Agenda Item No.












The Operational Manager for Countryside and Economic Projects presented the report which outlined the issues that had been raised following the Scrutiny Committee meetings that had been held with local businesses and key stakeholders.


The Scrutiny Committee had held a number of meetings with local business representatives, interested parties and key stakeholders to obtain views, comments and suggestions in view of the current climate of changing economic circumstances.  The Committee’s view having been that it was essential for evidence to be gathered from representatives of various bodies in order to assist the Council in considering ways to mitigate the effects of the economic downturn on local businesses.  The Committee had also, since the Local Government elections 2012, recommended that similar exercises be continued to be repeated in future years to explore ways to aid local businesses


The first meeting held by the Committee had taken place in 2009, the second in 2011, and the more recent meeting of its type was held on 9th April 2013. The minutes of each of the meetings had been reported to the Committee previously with the view that a final report would be prepared in order that the views expressed and the Council responses could be contained in a concise document now attached at Appendix A to the report. 


Cabinet had itself also in 2012 considered and agreed a report which detailed a number of business liaison activities that would take place as well as acknowledging that, on an annual basis, a meeting would be held by the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) to consider the economic situation and business issues.


Following the last meeting held Scrutiny Committee Members felt at the time that similar events should continue be held but that the format for such could be reconsidered in order to allow for sufficient debate to take place. The report before Members currently recommended that the next event be held in either October / November 2014 with a further report being presented to the Committee in July 2014 of the suggested format. 


The Chairman took the opportunity to ask Members to consider and refer any ideas or views via e-mail to herself or the Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer in order that the report can be prepared accordingly.  During the meeting some Members suggested that future meetings take the form of inviting sector specific organisations to a number meetings to encourage full debate and that where good practice can be identified that it can be shared by all and any innovative ways to encourage improvements and footfall in Towns be considered. 




(1)          That the progress to date be noted, the report be accepted and together with the Committee’s comments be referred to Cabinet.


(2)          That the Committee confirms its support to continue to engage with local businesses and key stakeholders on a regular basis, Members of the Committee consider ideas for the format of future events and email any suggestions to the Chairman and Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer.


(3)          That a further report be presented to the Committee in July 2014 outlining the suggested format for future event /s to be held in either October or November 2014.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)          To apprise Members of the issues and responses made following evidence gathering meetings with interested parties.


(2)          To continue to hold discussions and engage with key stakeholders and consider the format for future events in order to maintain added value.


(3)          In order to agree a format and date for future event/s.






Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 14th January, 2014