The Chair welcomed the D2N2 Chief Executive Officer to the meeting.
The Chair advised Committee that the D2N2 Chief Executive Officer would deliver a presentation on progress with the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership betweenDerby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
The presentation updated Members on the following areas:
· Our Place (data on the area in relation to other nearby areas)
· D2N2 Update (investment, funds, timetable and strategy)
· Vision 2030 (“By 2030, D2N2 will have a transformed high-value economy, prosperous, healthy and inclusive, and one of the most productive in Europe. The spark in the UK’s growth engine.”)
· Capital Programme (Local Growth Fund)
· LGF Projects (former Coalite site and Seymour Link Road)
· European Structural & Investment Funds (projects for funding via the European Union that meet the D2N2 strategic objectives)
· D2N2 Growth Hub (Hubs are a portal for business support enquiries and a knowledgeable and impartial source for advice. D2N2 Growth Hub has 14 Business Adviser posts)
· D2N2 Enterprise Adviser Network (programme for schools, co-ordinated by the LEPs)
· North Derbyshire Careers Hub (additional support for the North Derbyshire Area to provide more focused support)
· North Derbyshire Manufacturing Zone (D2N2 co-ordinated a joint partnership bid and secured additional funding)
A Member enquired why Bolsover School was not listed in the Enterprise Adviser Network section. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer explained how every local school was invited to join the network, but not all of them wanted to. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer invited Members to inform her after the meeting of any schools they wanted D2N2 to liaise with.
A Member referenced the mention of how “over 218 Businesses from Bolsover had accessed support [from the Growth Hub]” and enquired how the outcomes of this support were measured. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer replied that it was difficult to measure in general terms because the support was bespoke and depended entirely upon what each business asked for. However, every business was tracked to investigate the value of the support given and this information was held by D2N2. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer advised that she would investigate this information and present it to a future meeting of Committee.
A Member referred to the mentions of the European Union funding the D2N2 ESIF (European Structural & Investment Funds) at£196.5 million for 2014-2020. He asked what Britain’s exit from the European Union would mean for this fund in the long-term, and if the Government would cover it if the fund ended. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer explained how the Government hadnot offered any concrete information on a replacement fund, but if the current Government stayed in power, they’d be likely to continue the fundbecause they’d already committed to it. She added that she would consult with Committee when future funds and investment were considered.
The Member enquired how the value for money of D2N2 was measured. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer replied that the money spent on every project was evaluated in great detail.
The Member referred to the mention of development on the former Coalite site in the presentation and how this would“deliver over 2,000 jobs in its lifetime.” He felt that Bolsover District had a problem with attracting high-skilled job investment, so was concerned that companies would not employ local people. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer explained how the project would raise skills in the local community and the aspirations of younger people, and the businesses listed in the presentation would bring a range of skill sets.
Another Member referred to the quoted 2,000 jobs for the former Coalite site, and asked how many of these would be lower-skilled jobs. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer informed Members that the market would dictate this but added that she didn’t believe the aspiration in Bolsover District would be lower skills.
The Chief Executive Officer provided further details on the former Coalite site project. He explained that £35,000 was received from the Business Rates Fund to carry out an Enable study of the area which studies the impact of where someone lives on their health and physical activity.
A Member referred to the Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) and enquired if it included aspects particular to Bolsover District. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer explained that the LIS was more about broad outcomes rather than specific projects.
The Member referred to the D2N2 Chief Executive Officer calling some areas within D2N2 ‘anchor points’, and enquired if Bolsover District could become one, since it was well connected and the ‘Digital Infrastructure’ part in the presentation couldbring the District’s technology (if it was going to be an anchor point) up to speed. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer agreed to explore this possibility with her colleagues.
The Member enquired if transport in and out of Bolsover District and Clowne Garden Village/Bolsover North could be improved as part of the projects. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer explained that travel was a matter for travel authorities, although D2N2 had invested in travel. The Scrutiny & Elections Officer added that Members should lobby travel authorities for desired improvements.
The Member further enquired if cities benefitted the most from D2N2, rather than places like Bolsover District. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer assured Members that D2N2 looked at measures and data down to local District level, for example, the Hub in North East Derbyshire was put there because D2N2 knew about the employment issues in the area. The Chief Executive Officer added that there were sometimes difficulties in being a District Council within a two tier system, especially when District Councils had little say in highway and travel arrangements. However, the Council was doing a piece of work where it would identify roads that needed improvement in Bolsover District and inform Derbyshire County Council of them.
A Member referred to the schools mentioned in the ‘D2N2 Enterprise Adviser Network’ part of the presentation, and enquired why it was only happening at secondary schools. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer explained that the network was not funded to work with other types of schools.
A Member sought assurances that D2N2 was properly audited and accountable. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer assured Members that D2N2 took transparency and accountability very seriously, and were accountable to Derbyshire County Council and its scrutiny committees. It was noted that there was to be a specific committee solely for the scrutiny of the LEP, which all District and Borough councils would be invited to have a seat on.
A Member enquired what D2N2’s flood prevention provisions were. The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer explained that D2N2 spent money on a number of flood related projects, such as the biggest flood defence project in the UK in Derby.
The Chair thanked the D2N2 Chief Executive Officer for attending the meeting.
Moved by Councillor Jen Wilson and seconded by Councillor Tricia Clough
RESOLVED that (1) the presentation be noted,
(2) Members inform the D2N2 Chief Executive Officer of any schools they wished D2N2 to liaise with,
(3) the D2N2 Chief Executive Officer investigates every business (over 218) that was tracked by D2N2 to measure the value of the support given, and presents the information to a future meeting of Committee.
(Chair/Scrutiny & Elections Officer)
The D2N2 Chief Executive Officer left the meeting.