NORTH WALES ECONOMIC AMBITION BOARD
To consider a report by the Chief Executive on the Board’s Quarter 2 report on its performance, work and progress in delivering its projects during 2021-22 (copy attached).
10:10 – 10:45
The Head of Planning and Public Protection (HoPPP) introduced the North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB) Quarter 2 report (previously circulated) on behalf of the Leader and Chief Executive. He reminded the Committee that the reports for quarters 1 and 3 were circulated to members for information purposes whereas reports for quarters 2 and 4 were presented to Scrutiny Committee for discussion.
The HoPPP explained that NWEAB was a 20-year project and comprised of several programme boards including:
· Low Carbon Energy
· Land and Property
· Agriculture, food and Tourism and
· Innovation in High Value Manufacturing
Denbighshire’s representatives from each Programme Board met on a quarterly basis to share information across the Boards.
The HoPPP highlighted that the report’s appendix was very detailed and that there would be opportunity to discuss further when the Portfolio Office attended for its quarter 4 report. Members of the Committee were assured that if any questions could not be answered in full at the meeting then detailed responses would be circulated later.
Responding to the Committee’s questions the HoPPP advised:
· Information relating to the NWEAB’s procurement process would be sourced and circulated to the Committee.
· There had been a large scale recruitment process undertaken by the NWEAB’s Portfolio Office. Several Programme Manager appointments and a Regional Transport Officer had successfully been made.
· The methodology undertaken for a project business case was a detailed and lengthy process. Although it appeared that no full business cases had completed a number of cases had cleared stages 1 and 2 of development and were progressing well through to outline business case stage – particularly the Regional Food Business Hub based at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s Coleg Glynllifon site.
· The recent addition of the skills gap risk was being addressed by the attendance of a Skills Partnership Officer at each of the Programme Boards to identify needs and risks and to help coordinate actions to address future skills requirements.
· The position regarding the replacement of Bangor University’s Project Managers for the Low Carbon Centre of Excellence and the High Value Manufacturing Programmes would be inquired into and reassurance would be sought that they were committed to delivering projects allocated to them.
· Denbighshire’s Lead Officer would be asked to respond to concerns regarding digital connectivity for:
o Full Fibre at Key Sites and Connected Campuses projects and
o rural area coverage and
Clarification would be sought from the Lead
Officer and Lead Member for Planning, Public Protection and Safer Communities
on the respective responsibilities of the NWEAB and Denbighshire County Council
with regard to future development
· That no additional funding was being provided to the NWEAB, by either the WG or the UK Government, to compensate for project development delays due to the pandemic. However, projects would explore all possible funding opportunities available with a view to maximising their eventual economic impact on the region.
The Chair requested that the briefing previously presented to members on the aims and objectives of the NWEAB be offered again following the May 2022 local authority elections.
Resolved: subject to the above observations and the provision of the additional information requested during the course of the discussion, to
(i) receive the Quarter 2 2021-22 report on the work undertaken and the progress made by the North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB);
(ii) request that a briefing session is arranged for all county councillors post the May 2022 local authority elections on the vision, aims and objectives of the NWEAB; and
(iii) agree that in future Quarter 2 reports are circulated to the Committee for information purposes, similar to Quarter 1 and 3 reports.