Venue: Sheffield City Region, 11 Broad Street West, Sheffield S1 2BQ
Welcome and Apologies
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. He congratulated Mayor Jones CBE, Councillor Sir Houghton CBE and Councillor Read on their re-appointment following the recent local elections.
Declarations of Interest
· In relation to any agenda item
· In relation to any activity since the last formal meeting
· In relation to any forthcoming activity
The notes of the previous meeting were agreed to be an accurate record.
A report was submitted which provided Members with an update on the progress in the first two years of the Active Travel programme and outlined the priorities for the coming year.
In April 2019, Dame Sarah Storey had been appointed as the Active Travel Commissioner. Following which the work area had developed apace, and the Active Travel Implementation Plan (ATIP) had been adopted by the MCA in June 2020.
The following pledges had been made by Dame Storey:-
· To be led by our communities.
· To enable Active Travel, not just encourage it.
· All our infrastructure will meet or exceed minimum standards.
· All our infrastructure will be fully accessible.
Members noted the need to improve public transport across the region and the country. It was hoped that active travel would be seen as a crucial part of building the public transport system i.e. walking to a bus stop, cycling to a train station or undertaking the whole journey by foot or bike.
The active travel role within the MCA was to help guide and support local authorities with the strategic plan of active travel and how this linked with other parts of the transport system. This included ascertaining the funding, strategy, advising on best practice, how to implement the key changes from the Government and to build active travel back into the daily life of everyone.
During the first COVID-19 lockdown period in March and April 2020, the traffic levels had significantly reduced to levels which had last been observed in the 1950’s. This had enabled individuals to feel safer to go out on their bikes. The amount of cyclists that had been observed during that period had been very similar to the level of individuals that would otherwise have travelled by vehicle. During the early part of the pandemic, Dame Storey and P Zanzottera had continued to engage with the communities and had maximised the opportunity for the online platforms. In April 2020, Dame Storey, P Zanzottera and Mayor Jarvis MBE had written to the Prime Minister to lobby for the Active Travel Fund and to prioritise for active travel beyond the pandemic.
In 2020, the interactive map had been created which added to the support of local people and local authorities to provide a comprehensive network. Individuals had registered onto the interactive map which had generated a total of 4,729 comments from 1,637 users. All of those comments together with the comments received from the local authorities, had enabled mapping work to be undertaken on the region to identify where it was hoped to deliver a comprehensive network, which would be delivered over the next 20 year period. It was envisaged that by the time children had left full time education and entered into the workplace, that they would have the experience of all different modes of travel. Significant standard changes and raising of standards had been adopted within the Active Travel Plan when the Government had produced the Year 2 document and when the LTN120 had been released ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
A report was presented which outlined the successful bid that was made to the Cooperatives UK and Employee Ownership Association to become a partner in the pilot Ownership Hub.
The Ownership Hub would provide an additional element of business support that could ensure new businesses received the required support to help them flourish, facilitate and proactively support growth amongst existing firms, to develop the SCR skills base, labour mobility and education performance.
Members noted that the biggest challenge in driving the Ownership Hub forward would involve mapping it into all of the other benefits and business support. There would be no real value in undertaking the Ownership Hub in isolation.
The employee ownership within the programme related to a large set of businesses that it could be applied to. It was an inclusive and supportive business model, which focused on the welfare and integration of the business within its local area. The Ownership Hub was seen as a pilot which was hoped to be rolled out nationally, with a view to be taken onto international partnerships.
Dr Smith commented that employee ownership was a generic term. The means by which employees owned and controlled the business varied according to the model that was adopted. The principle that had been applied by the Employee Ownership Association related to those businesses where the employees of an organisation had a significant direct and relevant say in the strategic direction, together with the deployment of the organisation’s resources.
J Muir and Dr Smith were engaged in discussions to identify a private sector Board Member for the development of a business reference group. Details of which would be published in due course.
RESOLVED – That Members:-
i) Were invited to discuss the content and approach to the proposals for the Sheffield City Region Ownership Hub.
Were asked to consider the appointment of a private sector Board Member to lead the development of a business reference group.
A report was provided which outlined the importance of inclusivity and achieving greater societal value as an integral element of the growth programme. Inclusion was one of the three pillars of the economic plan, seeking to grow the economy of South Yorkshire, but in a more inclusive and sustainable way. Work was commencing on the inclusivity pillar following the publication of the Strategic Economic Plan and the Renewal Action Plan. The report sought the engagement of LEP Board Members to discuss and consider elements of the Inclusion Plan and social value outcomes which could be the focus for this work.
Members noted the comments received from N Brewster. Whilst he welcomed the paper, he considered that the report appeared to be centred around improving social value for private businesses when receiving public funding. He highlighted the need to progress the work on social value to provide the same challenge to improve social value and thinking across public sector organisations within South Yorkshire. He welcomed the work being extended across all of the local authorities in South Yorkshire.
F Kumi-Ampofo agreed with the comments received from N Brewster, and he referred to the steer required from the Board. He suggested that focus could be given to the actions that could be taken by the constitutions and partners both in tandem and together for consistency.
K Josephs referred to the work undertaken within SCC and Sheffield institutions which included the Ethical Procurement Policy and the approach taken over recent years to the foundation wage employer. She considered that SCC could work more openly with the MCA around the planned work and the work that had been undertaken. She considered that this was a good opportunity to make a connection with the work on safer value businesses.
J Muir welcomed the points raised by K Josephs. He considered that South Yorkshire had a high level of incidents from an employer perspective i.e. zero hours contracts from both the private and public sector. There was a need to consider the matter from a cross sectoral approach.
C Travers was encouraged to observe the direction of travel outlined within the report. She considered that focus should be given to the social outcomes rather than the social values, which had very defined legislative depths and issues. She considered that accessibility was a key driver behind disadvantages i.e. accessibility to amenities, jobs, education, health care and recreation etc. In relation to charters and contracts with employers, she considered that focus should be given to the legacy.
Professor Husbands was very supportive of the report. He highlighted the importance to measure together the inclusion and growth.
J Muir endorsed Professor Husbands’ comments. He considered that it was necessary to end up with a set of metrics which delivered on inclusive growth rather than individual pieces whilst being pragmatic and implementable. He made an appeal to Members to pay attention to the consultative process across the Board, to ensure that there was input in the shaping of the document. ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
A report was submitted which set out the key elements of the Government’s review of Local Enterprise Partnerships. The report also highlighted the key elements which were likely to impact on the work of the LEP and updated the Board on how the LEP actively engaged in informing the review.
At the March 2021 Budget, the Government had set out a commitment to work with the local businesses and LEPs on the evolution of LEPs. This would ensure that local businesses had clear representation and support within their area, in order to drive the recovery.
Members were referred to the following key issues in driving the Review:-
· Governance and geography.
· Renewed focus on levelling up.
· Ability to operate.
· Ability for LEPs to influence (rather than directly invest).
· Government Department sponsorship.
D Fell commented that the LEP Board would provide input into a LEP review. He queried how matters could be mobilised to become a regional response rather than just a LEP response.
J Muir referred to his role on the NP11, which was co-ordinated across the 11 LEP Chairs, and working through the LEP network which reviewed the terms of reference that both Dr Smith and himself had reviewed. The LEP network had not voiced any differing opinions. He queried the Government’s position on the matter.
Dr Smith commented that the Government had determined the framework but it had not determined how this would be implemented. There was a clear desire of the sponsoring department that they wished to retain the business led advice which informed and advised on the development of the local economic policy, in particularly around growth. The Government did not consider LEPs as a vehicle for the distribution for the use of resources.
It was noted that Transport for the North was also an important body with LEP representation in the North, which was Chaired by John Cridland who was an advocate for the LEP. A Gates would liaise with J Cridland and report back to P Kennan.
RESOLVED – That the Board:-
i) Considered the approach set out to engage with the Review.
Undertook to consult the business community to inform its response to the Review.
A report was submitted which provided a summary of the Government’s strategy for growth Build Back Better. The report also assessed how the document fit with the SCR MCA and LEP priorities and considered the implications.
The Government’s publication of Build Back Better: Our plan for growth, replaced the Industrial Strategy publication and highlighted the Government’s plan for the post-Brexit, post-pandemic world with technology, net zero and innovation.
Members were referred to the following six thematic chapters of the Build Back Better publication:-
· Levelling Up.
· Net Zero.
· Global Britain.
F Kumi-Ampofo commented that the plan did not refer to health and wellbeing. It was anticipated that this would be rectified within the levelling up White Paper which would replace the Devolution White Paper.
J Muir queried which elements of the plan had been covered by the Build Back Better grants and various other grants, together with the remaining gaps. He also queried whether this was a precursor to the next stage of considering the devolved power that was required by the MCA, and whether the LEP Board had a role to feed into this evaluation of the priority asks for those additional powers.
Dr Smith commented that this would be addressed through the pivot. The MCA and the LEP Board would collectively seek to model an approach that planned over the medium-long term whilst attending to the shorter-term immediate territories. The challenge related to the Government’s policy initiatives which were very ad hoc and short term for various initiatives, and to not miss the opportunity to access the funding from the Government however short term and unstrategic it may be, and to lock the funding into the investment strategy over the next 12 month period.
J Muir referred to the second recommendation within the report which requested Members to consider what representations and other engagement may be needed with Government to persuade and influence policy and secure funding, powers and other resources required to achieve the agreed objectives. It was important to ensure that the planning process was correct in order to achieve consistency.
In relation to whether the LEP Board could influence the policy, J Muir suggested that Dr Smith and himself should discuss the matter outside of the meeting, with a view to providing a direction to how the LEP Board could provide help and support to the medium-long term agenda. J Muir, Dr Smith and F Kumi-Ampofo would discuss outside of the meeting whether any shape and direction could be provided to support the agenda.
RESOLVED – That Members:-
i) Reviewed how the Government’s approach linked to the Strategic Economic Plan and Renewal Action Plan.
Considered what representations and other engagement may be needed with Government to persuade and influence policy and secure funding, powers and other resources required to achieve agreed objectives.
A report was presented which outlined the proposed approach to the delivery of the Yorkshire and Humber Made Smarter programme which was being led by the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority (SCR MCA). The programme would facilitate and proactively support growth amongst the existing firms within the Sheffield City Region.
In relation to the regional Yorkshire and Humber programme, the SCR MCA would act as the lead organisation and accountable body with formal governance oversight.
K Josephs highlighted the importance not to lose sight of the delivery of the wrap digital adoption priorities, which had stalled.
H Kemp referred to the work underway to prevent matters from being undertaken in isolation. In relation to the wrap digital adoption priorities, delays had been encountered with the some of the procurement elements, however matters were being progressed.
RESOLVED – That Members discussed the content and approach to the proposals for the Yorkshire and Humber Made Smarter Programme.
A report was submitted which provided an update on the Government’s Community Renewal Fund programme and the work underway by the MCA Executive and local council partners to develop a response for submission to the Government.
A total of £220m investment had been announced by the UK Government in the UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF) in its budget on 3 March 2021. A maximum of £3m of UKCRF was available per local authority area. The UK Government had designated the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority as a lead authority, and it was expected to make a submission of a programme of schemes to the Government on 18 June 2021.
In relation to a process item, J Muir requested A Gates to seek a pragmatic and practical way to respond. In order to fully utilise the expertise of the Board, he considered that it would be necessary that the ideas which were generated within the suite of options should emanate from the relevant Members of the Board.
RESOLVED – That the Board noted the objectives of the Government’s Community Renewal Fund, the timescales associated with the Fund and the approach taken by the MCA to deliver a successful set of bids.
A report was provided which informed Members of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) year end 2020/21 position and the wind down of activity in 2021/22. The financial year 2020/21 was the final funded year of the LGF programme, which was a 6-year Government funded investment programme.
Members’ attention was drawn to the following points:-
· LGF Final Position 2020/21 - £43.2m had been set for the total LGF spend target. The region had met the annual target through the close working with delivery partners.
· LGF programme position 2021/22 – Some funding had been recycled into further investment following the repayment of investment loans that had been made in previous years. As a result, the MCA had been able to run to an over-programming position and the residual activity accounts would wind down during the current year.
· LGF programme position 2021/22 – There was the prospect of funded activity falling outside of the funding window throughout the year. Appendix A to the report contained a list of the projects with spend in 2021/22.
Members would continue to be provided with any risks to the programme via the MCA Executive.
RESOLVED – That Members:-
i) Noted the 2020/21 Year End position.
Noted the forecast 2021/22 activity.
A report was submitted which provided Members with an update on key Mayoral activity relating to the economic agenda.
Updates were provided on:-
· The COVID-19 pandemic and our recovery efforts.
· The National Bus Strategy.
· Net Zero.
On behalf of Mayor Jarvis MBE, Dr Smith informed Members that he was acutely conscious of the impact that the pandemic had on both the economy and young people. Focus had been given to developing an investment strategy which in the short term would provide investment into stimulating the opportunity for young people and for the overall recovery. This would enable South Yorkshire to be in the best possible position to impact upon the recovery of the economy during 2021/22, whilst leading onto a much larger investment programme known as the South Yorkshire Renewal Fund from 2022 onwards. This would utilise the deployed funds that had been awarded to the MCA as part of the devolution deal.
Dr Smith highlighted the approach to the National Bus Strategy. In 2020, an investment had been made by the MCA to review the bus services within South Yorkshire. The outcome of the review had formed the basis of the plan which had now been implemented, in order to address the shortfalls in the services and the ambition to modernise bus services and the quality of those services for the benefit of the people in South Yorkshire. The National Bus Strategy had since been published, which added to the direction of travel that the MCA wished to pursue. The MCA sought to take that opportunity to further provide an ability to meet the significant ambitions.
RESOLVED – That Members noted the update.
A report was presented which provided Members with a general update on the activity being undertaken by the LEP outside of the agenda items under discussion.
Updates were provided on:-
· Quarterly Economic Survey and The Skills for Recovery in South Yorkshire Report.
· Chambers of Commerce Policy Director.
· DfE Flexi-apprenticeships Consultation.
· Response to the Northern Culture APPG.
· Business Advisory Group.
Members were informed that the next LEP Board meeting that was scheduled to be held on 1 July 2021 would be the Annual Meeting, which was required to take place within the public domain. Further information and guidance would be provided to Members in due course.
RESOLVED – That Members noted the update.