Agenda and minutes

Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal (Elevate Berkshire) Joint Committee - Tuesday, 21 May 2019 10.00 am

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

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352044

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any personal or disclosable pecuniary interest in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.


Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary 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 Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.


Katharine Horler declared an interest through her role as Chief Executive of Adviza, a partner provider to the Elevate Berkshire programme.


Minutes and Matters Arising from the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 25 September 2018 and receive updates on any issues not covered elsewhere on the agenda.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 25 September 2018 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.



Elevate Berkshire ESF Update pdf icon PDF 358 KB

To provide the Joint Committee with an update on the Elevate Berkshire European Social Fund Programme.


Key Updates:


           Item 1 - Update From Central Team on Key Projects

           Item 2 - Partner Updates

           Item 3 - Performance and Funding

           Item 4 - Future Plans

Additional documents:


The Joint Committee considered a report providing an update on the Thames Valley Berkshire Elevate programme since its last meeting.


The report included:


·                     An update from the Central Team on Key Projects

·                     Partner Updates

·                     An update on Performance and Funding

·                     Future Plans


The topics covered included:


·                     The Slough Project 1 went live in May 2018 and Project 2 in September 2018.  Kennedy Scott had been delivering the projects and had reported 279 outcomes and 146 results up to the end of March 2019.  These had helped improve the performance against targets of the overall Elevate programme.

·                     The employment of a Digital Marketing Assistant, to build online presence and improve the content of ElevateMe local websites, had lead to an Elevate Berkshire presence on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram with posts tailored according to the audiences for each platform.

·                     Extended support had been provided through a spot purchase scheme arranged to help participants with a mental health problem.  To date ten young people had been assisted, through such measures as counselling and 1:1 placement support, to take steps towards entry to the labour market.

·                     Chimera Consultants had been commissioned to carry out an evaluation of Elevate Berkshire, to include interviews with stakeholders and participants (and informal feedback from the Joint Committee following the meeting).

·                     The ‘Employment is Everyone’s Business’ project continued to support Elevate Berkshire and the six Berkshire Authorities to improve life chances and employment outcomes for young people with Special Educational Needs.  Support had been provided to the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP on their call around apprenticeships; two events for carers around employment were planned for Newbury College and Bracknell in June/July 2019 with a further shared learning event at Newbury College on 18 July 2019.


Partner updates were included in the report from:


·                     Bracknell Forest

·                     The Prince’s Trust

·                     RBWM – The early end date of 31 March 2019 had been accepted by DWP since existing delivery partners would be operating in the RBWM area.

·                     Reading – A skeleton service provided by the Central Team together with input from The Prince’s Trust and Ways into Work had operated following the planned close of the Adviza service in October 2018 

·                     Ways into Work - total number of young people assisted over the lifetime of the project to 119 (90 being currently supported).  There was a notable gender bias in those assisted: 69% male and 31% female.

·                     West Berks – There had been an influx of young people during the last few months, with greater success in engaging with the 16-18 year olds than the older age group.  Partners had been advised to cease delivery with the project/funding coming to an end and continued uncertainty over future possibilities.

·                     Wokingham – Targets were likely to be reached in Wokingham and efforts were now centred on looking at what scaled down activity could be continued for the future eg. the Elevate hub would remain in the library for the next year (although occupying a smaller space).

·                     Slough


With regard to performance, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

Informal Discussion

At the conclusion of the formal meeting, Councillor Page left the meeting and an informal 35 minute discussion to review Elevate Berkshire for the formal evaluation took place.


Elevate Evaluation – Informal Discussion


Following conclusion of the formal meeting, Adam Jeffery from Chimera Consultants joined members to initiate some discussion to inform the Evaluation of the Elevate programme.  He invited reflections on:

·                     What elements of the programme worked really well;

·                     What might have been done differently; and

·                     What happens next.


Feedback was offered on the overall programme and some individual aspects of it.  The following particular points were referred to:

·                     The City Deal concept as promoted by the Cabinet Office lacked focus and was difficult to get to grips with; moreover, the complex ESF regime had been hard to work with.

·                     After the initial time spent to get the Programme up and running, a momentum had been generated only to be dissipated now the funding had come to an end.

·                     Given the number of different organisations/players involved and the shifting priorities, there was an overall sense of achievement in the engagement of a significant number of young people Programme and the results obtained.

·                     While there had been value in developing the Elevate brand along with the website and social media presence, some thought the greatest success had been through the on the ground face-to-face contact with young people where a greater impact had been made.

·                     There was a view that programmes such as this were structured around set up and delivery with little attention or emphasis on what happens next.

·                     The Programme had served to underscore the continuing need to support a range of young people with complex and differing needs, to overcome barriers to employment.

·                     It should be possible to use relevant information and results from the Programme to inform the draft Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy, currently at the consultation stage.


It was anticipated that the evaluation report would be completed by around mid June 2019, to be followed by an event to present the findings to which all would be invited.