Agenda and draft minutes

Economic and Skills Development Partnership - Tuesday, 5 July 2016 8.30 am

Contact: Lizzie Rich  01344 352253

No. Item


Minutes and Action Points from Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 152 KB


The minutes of the meeting on 3 May 2016 were approved as a correct record, subject to the inclusion of Tony Bellis, 3M on the attendee list.


Matters Arising

The role of ESDP member involvement on the Business Liaison Programme was postponed to a future meeting. (Action: Victor Nicholls)


It was reported that the Careers Event would go ahead at Bracknell Leisure Centre on the 13 October 2016. Rachael informed the Partnership that Learning to Work were looking for further sponsorship, but that sufficient sponsorship had been found to let the event continue. Current sponsors included 3M and The Lexicon, and Rachael reported that she was hoping for a further £3,000 in sponsorship. Promotional activities and invitations would go out in the week commencing 11 July 2016.


AnnekenPriesack updated the Partnership on the Business website, and reported that the Council’s Digital Services team had advised that the number of microsites maintained by the council was too great. The Business representation would be merged onto the ongoing new website redevelopment project, but it was acknowledged that this would take some time as part of a larger project.


It was reported that the EDNA report had been received, and would be fed into the Council’s Local Plan. The headline of the report was that a lot more business space was required in the borough.


Sub-group Updates (including new workstreams and Terms of Reference) pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Additional documents:


The Partnership considered the Terms of Reference and Workstream of the Employment and Skills Sub-Group.


It was reported that there were more representatives for the skills sector, and representatives form the Chamber of Commerce on the sub-group. The Partnership commented that the workstream did address work experience and careers advice in schools, but questioned whether more should be done to engage schools and assist them in providing careers provision especially for work related skills both pre- and post-16.


The Partnership also noted the inclusion of a Vice-Chair role in the Employment and Skills Sub-Group, and suggested that this should be the case in all sub-groups of the ESDP.  (Action: Sub-group Chairs)


The inclusion of the Nolan principle was also noted, and it was suggested that these principles should be referenced in all Sub-Group Terms of Reference. (Action: Sub-group Chairs)


The Partnership considered the Terms of Reference for the Business Development Working Group, and approved the name of the group which had been a working title. Barinder Hothi reported that the main initial project for the group was a consultative telephone survey to establish why businesses locate in Bracknell Forest.  An action plan and timescales for the Business Development Group were requested by the partnership. (Action: Ian Robertson)


BID Update


In the absence of key partners, the ESDP recognised that progress had been made towards the establishment of a Business Improvement District. The partnership heard that a meeting had been held with the affected businesses who supported the idea, and a steering group would be established.


The partnership requested a briefing paper for the next ESDP meeting. (Action: Bob Collis/Derrick Nirmalan)


Elevate Update


AnnekenPriesack reported on the changes to the Elevate scheme, and informed the partnership that responsibility for the scheme would be transferred to the Council’s Children, Young People and Learning directorate and managed by the Council’s Virtual School.


Funding for the Elevate programme had been secured from the European Commission, but there was some uncertainty that this funding would be maintained after Brexit. Anneken reassured the partnership that progress would continue until known otherwise.


Enterprise Adviser Programme


David Cook reported on the new requirements on careers advice for schools.


The Careers and Enterprise Company had been formed by the Department for Education, in order to give advice and support to schools’ career advice. The Company had recruited 850 volunteer Enterprise advisers who were senior business people, and 73 Enterprise co-ordinators who were employed by the LEP’s. The Company was investing £9.5m in school career support in the UK, with 75% of the funding going to ‘cold spots’ with high percentages of NEET young people.


The Enterprise co-ordinator employed by the Berkshire LEP, Alison Giles, had made contact with several schools across Bracknell and Wokingham, and David informed the partnership that he would be an Enterprise adviser working with Emmbrook School in Wokingham.


Rachael Burt, Learning to Work, clarified that the Enterprise advisers had a strategic role alongside the Senior Leadership Team of the school rather than advising young people directly. The adviser would give advice about how to liaise with businesses, and would signpost existing services and organisations. There was also a hope that the advisers would encourage good practice to be shared across schools.


The Partnership raised concerns that the schools which were struggling may be the schools would be least likely to recognise that they needed assistance in this way. It was also noted that some schools may not be aware that the programme exists, and so it was requested that a briefing paper be distributed to Bracknell Forest schools with the primary points of contact for the programme. (Action: David Cook/Alison Giles)


LEP Report pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Partnership noted the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Impact Report 2015/16.




The Partnership discussed the recent result of the EU referendum and the implications faced in Bracknell Forest, in order to draft a letter to be sent to the key players in the Brexit discussions.


David Cook reported that he had sought the opinions of the LEP and of the University of Winchester who raised issued of social inclusion, freedom of movement and the difficulty faced in approaching national government while the Brexit discussions took place. The LEP had advised that they would continue to ask for investment in Heathrow, and that there was likely to be a reduction in corporation tax.


Arising from Partnership discussion, the following points were noted:

  • Businesses needed assurance that EU employees working in the UK are secure, as EU nationals working in Bracknell Forest were anxious at the lack of clarity
  • Partners raised concerns  about the decline of the pound, and commented that Mark Carney's work to stabilise was welcome
  • Partners speculated that there was a risk of capital flight, and of currency fluctuation
  • There was a need for government ministers to reassure foreign investors that the UK was still a good place to invest
  • Partners expressed their concerns that the Heathrow expansion and Hinkley Point project had been delayed. It was noted that delaying off infrastructure projects had created fear and anxiety about the uncertain future.
  • It was proposed that a future uplift of National Living Wage should be put on hold
  • From an SME perspective, access to finance was an issue and it was suggested that banks should be prevented from collecting and holding capital
  • Less established businesses would need to learn and get advice on how to deal and comply with trading standards for EU countries
  • Transactions and business deals had been delayed, resulting in a reduction of expected income and redundancies
  • Housing providers were reporting concerns for falling house prices, rising unemployment and a possible recession, along with a lack of community cohesion. They also predicted a lack of mortgage availability.
  • A freedom of movement was particularly important for Bracknell Forest due to the predominance of firms working in the knowledge economy/reliant on innovation  in the borough
  • And the fundamental role of foreign-owned (particular EU/EMEA HQs) in the buoyant local economy.
  • From a business point of view, a 'freedom of movement' meant maintaining the existing immigration policy as businesses recognised that this was working well.
  •  In Bracknell Forest, there were challenges in sourcing care workers and where care workers could not be found, employees had been taking time off work to be carers.


Partners suggested that once complete, the letter should be sent on behalf of the ESDP to the following recipients: (Action: David Cook)

  • Oliver Letwin
  • Each party leadership candidate
  • Bracknell Forest MPs, Philip Lee and Adam Afriyie
  • Leader of Bracknell Forest Council, Paul Bettison
  • The Thames Valley LEP


Dates of Future Meetings


6 September 2016

1 November 2016