Agenda and minutes

Business and Finance Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 9 December 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Kieran Robinson  01952 382061

Media

Items
No. Item

BFSC12

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

C Mason-Morris, Co-optee, declared that she was a casual employee of Telford & Wrekin Council.

 

Councillor D Wright declared that he sat on the LEP on behalf of the Local Authority.

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Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 356 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – that the minutes of the meeting held on 10 November 2020 be confirmed and signed by the Chair.

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Marches Local Enterprise Partnership Update pdf icon PDF 439 KB

To receive the report of the Marches LEP, presented by Gill Hamer, Kathryn Jones, and Mandy Thorn.

Councillor D Wright (Cabinet Member for Economy, Housing, Transport and Infrastructure) and Katherine Kynaston (Director: Housing, Employment & Infrastructure) will also attend.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) presented the Committee with a presentation on the LEP’s work and achievements over the last 12 months.


The LEP had become a company limited by guarantee following a change of policy from Central Government, which required all LEPs to do so. There was a strong assurance framework in place, which had been agreed by the Government in May, speaking with scrutiny committees was an important part of ensuring the LEP was properly governed.

 

In response to COVID, the LEP had met at the beginning of the pandemic to ensure that policies were effective, and had worked with other LEPs to make representations to the Government effective and representative of their respective areas. The LEP had also engaged with businesses and representative organisations throughout this period to support businesses.

 

Members also heard from the Cabinet Member for Economy, Housing, Transport and Infrastructure. He stated that the Local Authority had been working with the LEP to support businesses. Telford & Wrekin Council had been successful in getting grants to businesses and would look at rolling out discretionary grant funding. The Authority welcomed the LEP’s support for the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. There was a good relationship between officers, members, and the board – not just at Telford and Wrekin but also between all thee constituent local authorities.

 

The Director: Housing, Employment & Infrastructure informed members that the Growth Hub had been an excellent example of that collaborative working. It had managed to engage with a significant number of businesses and had run a virtual programme for businesses during COVID.

 

It was necessary for the LEP and the Authority to have a forward-looking approach. It was important to consider how Telford could be positioned to take advantage of opportunities such as shorter supply chains and the growth of the green and environmental sector

A discussion took place and the following questions were asked:
 
What differences were there between the present, as a limited company, and before?

The Government had made the decision that all LEPs should be incorporated. The change had introduced complexities that had not existed before, such as having to pay corporation tax on Government grants and charging VAT. It was important as a limited company to demonstrate a high level of governance.

 

Prior to incorporation, the LEP was a partnership run by a joint committee, which was led by the constituent local authorities; the three local authority leaders had the final say. Now, every director of the LEP had equal voting rights. The LEP had always produced open minutes and reports but this was now required to as a prerequisite for funding.

 

How were the LEPs priorities decided?

Stakeholders and partners submitted their priorities to the LEP; these were assessed independently for impact, return on investment, skills, and a number of other variables. The LEP called for the projects from stakeholders and Government had final sign off. The LEP was also active with colleagues at the Telford Marches Growth Hub and had been running  ...  view the full minutes text for item BFSC14

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Work Programme Review pdf icon PDF 565 KB

Minutes:

Members were keen to stress the importance of examining the impact of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union in the New Year, once the country’s transition period had ended. Members requested a copy of any references to Brexit on the Council’s strategic risk register. Members also requested details of what percentage of Telford’s GDP comprised exports to Europe and what percentage of the Borough’s economy was manufacturing.

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Chair's Update

Minutes:

The Chair noted that the date of the first budget scrutiny meeting in January had been rearranged from 12 January 2021 to 13 January 2021.