

To approve the Public Minutes arising from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 25th September 2020 as a correct record.

 

5.

Route to Recovery pdf icon PDF 319 KB

To update the Joint Scrutiny Committee on work being undertaken by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) to mitigate against the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Minutes:

 

The report was presented by the Interim Chief Executive (GBSLEP) to

update the Joint Scrutiny Committee on work being undertaken by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) to mitigate against the economic impacts of COVID-19.

 

Members were informed that the GBSLEP was reviewing the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the regional economy as well as how the business sector was responding to Brexit.  The governance arrangements for supporting Covid-19 pandemic recovery was through the Recovery Taskforce and the GBSLEP Board.  The report before the Joint Scrutiny Committee provided further detail for the work undertaken to date in this regard.

 

Members were advised that economic indicators had shown that the West Midlands region was the fastest growing regional economy prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, but had been the worst impacted economically through the pandemic; for example, youth unemployment had doubled as compared to March 2020.

 

Concerns remained as to the extent and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic once the Governments furlough scheme was ended, with predicted further significant rises in unemployment figures as and when furlough ends.  Some shoots of optimism had been detected with the conclusion of the Brexit process and the development of Covid-19 vaccines, although the general picture regionally remained stark from an economic perspective.

 

In respect of Road to Recovery interventions, Members were advised that the following actions were being delivered:

 

·  GBSLEP Re-Start SME Programme: Provided grants of £1,000 - £5,000 ,with £110,000 having been allocated to 243 local businesses to date.

 

·   A Peer-to-Peer Network had also been developed via the Growth Hubs, with a cohort of 16 businesses, and was expected to be complete by the end of March 2021.

 

·  The Skills and Apprentice Hub had been established.

 

·  The GBSLEP Road to Recovery initiatives continued to target support for those businesses that could drive future growth and be successful.

 

 

Having considered the report, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)   To note the work undertaken to date by the GBSLEP locally, regionally and nationally to mitigate against the economic impacts of COVID-19.

 

 

 

6.

Low Carbon and Environmental Technologies pdf icon PDF 779 KB

The report updates the Joint Scrutiny Committee on the progress of the Low Carbon and Environmental Technologies (LCET) Action Plan and on the GBSLEP internal position on contributing to the Net Zero agenda as an enabler of regional economic growth.

Minutes:

The report was provided to update Members of the Joint Scrutiny Committee on the progress of the Low Carbon and Environmental Technologies (LCET) Action Plan and to update on the GBSLEP’s internal position on contributing to the Net Zero agenda as an enabler of regional economic growth.

 

The GBSLEP has co-ordinated activities across the West Midlands region with the Black Country and Coventry and Warwickshire LEP’s to address overlaps in the Low Carbon Sector Action Plan.  Members were informed that the GBSLEP published a Low Carbon Sector Plan in January 2020 to support growth of the Low Carbon Sector in the West Midlands region, which consequently resulted in the GBSLEP establishing a Steering Group for the Low Carbon Sector to define actions to deliver the sectors objectives. The Low Carbon Steering Group was established in April 2020 and focussed on priority interventions in support of Low Carbon businesses. Examples of interventions include the development of commercial products and digital platforms.

 

A number of further developments have taken place since December 2020, which included:

 

·  Low Carbon Grant Fund: Published in November 2020, for which 16 applications were received to undertake feasibility studies to employ Low Carbon technology and provision of solutions to address energy challenges. GBSLEP expected to announce details of the successful applicants shortly.

 

·  Development of a Web platform: To support Low Carbon businesses showcase their products to potential investors (which had been identified as a barrier to local growth by GBSLEP).  It was envisaged the Web platform would act as a facilitator of local growth for Low Carbon supply and for local businesses to raise the profile of their products. The project status was that a Memorandum of Understanding was currently being drafted with the selected platform provider.

 

·  Skills Intervention: Members were advised that GBSLEP was reviewing skills intervention strategies inclusive to the Low Carbon Sector Action Plan, with a number of links having been identified between the Low Carbon skills providers and Low Carbon Sector in general. Regional analysis had demonstrated that there was currently a shortage of young people with the requisite skills in the Low Carbon Sector to adequately meet future employment demands.

 

·  Skills Re-Training: GBSLEP was also exploring skills re-training opportunities to support people moving into the Low Carbon Sector for employment opportunities. Discussions were reported to be on-going with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) around the skills agenda in relation to the Climate Action 5 Year Plan and of the need for both bodies to synchronise across this piece of work.

 

·  Midlands Energy Hub: The Midlands Energy Hub had commenced a study to reviewing Low Carbon goods and services to identify where capacity tied Low Carbon skills were positioned at the present time and to predict future skills demand in the sector.

 

Members were advised that all of the above initiatives would inform data to inform long-term interventions in addressing the skills gap, both regionally and nationally.

 

The GBSLEP internal position in supporting Net Zero objectives was reported to the GBSLEP Board on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Skills And Apprenticeship Hub pdf icon PDF 313 KB

The report updates the Joint Scrutiny Committee on work being undertaken by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) to develop and implement the Skills and Apprenticeship Hub, and the activities therein, across the GBSLEP geography.

Minutes:

 

The report was presented by the Head of Skills (GBSLEP) and provided to update the Joint Scrutiny Committee on work being undertaken by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) to develop and implement the Skills and Apprenticeship Hub, and the activities therein, across the GBSLEP geography.

 

The Joint Scrutiny Committee was informed that the Skills Hub catered for all across the GBSLEP geography.  Within the Growth Hub, engagement was sought with businesses, skills analysis and delivery.  Development of the Hub was accelerated in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is currently comprised of 5 permanent employees, supported by 9 consultants.

 

The Skills Hub website is operational and supports identification of skills requirements in the West Midlands region, training analysis, promotion of apprenticeship opportunities and facilitation of Web-in-airs. The intention was to increase the high level skills offer available. The Hub also provides triage services to identify those people made redundant through the pandemic and to identify apprenticeship vacancies across the GBSLEP.

 

Members were advised that every meeting of the Employment and Skills Board evaluated the effectiveness of the Growth Hub, with further overview provided by the GBSLEP Board.

 

Having received the presentation, Members of the Joint Scrutiny Committee raised a series of questions pertaining to the detail provided within the report, which led to the following points of information and further detail being provided for the Joint Scrutiny Committee:

 

·  The Chairman noted that Over 25’s employment prospects had been particularly impacted by the pandemic and questioned what re-training and skills services / opportunities were available to those outside of the Birmingham conurbation. Members were advised that the Growth Hub was open to all those seeking employment and skills training support, with many initiatives accessible to young people and adults. The GBSLEP was in the process of developing specific initiatives for the older demographic through the ERF funding.  The GBSLEP was attempting to support all age groups across the GBSLEP region.

 

Having considered the report, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)  To note the work undertaken to date by the GBSLEP in the development and implementation of the GBSLEP Skills and Apprenticeship Hub.

 

 

 

8.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Members of the GBSLEP Joint Scrutiny Committee are requested to review the remainder of the Work Programme to March 2021 and to schedule a further Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting in June 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Having considered the report, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)  To note the remainder of the Work Programme for the 2020/21

municipal year and to schedule the West Midlands Industrial Strategy agenda item to the Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting scheduled for 26 March 2021.

 

9.

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.

 

10.

Private Minutes

To consider for approval the private minutes arising from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 25th September 2020.

Minutes:

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee: 

 

RESOLVED:

 

To approve the Private Minutes arising from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 25th September 2020 as a correct record

 

 

 

The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting closed at 3:26 p.m.