Agenda and draft minutes

Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal (Elevate Berkshire) Joint Committee - Friday, 18 July 2014 10.30 am

Venue: Green Park Conference Centre - 100 Longwater Avenue, Green Park, Reading RG2 6GP. View directions

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352044

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Substitute Members

To receive apologies for absence and to note the attendance of any substitute members.


The Joint Committee was advised that Councillor Stuart Munro had replaced Councillor Rob Stanton as Wokingham’s representative on the Joint Committee.  As Councillor Stanton had been elected chairman of the Joint Committee, a vacancy now existed.  Nominations were accordingly sought for the chairmanship for the remainder of the municipal year.


RESOLVED that Councillor Stuart Munro be elected Chairman of the Joint Committee for the remainder of the municipal year.


The Joint Committee also noted that apologies had been received from Councillor Marc Brunel-Walker, for whom Councillor Chris Turrell was substituting, and Councillor Alan Law.


Declarations of Interest

Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or an Affected Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes - 21 March 2014 pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 21 March 2014.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 March 2014 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.


There were no urgent items of business.


Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal Project Update pdf icon PDF 246 KB

To provide the Joint Committee with a progress update on key elements of the project.


The Joint Committee considered a report updating it on the progress made since its last meeting.  It was reminded that the Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal was focused on increasing the participation of 16-24 year olds in education, training and work, to develop work-related skills and to streamline the pathway to employment for young people. This was linked directly to a broader objective of delivering economic growth locally, and to addressing local concerns about the number of young people not in employment, education or training.  


Amongst the main points noted by the Joint Committee were that:


·                     The decision around European Social Investment Fund money had been delayed by a legal challenge.


·                     Reading Borough Council would negotiate directly with a provider to deliver the data tracking function (common reporting framework), as opposed to the Local Enterprise partnership undertaking a competitive tender.


·                     The definitions for the key deliverables had been agreed.


·                     Job Centre Plus was now fully engaged with the City Deal and was working closely with all spokes having committed a resource to each co-located hub.


·                     A Memorandum of Understanding was being drafted to articulate the mutual obligations and agreements each spoke had to the City Deal and at a more local level; highlighted the mutual obligations key partners and providers needed to demonstrate amongst themselves within each locality. 


·                     Agreement had been reached, amongst spokes, that the overarching brand for City Deal was to be ‘Elevate’, and henceforth City Deal would be referred to as ‘Elevate Berkshire’.


·                     Each spoke had a clear governance arrangement in place.


·                     The Behavioural Insights Team had supported Reading UK CIC with Elevateme, suggesting ways to increase the number of ‘hits’ the website received.


·                     Pilot projects were being established to reach ‘’hard to reach’’ young people.


·                     Progress was being made in scoping out possible pilot projects to support lone parents who were NEET sooner than originally intended.


In response to questions, the Joint Committee was advised that:


·                     The EU’s £2.4m match funding was dependent on achieving the intended outcomes and was likely to be subject to robust data proving that the outcomes had been achieved.


·                     There was, as yet, no clarity around what mechanisms the EU would be putting in place to determine whether or not the outcomes had been achieved to their satisfaction.


·                     The LEP’s EU SIF Strategy had received explicit endorsement of its approach to bringing the two programmes together.


·                     As the initial targets were likely to be met relatively easily, the officers were aiming to broaden them to achieve more than originally envisaged.


·                     The allocation of funding to each local authority had been based on what each had requested to deliver their commitments.


The Joint Committee noted the report.


Quarter 1, 2014/15 Monitoring pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To provide a progress update to the Joint Committee on performance against the key outcomes of the City Deal.


The Joint Committee considered a report providing an update on cumulative outcomes achieved by spokes in the first quarter of the City Deal.


There were some gaps in data at a local level as the spokes did not have the systems and processes in place to collect all data, although the project would have a common reporting framework and data tracking function.


The Committee’s attention was drawn, in particular, to the fact that the project had:


·                     Considerably over achieved on the Information, Advice and Guidance target for quarter 1.


·                     Exceeded the target for the number of young people that had gained an apprenticeship place.


However, the breakdown of outputs by spoke highlighted the need for a higher level of consistency in achieving cumulative targets on a quarterly basis.


Amongst the points made arising from the report were that:


·                     There was more work required in relation to work experience as the initial quarter’s results were disappointing, albeit that the performance was likely to improve as the project progressed, as only persons placed as a result of the project could be counted and therefore some work experience placements did not count towards the figures.


·                     The Steering Group would be asked to pay particular attention to work experience.


·                     The officers were working with the Confederation of Small Businesses to address the issue.


·                     The young people finding it easiest to get work experience were often those who needed it the least and, in many cases, were people who were being placed as a result of family links or contacts.


·                     The approach to placements depended upon each individual’s circumstances as the emphasis was on providing a personal solution for each client.


·                     There was a need to recognise that people being placed needed to have the right skills for the organisation and that the organisation needed to offer a beneficial experience for both the young person and the organisation during the placement.


The Joint Committee noted the cumulative outputs achieved in quarter 1 and:


RESOLVED that each organisation provide accurate and consistent outcomes data on a monthly basis to the City Deal Project Co-ordinator.


Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal Spoke and Hub Update pdf icon PDF 328 KB

To provide the Joint Committee with a progress update on spoke and hub projects




·                     Elevate Bracknell

·                     Elevate Reading

·                     Elevate Wokingham

·                     Elevate Slough

·                     Elevate West Berkshire

·                     Elevate Windsor and Maidenhead




·                     Labour Market Intelligence

·                     Elevateme

·                     Business Growth Hub


Arising from this report, Caroline Perkins of the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP will make a short presentation to the Joint Committee on Labour Market Intelligence and Business Intelligence.

Additional documents:


The Joint Committee considered a report updating it on the following projects of the Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal:


Spoke Projects


·                     Elevate Bracknell

·                     Elevate Reading

·                     Elevate Slough

·                     Elevate West Berkshire

·                     Elevate Windsor and Maidenhead


Hub Projects


·                     Labour Market Intelligence

·                     ElevateMe

·                     Business Growth Hub


The Joint Committee was advised that each spoke was making reasonably good progress but were at different places.


The Elevate web site had been launched in March and was already drawing interest from beyond Berkshire.  The original sponsor, O2, had maintained their interest and were looking at commercial enablement opportunities.  It was hoped eventually to roll it out nationally.


The Joint Committee was reminded that the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub had four main activities:


·                     A one stop shop web site as the single gateway for all Thames Valley Berkshire’s businesses; providing access to information, an overview of grants and available business support services


·                     A programme of coaching, advice and training from an experienced team of business people to develop business strategies and plans for growth. The Hub was partnering with national programmes (MAS, UKTI, GrowthAccelerator, TSB), and with the LEP’s own Funding Escalator


·                     A competitive grants programme to fund businesses that needed between £1k and £3k for specialist advice, and between £10k and £40k to develop new products, prove new technologies and get ideas to market.


·                     A business network delivering relevant events and topical activities across Thames Valley Berkshire, to provide knowledge and information exchange for growth businesses.


The report detailed progress and  advised that the LEP had been awarded £250,000 for 2015/16 to allow a Business Growth Hub to continue as part of the Local Growth Deal.


In addition, Caroline Perkins made a presentation to the Joint Committee on Local Market and local business intelligence.  The presentation focussed on:


·                     The role of Local Market Intelligence and Business Intelligence.


·                     Developing the Intelligence Offer.


·                     Intelligence Requirements.


Caroline also highlighted examples of the type of data that could be provided.  In response to a question, she undertook to check whether data on zero-hour contracts was available, and, in particular, whether some young people were in and out of jobs in rapid succession without gaining sufficient worthwhile experience to give them the skills needed for a sustainable future.


Copies of the first Local Market Intelligence and Business Intelligence reports were to be circulated to the Joint Committee.


That Joint Committee noted the report and presentation, acknowledging the value that the data would provide to its future discussions.