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The Minutes from the meeting held on 18 November 2019, were taken as read and signed as a correct record.
The Board was advised that no public questions had been received.
The Board received a report informing them of recent national policy announcements made between 1 November 2019 and 31 January 2020, relevant to the Employment, Learning and Skills and Community Policy and Performance Board.
It was noted that the information provided was not intended to be in-depth but provided a brief summary of key announcements along with observations of local relevance, where appropriate.
The announcements headlines were as follows:
1. Nursing students to received £5,000 payment;
2. ‘T’ Levels;
3. Town of the Year Competition;
4. Funding for innovative business ideas for new products;
5. Update on Liverpool City Region Activities;
6. National Apprenticeship Week 2020 – 3-7 February 2020;
7. Employer Brokerage by Be-More;
8. Strategic Investment Fund – Skills Capital Update; and
9. Visitor Economy Week 2020 Launch – 3 February 2020.
RESOLVED: That the report is noted.
The Board received a report from the Strategic Director – Enterprise, Community and Resources, which provided an overview of the provision of family learning within Children’s Centres and Primary Schools across Halton. They welcomed the Divisional Manager – Employment, Learning and Skills who delivered an accompanying presentation to Members.
Members were advised that Halton’s Employment, Learning and Skills Division delivered a range of adult learning programmes within Primary Schools and Children’s Centres across the Borough linked to supporting the aims and objectives of the TALK Halton project and the Halton Reading Strategy.
In response to Member’s queries/comments, the following additional information was provided:
· There were children from the troubled families programme accessing the family learning services mainly from the children’s centres;
· Some parents were unaware of the service and some perhaps felt intimidated to ask for help. Marketing of the Family Learning Programme was carried out via leaflets and emails in children’s centres and schools, staff also identified need where possible and often spoke to parents in the playground;
· Staff would carry out a data capture exercise in relation to numbers of troubled families taking part in Family Learning;
· Adult learning provision was free to anyone where the household income was below £17,400;
· The number of schools offering the service had increased over the last couple of years with nearly all primary schools now accessing the service; and
· The staff who delivered the service were qualified primary school teachers.
It was noted that the funding for the Family Learning provision in schools and notice of further funding would be available soon. Family Learning in children’s centres was grant funded by the Department for Education and was due to end in June 2020 with no alternative funding yet made available.
RESOLVED: That the presentation be received.
The Board received a report from the Strategic Director – Enterprise, Community and Resources, which set out the proposed Business Plan for the Economy, Enterprise and Property Department (EEP) for the period April 2020 to March 2023.
It was reported that the Council developed a medium term business plan in parallel with the budget that was subject to annual review and refresh. The input of each Policy and Performance Board into the business planning process and the setting of priorities for the Directorate was an important part of this process.
Members were presented with the key priorities for development or improvement for the EEP Department which related to this Committee. A draft Corporate Business Plan would be developed and the information provided in the EEP Department’s business plan would feed into this process.
It was noted that plans could only be finalised once budget decisions had been confirmed in March and that some target information may need to be reviewed as a result of final outturn data becoming available post March 2020.
Officers provided information in response to Members queries on upskilling of staff and creating good jobs for Halton’s residents, examples were given of successes with jobs for locals within Daresbury Sci-Tech and where staff have upskilled and secured promotions within the Community and Environment Directorate of the Council. Members were advised that questions relating to the regeneration of the Borough, buying and selling of land and Widnes market came within the remit of the Environment and Urban Renewal PPB.
The presentation and Business Plan would be sent to Members following the meeting for their attention. It was noted that the new plan would be effective 1 April 2020.
RESOLVED: That the presentation be received.
The Board received a report from the Strategic Director – Enterprise, Community and Resources, which provided an update in respect of the emerging Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) for the Liverpool City Region (LCR) and highlighted its emerging importance in being used to determine how future resources from Government might be allocated.
It was reported that following on from the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper, Building a Britain fit for the future, published on 27 November 2017, devolved areas such as the LCR were invited to develop their own LIS.
The Board was advised that a working draft of the LCR LIS was produced before Christmas 2019 and was currently being updated. Further comments and input from partners, including local authorities, was being sought. The vision for the LCR as outlined in the LIS was provided in the report together with its aims by 2040.
The Board agreed that the Local Industrial Strategy be submitted to the Executive Board for consideration.
RESOLVED: That the Board
1) note the emerging document and consider its implications for Halton; and
2) agrees that in light of the potential role of the LIS in developing investment priorities; that the report be submitted to the Executive Board for consideration.
The Board received the Council’s Sport and Recreation Service’s Annual Report for the period 2018-19 and accompanying presentation from the Leisure Centres Manager, Community and Environment.
It was reported that the team had two distinct areas:
· The Sports Development Team; and
· Management of the Council’s 3 leisure centres – Kingsway Leisure Centre, Brookvale Recreation Centre and Runcorn Swimming Pool.
The report outlined the responsibilities for the Team and their day to day duties and presented information on local projects being delivered under six Themes: Increasing Participation and Widening Access; Club Development; Coach Education and Volunteering; Sporting Excellence; Finance and Funding for Sport and Sports Facilities.
Members welcomed the presentation and the following comments were made in response to questions:
· The Sports Development Team went into schools to promote the service and facilities available to students in the Borough;
· The ‘teen-gym’ (11-15 year olds) was explained;
· Despite ongoing maintenance issues, Runcorn Swimming Pool would remain open;
· The plans for a new leisure centre in Widnes were welcomed but the need for a new one in Runcorn was also recognised;
· Brookvale Leisure Centre would be upgraded in the future;
· The need to retain and develop staff was a priority and retention plans were being looked at;
· Feedback was requested from customers who did not renew or cancelled their Memberships; and
· The leisure market was becoming more competitive year after year and ongoing challenges that were faced with the recruitment of skilled staff and attracting custom because of this were recognised.
RESOLVED: That the Board welcomes the progress being made in encouraging and supporting residents to be active.