Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Friday, 13th July, 2018 11.00 am

Venue: Committee Room A, Wellington House, Leeds. View directions

Contact: Khaled Berroum, Scrutiny Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Peter Harrand and Betty Rhodes, with Councillor Faith Heptinstall substituting for Councillor Rhodes.

2.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

3.

Possible exclusion of the press and public

Minutes:

There were no items requiring the exclusion of the press and public.

4.

Minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2018 pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:  That, subject to Councillor Paul Kane's apologies being noted, the minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2018 be approved.

5.

Governance arrangements pdf icon PDF 260 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted a report outlining the governance arrangements, relating to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, agreed at the Combined Authority annual meeting on 28 June 2018.

 

The Chair welcomed new members, paid tribute to parting members and their contributions, and reminded members currently without nominated substitutes to follow up with party groups and whips to progress matters. The Chair also welcomed the appointment of a full-time, dedicated scrutiny officer to support the Committee's work.

 

Resolved: 

 

i)     That the changes in governance arrangements agreed at the Combined Authority Annual Meeting on 28 June 2018 be noted.

 

ii)    That new members be welcomed and parting members be thanked for their service and many contributions over the years. 

 

iii)   That members without nominated substitutes ensure that substitutes are formally nominated and appointed.

6.

Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Scrutiny Work Programme for the 2018/19 municipal year.

 

Reviews

 

The Chair proposed that since the Combined Authority has changed noticeably in the last four years and now that a dedicated scrutiny officer has been appointed, the time is right to revisit and conduct a review of scrutiny arrangements and their effectiveness, with member involvement and input.

 

The review would take into account, as far as possible, anticipated updates to government guidance around scrutiny, expected later this year.

 

It was suggested that the review consider the resource capacity at the committee's disposal in order to match the Committee's desire – in light of changes to the terms of reference and the Combined Authority's policy framework – to consider a wider range of issues in a variety of different scrutiny methods beyond formal committee meetings.

 

Greater engagement with members of the public and their involvement in the scrutiny process was identified as a priority of the Chair, the Committee and the Combined Authority's Managing Director.

 

Members suggested 'scrutiny in the community', travelling meetings and field research should be explored as methods to increase engagement with the public, local businesses, organisations, academic experts and other local stake holders including district scrutiny committees and networks.

 

The benefit of engagement with experts was highlighted as a particular opportunity, considering the number of relevant academic studies at local universities.

 

The size and governance of the Committee was noted as making some scrutiny methods impractical, with the Chair proposing the main committee maintain a strategic focus, delegating more focused tasks and issues to subgroups, which have been successful in providing challenge and making an impact through constructive recommendations.

 

It was suggested that consideration be given to possibly formalising working groups or the process by which they report back to the main committee.

 

Agenda Forward Plan

 

The Chair suggested the number of issues considered at each meeting be limited to two to allow for more focused and detailed discussion and also recommended that past issues considered by the Committee, such as flood alleviation/resilience and inclusive growth, be revisited to monitor progress.

 

On the Chair's suggestion, the Committee agreed to invite Councillor Jenny Lynn, representing Calderdale Council's scrutiny boards, to present the findings of their review of Calderdale Council's engagement with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

 

The Committee also agreed to consider budget planning, priorities and structure at the next meeting, as well as an item on the outcomes of the business grants programme and steps being taken to ensure a consistency of standards is applied to grants appraisal and approval.

 

Members also suggested a variety of issues for further consideration in the forward plan, including;

·         how the Combined Authority engages with the public and how the public are involved in decision making,

·         what the Combined Authority is doing to facilitate or provide meaningful apprenticeships across all sectors,

·         what current programmes and strategies address fuel poverty,

·         plastics and the waste generated by use of plastics,

·         fire safety standards in housing

·         productivity – as a standalone  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Policy Framework and Local Inclusive Industrial Strategy pdf icon PDF 408 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on progress to replace the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) with a new, agile policy framework including the development of a new Local Inclusive Industrial Strategy (LIIS).

 

Officers reported that they expected information on the timescale of the second wave of industrial strategies and featured regions within the next few weeks and that government representatives have been invited to the LEP Board's away day on 20 September 2018 to discuss how Leeds City Region can contribute to national industrial strategy.

 

Members were asked to consider how the new framework and strategy could better appraise, prioritise and develop projects against outcomes and to help determine the best way to measure and calculate success, to improve future policy development.

 

After discussion, the Committee recommended that the quality and longevity of the jobs created should form the basis of monitoring and measuring success. Focus should not only be on numerical targets and how much money is being invested. Acknowledging it was a difficult task, long term impact was the greatest measurement of success – not how many immediate jobs are created, but whether they were still there years later.

 

Members recommended a general formula around (1) identifying problems, (2) identifying targets/outcomes to alleviate those problems, (3) identifying projects and programmes which achieve those targets/outcomes and alleviate those problems and (4) monitoring outcomes and outputs long term to revisit the identified problems and whether targets were maintained.

 

The Committee also suggested that local trade unions and the public be involved in consultations. It was suggested that the public be the primary audience for the final published framework and strategy and less 'local government jargon' be employed in favour of plain English for accessibility and clarity.

 

Members also suggested looking to examples in other areas of the UK (and internationally), highlighting a particular success of integrated 'place shaping' policy in the North East where planning policy was employed to limit the number of fast-food outlets within a particular area leading to a measurable long term improvement in the health of local residents.

 

Resolved: 

 

i)     That the progress to replace the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) with a new, agile policy framework, including the development of a new Local Inclusive Industrial Strategy (LIIS), be noted.

 

ii)    That the SEP Working Group consider the emerging policy framework and Local Inclusive Industrial Strategy in more detail, focusing on assurance and risk management, with a view to long term monitoring.

8.

Devolution pdf icon PDF 148 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report providing an update on progress towards securing devolution and were informed of developments since the publication of the report.

 

On 9 July 2018, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government wrote a letter to Yorkshire’s Council Leaders stating that until the Sheffield City Region devolution deal is fully implemented, the Government is not prepared to enter into any discussion about wider devolution arrangements across Yorkshire that would include some or all of the Sheffield City Region authorities.

 

19 Yorkshire Leaders, including the Mayor of Sheffield City Region, met in York on 12 July 2018 and expressed disappointment that the Secretary of State had not provided a substantive response to their detailed devolution proposal submitted in March 2018.

 

The Leaders resolved to continue with their previously agreed preparations (outlined in paragraph 2.11 of the report), including conducting an economic study, due to be completed in September 2018, which will form the basis of the economic case of a Yorkshire deal.

 

The Committee expressed its frustration and disappointment with the reported developments, concluding that the continuing absence of a deal will mean that the region misses out on additional funding and investment, and will fall behind other regions with devolution deals in place.

 

The Committee discussed the possibility of smaller city region deals or other interim arrangements that could yield extra funding while wider negotiations take place and also discussed the merits of the March 2018 'One Yorkshire' submission compared to other existing mayoral combined authorities.

 

Resolved:  That the developments relating to devolution, and the continuation of the next steps highlighted in paragraph 2.11 of the report, be noted.

 

9.

Date of the next meeting - 14 September 2018