Agenda and draft minutes

Economic and Skills Development Partnership
Tuesday, 14 March 2017 8.30 am

Contact: Lizzie Rich  01344 352253

No. Item


Action Points from Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 164 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 17 January 2017 were approved.


Matters Arising

It was noted that the ESDP would write to Fujitsu to thank them for hosting the BID launch and subsequent workshop meetings so generously. (Action: Bob Collis)


Membership update pdf icon PDF 308 KB


It was noted that as David Cook would be leaving the Partnership and handing the Chairmanship over to Bob Collis, the role of Vice-Chair of the ESDP was vacant and needed consideration. (Action: Bob Collis)


The Partnership were informed that the Business Development Sub-group had been put on hold until such time as actions arose from the BID group. It was agreed that this would be a good opportunity to reconsider the focus of any new group. The Partnership thanked Ian Robertson for chairing the group.


The ESDP were also informed that Barinder Hothi, The Knowledge Academy was no longer able to attend the meetings, and had been removed from the ESDP membership. The Partnership recognised Barinder’s useful input and thanked her for her time on the Partnership.


Sub-group Updates pdf icon PDF 337 KB

Additional documents:


Infrastructure Subgroup

Bob Collis remained as Chair for the Infrastructure Sub-group, but would be approaching individuals to recruit a new chair imminently. (Action: Bob Collis)


The group had last met in February 2017, and had an active membership.


In addition to the programme updates, the following points were noted:

·         It was noted that Gerald Hegarty, Planning Officer for Bracknell Forest Council had joined the sub-group to advise on issues of the Local Plan.

·         Stuart Jeffries had been advising the sub-group on train and rail access. It was recognised that the ESDP had had some input in bringing about the improvements on the Reading to Waterloo line which would now have four trains made up per hour made up of 10 carriages.

·         It was hoped that City Fibre could be recruited onto the sub-group to advice on broadband to the Bracknell business areas.

·         The link between the M3 and M4 was being developed through projects to improve the A322/329, with the latest projects funded by the government’s Growth Deal 3.

·         When considering sustainable transport issues, the Sub-group was asked to consider Town and Parish Councils Plan for the area.

·         Justine Thompson, Bracknell Forest Homes had been advising the sub-group on matters of rented and graduate accommodation.



Employment and Skills Sub-group

In addition to the programme updates, the following points were noted:

·         The Council were still developing their approach to the new apprenticeship levy, but would be looking to upskill current staff under the initiative where possible. It was agreed that the Council would continue to update the group about the their approach to the levy and quota.

·         There are still problems with the online registration system, and the ESDP would need to monitor this.

·         Bracknell and Wokingham College would receive the list of companies signed up for apprenticeship schemes on the day of the meeting.

·         It was hoped that clearer statistics could be gained on the Elevate initiative.

·         A careers event on 20 February for The Lexicon had been a success, with 608 attendees.

·         It was recognised that alongside recruitment for The Lexicon, the sub-group would be working to assist with recruitment for the social care workforce, and Bracknell and Wokingham College would be working with Gill Vickers, Director of Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, and Councillor Dale Birch, Lead Member to achieve this.



BID update pdf icon PDF 286 KB


James Sackley gave an update on the Business Improvement District progress.


Following a launch event on 24 November 2016, full endorsement had been received from partners and a steering group had been established, including Fujitsu, Honda, Waitrose, 3M, Page Hardy Harris, Caterpillar, Regus and Maxis. The Capitol building would be approached, which represented 6 companies.


The Bracknell Print Room had been commissioned to develop a logo and brand for the BID. The Partnership advised that the foundational values statement, vision and mission should be developed before the logo and brand guidelines were agreed.


A telephone survey had been commissioned by the BID through QA, and the questions needed to approved by the steering group before the survey launched in April 2017. A report of survey responses would be prepared for May 2017.


In response to questions, the following points were noted:

·         The funding structure of the BID had not yet been agreed.

·         Working groups were to be established for areas such as finance and projects.

·         Waitrose had recently joined the BID, and their representative had previously been involved in a BID in London Victoria.



ESDP Workshop and 2 Year Plan pdf icon PDF 309 KB

Additional documents:


Bob Collis presented the draft structure of the Economic and Skills Development Partnership 2 Year Plan and Workshop.


The summit workshop on 29 March 2017 would focus on developing three areas of the Partnership’s focus:

·         Local strengths

·         Business Needs

·         Objectives for the ESDP, endorsed by sub-group members


It was noted that the ESDP plan would be written for a two year period to coincide with the tenure of Bob Collis as chair.


In response to questions, it was noted that:

·         It was requested that the plan include the consideration of careers advice and an independent provider on the partnership to advise on this.

·         It was noted that not all corporates would be able to speak on behalf of their sector, and that attendees should collect information from similar companies before speaking on their behalf.

·         It was agreed that the summit could be used as an opportunity to raise the profile of the Partnership as a representative of businesses across the borough.


Consultations pdf icon PDF 437 KB

·         Industrial Strategy

·         Heathrow


Industrial Strategy Consultation

Bob Collis thanked all partners who had already fed back into the ESDP response to the Industrial Strategy Consultation.


It was noted that this response was on behalf of the ESDP, and that it would be interesting to note the Council’s response. The reponse needed to be amended to take account of the Government’s 2017 budget. (Action: Bob Collis)


Draft Airports National Policy Statement and UK Airspace Policy Consultation

Although the Council’s political position on Heathrow was not yet clear, the written response had been drafted on behalf of the ESDP by Council officers. A covering letter needed to be produced to accompany the ESDP response. (Action: Victor Nicholls)


The ESDP agreed to:

·         Recognise the importance of Heathrow Airport to the economic success of Bracknell Forest businesses

·         Support the creation of additional capacity at Heathrow, subject to mitigations on noise, housing provision (under the Objectively Assessed Housing Need for Berkshire) and southern rail access.

·         Support the airspace policy framework


The Partnership agreed that with a significant number of jobs being created at Heathrow, a comprehensive employment strategy would need to be established.


The Partnership was also informed of a night time flying consultation which was due to close imminently.


It was agreed that a covering letter would be written to accompany the report and consultation response.



Apprenticeship Levy pdf icon PDF 263 KB


Sheila Robbie presented on the Apprenticeship Levy and its implications on businesses locally.


The majority of businesses were looking to use the levy to develop existing employees, and it was noted that these employees did not need to be called ‘apprentices’, and did not need to have a revised contract.


The levy would raise spending on apprenticeships from the current government spent of £1.4 billion to £3 billion. However, as there were not enough 16-18 year olds to fill the government pledge, companies were using existing staff to make use of the funding over a period of 12 months training course. However, it was noted that there was an additional £1000 funding for each 16-18 year old taken on.


It was noted that the government would co-invest in any overspend on the levy by 90%, and Sheila commented that 50% of companies involved with UKPI were intending to overspend.


In response to questions, the following points were noted:

·         Degree apprenticeships would be further promoted, leading to an improved relationship between further education colleges and schools.

·         If large companies spent their whole levy, SMEs would have less to fund apprenticeships. However, it was noted that the largest employers were not able to spend their entire levy.

·         It was suggested that the ESDP could create a press release to promote apprenticeships and training in Bracknell Forest. (Action: Campbell Christie)

·         It was noted that the LEP had conducted a survey on the apprenticeship levy which may inform discussions in the Partnership. As the levy was not national policy, it was difficult to promote from the bottom up.


LEP Update


Campbell Christie updated on the work of the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The primary focusses of the LEP were:

·         Spatial economic narrative in an iterative process, to advise Local Authority planners of business needs

·         Industrial strategy government consultation

·         A bid to the Government Growth Deal 3 for £150m, of which £35m was received

·         Development of the Careers Enterprise Service and its advisors


Tim Smith, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP had spoken on Sunday Politic South on 5 March 2017 to explain the work of the LEP.




The Partnership thanked David Cook for his work with the ESDP, and wished him well in the future.


Dates of Future Meetings

2 May 2017


2 May 2017, 8:30am at 3M