Agenda and draft minutes

Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal (Elevate Berkshire) Joint Committee - Friday, 23 January 2015 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 Committee noted that apologies had been received from Councillor Lovelock who had asked Graham Thornton to cover any matters on behalf of Reading Borough Council.  Councillor Law reported that Ann Murdoch had also tendered her apologies.


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.


Minutes and Matters Arising from the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 18 July 2014 and receive updates on any issues not covered elsewhere on the agenda.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 18 July 2014 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Elevate Project Update pdf icon PDF 233 KB

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


The Committee considered a report providing an update on the Thames Valley Berkshire Elevate programme covering the period July 14 to January 15.


Paul Gresty highlighted a number of points arising from the report.  These included:


·                     The fact that the European Social Investment Fund monies were finally to be signed off by the end of February 2015.


·                     Elevate would need to construct a bid to the EUSIF Area Committee for funding.


·                     The Committee’s attention was drawn to the distinction between the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and the EUSIF Area Committee in terms of the decision making in respect of this funding even though there was some commonality of membership.


·                     Job Centre Plus had now recognised the value of Elevate.


·                     The Prince’s Trust was now keen to get involved.


·                     Elevate was seeking to provide a means of more effective engagement with businesses.


In response to questions, the Committee was advised that:


·                     The Behavioural Insights Team were former civil servants.


·                     The Elevate web site was aimed at young people and therefore might not be as easy to use if an older person used it.


·                     There had been a disconnect between Elevate and ElevateMe but efforts had been made to bring them together.


The Committee noted the report.


Spoke and Hub Project Update pdf icon PDF 325 KB

To provide Joint Committee with a progress update on SPOKE (Local Authority projects) and HUB (pan Berks) projects



Elevate Bracknell

Elevate Reading

Elevate Wokingham

Elevate Slough

Elevate West Berkshire

Elevate Windsor and Maidenhead



Labour market Intelligence

Elevate Me – Presentation by Rohit Paul

Business Growth Hub

Additional documents:


The Committee received a report updating it on spoke and hub activity in each borough across Berkshire.


A representative of each of the local spokes provided an update on the work of theirs to support the details presented in the report.  Amongst the main points made were that:


·                     So far 40 young people had been signed up in Bracknell Forest where a new hub location was being sought to build on the good progress made; opportunities to engage more partners and some co-location was under consideration.


·                     Reading’s Hub would be based on the third floor of Reading Library with a number of partners supporting the activities represented there.


·                     In Slough, the opportunity had been taken to join up and streamline all the related teams within the Council.


·                     In West Berkshire a brokerage service to work between young people and employers had been established.


·                     Two hubs had been established in Windsor & Maidenhead at which the borough’s colleges and a number of other partners were working whilst the potential was also being explored to deliver services within schools.


·                     In Wokingham, the hub had been established at Wokingham Library where partners included Job Centre Plus which was not otherwise available in the borough; footfall was up including older people.


During the ensuing discussion, it was suggested that, as a county, there should be a better way of approaching construction apprenticeships.  One option suggested which had been operating successfully elsewhere, would be to create a company to manage apprenticeships on behalf of the construction firms as this addressed the difficulties posed by most projects being developed by way of a main company and series of sub-contractors to deliver specific aspects of the work.  Unless this was addressed, all six authorities were fighting for the same pot in an uncoordinated way.  In response to this, the Committee was advised that the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP was aware of the problem and was aiming to direct some of its apprenticeships funding to such an approach.  In addition, the Committee was told that Elevate would do more work to help the six work better together on commissioning, an area where there were already successful schemes being pursued to encourage the employment of young people for work being commissioned by the councils.  Data tracking work would also enable the whole of Berkshire to pick up young people wanting construction work regardless of which borough they came from.


The Committee also received a briefing on the Business Growth Hub.  It was stressed that its role was about business support rather than employer engagement.  It would be seeking to ensure business got the support it wanted or needed.  150 businesses had so far been engaged.  The Committee was reminded that the LEP had had to apply for the support funding from the Regional Growth Fund and was therefore undertaking a review and evaluation of the hub to meet the requirements that went with the funding.  In the future, the use of the LEP’s own funding would allow more freedom.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To provide a progress update to Joint Committee on performance against the key outputs of Elevate, across the spokes and wider Elevate programme.


The Committee received an update on local and collective outputs achieved to date.


Emelye James briefly highlighted a number of the key outputs so far, stressing that the majority of spokes were overachieving, and were on course to achieve all targets.  She added that overall they were not doing so well in relation to work experience, as the cumulative figures were being propped up by significant over-performance in West Berkshire.  Without them, less than 30% of the target would have been achieved.  Wokingham was already seeking to address this by asking all managers to offer one week’s work experience.  This was a simple way that others might boost figures in their area.


Some questions were asked about the reliability of the figures.  It was noted that there were some issues with the way in which providers were operating and what they were submitting but the common reporting framework should improve the integrity of the data in future.


In answer to a question regarding the sharing of best practice, the Committee was advised that the Elevate Steering Group received reports on best practice.


Sign-off of Key Project Documentation pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To sign-off the:


·                     3 Year Elevate Implementation and Performance Plan


·                     Implementation and Performance template


·                     Elevate Communications and Branding Plan


NB:      The 3 Year Elevate Implementation and Performance Plan will follow.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report inviting it to sign-off the:


·                     3 Year Elevate Implementation and Performance Plan


·                     Implementation and Performance template


·                     Elevate Communications and Branding Plan


The Committee was advised that there was now a consistent marketing plan.  The implementation and Performance Plan was to be refined with the changes brought back to the Committee at a subsequent meeting.  The Plan covered what was in the bid plus what had changed in the landscape since.


The Committee was advised that Elevate involved cultural change after years of doing things one way.  It was now recognised that there was a better way forward.  Bringing services together had been a huge benefit.


There was some discussion around the use of social media.  It was suggested that there was a need not to underestimate how much young people wanted to be communicated with electronically.  In the circumstances, it was suggested adverts should be put on Facebook as they could generate a huge response.  The Committee was, however, cautioned about the time it took to moderate such sites.  Text messages had increased footfall at one of the hubs. 


In concluding the discussion it was suggested that what young people actually wanted was important and they should be asked rather than assumptions made.  Similarly, young people should be encouraged rather than told to use Elevate. 


It was agreed that there would be a need to put money behind the marketing.


Having noted these points, the Committee endorsed the Plans.


Employment Skills Plans and Procurement

To provide Members with an update on work undertaken by Wokingham Borough Council. (Presentation by Rhian Hayes, Wokingham Borough Council)


The Committee received a report from Rhian Hayes on the work undertaken by Wokingham Borough Council.


The main points made were that:


·                     Developers were required to commit to a certain number of apprenticeships and opportunities for young people but this needed to extend to sub-contractors.


·                     There was huge growth coming in Wokingham.


·                     Plans were negotiated at the time of the planning permission.  


·                     The requirement to offer apprenticeships and opportunities for young people was included amongst the criteria for scoring tenders.


·                     The level of requirement was based on size of the project having regard to Construction Industry Trading Board figures.


·                     Developers were very keen to get involved but there was a lot of work to do to ensure it was embedded in policies.


·                     It was very resource intensive as a great deal of monitoring was required but useful for building contacts.


The Committee also noted that Wokingham was working closely with Reading and the LEP.


Members Involvement in Elevate

To consider the role of Members as critical friends within their own Authorities:


·                     Apprenticeship programmes


·                     Employment Skills Plans and Procurement


The Committee briefly discussed how members might act as critical friends within their own authorities.


The Committee agreed that there was a need to look at what other steps they could take to move the project forward.  It was stressed that ideally there should be a consistent approach across the county.