Agenda Item No. 10
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 15th July, 2014
Report of the Director of Resources
Consultation Event with Key Stakeholders - Business Liaison Meeting
Purpose of the Report
1. To consider suggestions and a way forward for the format for the next meeting with the business community.
1. T H A T Members views be sought on the suggested format for discussions with the business community to take place either late Autumn of 2014 or Spring 2015.
2. T H A T following approval of the format for a future meeting a further report be presented detailing specific arrangements for such an event.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. To receive Members view and ideas on a suggested way forward.
2. To apprise Members.
2. Extraordinary Scrutiny Committee meetings have previously been held with representatives from the business community and key stakeholders and it remains the Committee's view that it is essential that evidence is gathered from representatives to assist the Council in considering ways to mitigate the effects of the economic downturn on local businesses. Cabinet in 2012 also considered and agreed a report regarding a number of business liaison activities which outlined the types of activities that would take place as well as acknowledging that on an annual basis a meeting would be held by the Scrutiny Committee to consider the economic situation and business issues.
3. The Committee acknowledges that it is important that the Council as an employer facilitator and enabler, plays a role in the economic development and regeneration of communities and if the generation activities are to be sustainable they must take account of social, economic and environmental issues simultaneously. Local authorities, therefore, play a key role because they are involved in all three areas of activity.
4. The last meeting with key stakeholders and various organisations was held in April 2013 with the representatives being invited to participate within that meeting. The meeting saw a considerable amount of representatives in attendance with all being offered the opportunity to speak of up to five minutes with reference to two specific questions
(i) Firstly, can you describe how your business or sector is coping with the very difficult trading conditions and whether you feel that we are indeed seeing the "green shoots" of recovery?.
(ii) Secondly, can you indicate whether there is anything that the Vale of Glamorgan Council can do to help your business and / or sector?.
5. Due to the significant number of attendees the then Chairman considered that there was insufficient time for officers to respond to concerns at the meeting and recommended that a report be presented in due course.
6. The report was subsequently presented, considered by the Scrutiny Committee and referred to Cabinet with the intention that further events be held but consideration be given to their future format.
Relevant Issues and Options
7. For the next event it is suggested that a different format is considered in order to allow for sufficient time for an exchange of views to take place.
8. Officers have therefore proposed a series of four quarterly meetings focussing on one sector per meeting as below
· aerospace/automotive sector - example ideas for discussion St. Athan Enterprise Zone, future development of Cardiff Airport, likely growth/expansion of existing businesses in the Unitary Authority in this sector, procurement of contracts to secure jobs in the Vale of Glamorgan
· recycling – This is a growing sector of industry with potential for the Vale to exploit opportunities and potential demand in respect of new and innovative ways of recycling. This could also encompass for instance, waste to energy projects, with potential employment opportunities.
· retail sector - example ideas for discussion business improvement districts, how to attract town residents into the town centre, Town Centre Champions/mentors ?? shops, task and finish groups for specific town centre projects
· tourism sector - example ideas for discussion emerging issues from the Destination Action Plan, brown signs, uses for former Tourism Information Centre, new facilities (e.g. beach huts), events led tourism and impact, partnership working, tourism and social media.
9. The suggested way forward of holding four quarterly meetings is in order to explore the issues in detail and to allow for considerable discussion on the various topics suggested. The meetings could be held in a workshop style scenario in the Council's Corporate Suite to be facilitated by officers from the various service areas.
10. Alternatively the Committee could hold two sessions bringing two sectors together at a time or
11. Thirdly extraordinary Scrutiny Committee meetings could be held similar to previous years for say two sectors per meeting in a question and answering debate session.
12. Committee's views are sought.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
13. The events will be funded from within existing budgets.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
14. The development of a strong local based economy will assist in achieving sustainability objectives.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
15. None directly attributable to this report.
Crime and Disorder Implications
16. None directly attributable to this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
17. There are no direct equal opportunity implications directly related to this report although any information that will need to be marketed will need to be presented in Welsh and English.
18. The Vale of Glamorgan has a thriving economy supporting cohesive sustainable communities.
Policy Framework and Budget
19. This report is in the Council's Policy Framework and Budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
20. As the matter affects all Wards in the County Borough, no Ward Member consultation has been undertaken.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
21. Economy and Environment.
Cabinet, Scrutiny Committee Reports, Scrutiny Committee minutes.
Karen Bowen, (01446) 709856
Siân Davies, Director of Resources