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The minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee held on 24 September 2020 were taken as read, approved as correct, for signing by the Chair at the earliest possible convenience.
Declaration of Interest
Councillors are reminded of the need to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests that relate to business on the agenda and which have not already been included in the register of interests, before any discussion takes place on the item. Unless the interest is sensitive, you must also disclose the nature of the interest. In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, you must then leave the room and must not participate in any further discussion of the item. Councillors requiring clarification should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer prior to the day of the meeting.
No declaration of interest was made by a Member.
Questions from Members of the Public Under Standing Order 19
To receive questions relating to items on the Agenda from members of the public and responses thereto.
Details of questions should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support by 10.00am at least three working days prior to the meeting. For this meeting, questions must be submitted by 10am by Monday 16 November 2020.
Further information about speaking at a committee can be found here: Speaking at a Committee
In accordance with Standing Order 19, a member of the public, Mr P Cleasby submitted the following question on the Local Industrial Strategy:-
What progress has the Council made in attracting funds in response to each of the funding requests set out in the Exeter Local Industrial Strategy?
The Council Leader, Councillor Bialyk offered the following response and explained that the clear steer from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) officials, following publication of the Exeter Industrial Strategy (EIS), was that Whitehall would expect the formal Industrial Strategy to be on the same geography as the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and include Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay. The Exeter Industrial Strategy has been used to inform the production of the Heart of the South West Local Industrial Strategy with its focus on clean growth and Exeter’s opportunity based on data and climate and environmental sciences. Having encouraged the Heart of the South West Councils and LEP to produce an Industrial strategy for consideration by the previous Government, we have still not heard back from Government on whether the draft Industrial Strategy has been accepted.
Funding has been secured by Exeter College as part of a hub and spoke proposal for digital, to be known as the South West Institute of Technology, with the hub being based at Exeter. The skills escalator has been widely discussed and may well have supported the successful bid by the College. Funding has been secured from the Cabinet Office and the One Public Estate to produce a business case for a sustainable development fund. Funding continues to be secured by the Exeter Science Park to support the provision of new accommodation. There has been no success with the Institute of Environmental Risk, or in relation to Sparx (an Exeter based educational technology company) and Exeter City Futures. However, since the publication of the Exeter Industrial Strategy, Sparx has secured major private sector investment and it has been rolled out to many more schools in this country and abroad. In short, we have done a lot of work as a city and region to support the industrial strategy but we still await the publication by Government and funding has been secured from Government and this has been administered through programmes administered by the LEP and/or Devon County Council, and the case with the One Public Estate.
Mr Cleasby did not ask a
supplementary question, but he agreed that this was all very
encouraging and he thanked the Leader for the response. He looked forward to the Heart of the South West
LEP publishing their plans soon.
The Leader referred to his membership of the Heart of the South West LEP Board, representing the Devon district authorities who had been pushing for the publication of the plans which he considered would be unifying. It was disappointing that in view of the delays to the devolution discussion, the plans had also been set aside for the duration of this Parliament. He confirmed that this authority was ... view the full minutes text for item 25.
Briefing notes attached from the respective Portfolio Holders.
Leader – Councillor Bialyk
Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder – Net Zero Exeter 2030 Councillor Rachel Sutton
Portfolio Holder - Transformation & Environment Councillor Bob Foale
Portfolio Holder - City Development – Councillor Emma Morse
Details of questions from Members relating to the Portfolios above on Covid-19 issues only, with a particular emphasis on the focus on recovery should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support by 10.00am the Monday before the meeting – 16 November 2020.
The Chair introduced the four Portfolio Holders who reported to this Scrutiny Committee, to present their respective briefing updates with a focus on the Council’s Covid-19 recovery stage.
Questions from Members submitted in advance of the meeting, with the answers given at the meeting, together with the supplementary questions and answers made at the meeting, are set out below for each Portfolio.
The Council Leader, Councillor Bialyk in presenting his briefing note highlighted the following:-
· Build Back Better Project, which was the subject of a report that went to Executive on 3 November and will be presented to Council in December; and
· the latter part of the update which demonstrated his involvement in the recovery of the city with a number of strategic and internal meetings.
Questions from Committee Members
1. Councillor D Moore - Liveable Exeter Transformational Housing Programme:
When will the approach for
engagement and involvement of the community at an early stage, and
the strategies for continued community engagement and
The Leader confirmed that high-level city engagement in relation to the Liveable Exeter programme was originally planned to have continued over the course of the past months, however Covid-19 has impacted significantly in terms of this engagement and several planned engagement opportunities have been postponed. Liveable Exeter has, nonetheless, sought to support several initiatives which have been developed during Covid-19 and a website for Liveable Exeter now exists to provide residents with more insight into the programme, its aims and ambitions. This website platform will continue to develop in the coming months and it is expected that this will become a key platform through which to engage residents and communities – especially whilst the effects of Covid-19 remain.
In terms of future events, it is worth stressing that Liveable Exeter is a complex, dynamic and long-term programme made up of several work streams and projects. A ‘one size fits all’ approach to engagement would therefore not be appropriate and project level engagement will be tailored to relate to specific projects and work streams. This means that engagement will be undertaken at a time, and in a means, which is most appropriate in terms of both engaging residents and in supporting the delivery of the programme. There is therefore no intention to publish a programme of engagement relating to the Liveable Exeter programme at this time.
Supplementary question and response.
Councillor Moore thanked the Leader and referred to the high level engagement and the prospectus of the Garden City Programme and referred to the proposals and whether the local community is being or will be engaged at an early stage. It was clear that in respect of community, both in terms of current and the future that residents must have a meaningful say in developing the proposals from design to delivery to constructively contribute to the future of the city. Whilst appreciating the impact of Covid-19, which has made it more difficult to engage communities, she asked the Leader to bring forward those plans and ... view the full minutes text for item 26.