Agenda item

Questions from the Public Under Standing order No. 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. Further information about speaking at a committee can be found here: Speaking at a Committee



A member of the public, Mr Cleasby submitted the following question, related to Minute No. 88:-


·        The draft consultation document states that members of the Liveable Exeter Place Board “engage communities and stakeholders to address the challenges in achieving the vision”.How do Board members engage those communities not represented by Board members, and will the Council please provide a recent example of them doing so?


The Council Leader in responding, explained that the Liveable Exeter Place Board brought together a variety of leaders and individuals that had a responsibility for their own organisations or were influential people in their own right, such as the local MPs. The leaders of the city’s institutions and individual businesses or charities were rooted in the locality, and were able to inform on discussion and shape issues based on a wealth of information attained from their staff and customers. Those organisations for example had asset management plans, and would be thinking of their long investment plans and how their organisations conducted their business to ensure cross institutional co-operation to further the vision of the city.


Aspects of the city’s vision related to outcomes that required co-ordination of the city’s infrastructure or organisation of activity aligned with strategic goals such as delivering the most active city in the country or delivering world class education. No one organisation had the ability to achieve the goals, organisations needed to work together over a sustained period of time and work on aligning physical infrastructure with funding and wrap around packages of support involving revenue expenditure and various bids into government departments. Co-ordinating infrastructure and collaboration was assisted by the existence of a place based board.


The Place Board brought together the elected leaders of Devon County Council and Exeter City Council, the elected local MPs for Exeter, and the elected Police & Crime Commissioner, all of whom had their own processes and procedures for continually engaging with their constituents. This was complemented by the presence of the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, and the CEO of the Business Improvement District. Those organisations spoke for a wide range of companies and had established ways of connecting with businesses. Further, educational institutions through the University of Exeter and Exeter College had a strong working relationship with all the educational organisations in the city.


An example was Professor Lee Elliot Major, who sat on the Place Board, had led the work on social mobility in the south west, levelling up through education. The Chair of the Place Board, Sir Steve Smith was one of the people mentioned in the report in providing oversight, feedback and advice throughout the project. The proposals of the commission directly addressed the requirements in the Levelling Up White Paper and its 2030 mission on education, skills and ultimately on living standards. The commission showed how not all young people in Devon were enjoying the opportunities and benefits of prosperity. The Chair of the Devon Community Foundation worked with the community and wellbeing support infrastructure, which was developed in conjunction with the two local authorities and GPs. Whether through sport, culture, transport, development or health work on the Covid recovery plan, this demonstrated the ability of the Place Board to reach out to stakeholders in an agile fashion to reflect the long term vision of the city and to translate it into short term action. The city should be proud of the work it had done to work in a collaborative fashion and the focus on delivering the vision.


Mr Cleasby on putting a supplementary question, commented on the impressive list of local leaders, and enquired about the position of the High Sheriff of Devon having a seat on the Place Board and about representation for those not aligned with the group.


The Council Leader responded that the previous High Sheriff of Devon (Lady Studholme) was no longer on the board and indeed had not been a member of the Board in that capacity.  He also stated that the Place Board members would respond to the consultation on behalf of their various organisations. The consultation would seek to engage with all groups and individuals in the city, to ensure that their views were heard.