Agenda and minutes

Employment, Learning and Skills, and Community Policy and Performance Board
Monday, 21st March, 2016 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Council Chamber, Runcorn Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Ann Jones on 0151 511 8276 or e-mail 

No. Item




          The Minutes from the meeting held on 6 January 2016 were taken as read and signed as a correct record.




The Board was advised that no public questions had been received.


Newham Council’s Workplace Programme – A Case Study pdf icon PDF 212 KB

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The Board received a report which advised Members of a scheme that Newham Council had implemented to tackle unemployment and skills shortages and to consider whether there were any aspects of the scheme that could be applied to Halton.


The Chair had previously referred to an article in The Guardian Newspaper in January 2016 entitled ‘What’s behind the huge fall in deprivation in east London?  And no, it’s not gentrification’.  It was explained that the article reported that the latest indices of deprivation published in 2015 pointed to a significant improvement in Newham’s deprivation indicators, moving them from the second most deprived local authority in England to twenty fifth.  The report went on to discuss the success of Newham and the possible reasons for this; and whether their approach was one that Halton Council could explore.


In discussion Members noted the following:


·       Youth Employment Gateway;

·       The success rate for job applicants;

·       Average earnings in Halton; and

·       The use of Key Performance Indicators for target setting.


RESOLVED: That Members note the content of the report. 




European Social Fund (ESF) Ways to Work Project pdf icon PDF 213 KB

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The Board received an update on the recently awarded Combined Authority European Social Fund (ESF) Ways to Work contract.


It was reported that following submission of an outline application to the Access to Employment axis of the European Operational Programme, the Combined Authority was invited to submit a full application in October 2015.   Notification of a successful application was received from the Department for Work and Pensions in January 2016.  It was noted that the project value was £42m over 3 years, with Halton’s allocation worth £3.3m.


Members were advised that the Ways to Work project incorporated a 3 way match funding model: ESF, Youth Employment Initiative and Youth Contract Underspend (Youth Employment Gateway).  It was noted that the Ways to Work project would focus on young people and those furthest away from the labour market.   The report provided details of the numbers of expected participants and potential job outcomes for Halton.  Further it provided information on the key elements of the project and how it would be delivered.  Members were referred to Appendix 1 of the report which provided the Logic Model for the Ways to Work project.


In discussion, Members made the following observations:-


·       The opportunities for young people in the labour market;

·       The type of coaching/mentoring offered to young people with multiple issues; and

·       Details on the sources of match funding.


RESOLVED:  That the report be noted and the Policy and Performance Board welcomed the progress made to date and supports the implementation of the Ways to Work project.



People & Economy Quarterly Policy Update pdf icon PDF 406 KB


The Board was presented with a number of policy, legislation, consultation and guidance documents that were issued by Government departments and agencies that had varying degrees of relevance to issues on the employment, learning and skills agenda and related topics.


The report provided a summary of the key announcements along with observations of local relevance. Members requested more information on employer surveys for future reporting and noted that a joint team meeting would consider ways to provide an improved service to schools in respect of the rollout of Job Centre Plus support.


RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.


Business Planning 2016-19 pdf icon PDF 509 KB


The Board received a report from the Strategic Director, People and Economy, which presented the final draft of the Employment, Learning and Skills elements of the Council’s Single Business Plan, for Members approval.


Members were advised that since 2010 each Directorate had been required to produce a medium term Business Plan that covered a three year period. It was confirmed that a Single Business Plan would now be constructed for the authority as a whole and this would focus on the key medium term issues rather than providing extensive narrative of every area of work of the Local Authority.


It was noted that to ensure that the Authority would produce a Business Plan that enabled them to meet the priorities identified within the Corporate Plan, the information from each Directorate would be set out under the Council’s priority headings as set out in the report.


Members were advised that objectives and performance measures identified within the Single Business Plan would continue to form the basis of Directorate and PPB priority based quarterly monitoring reports, along with any key developments or emerging issues identified within the relevant reporting quarter


Members commented as follows:


·       The day to day operations of Halton’s Leisure Centres would return in-house from 1 April 2016;

·       The downward trend in the number of Adult Learning enrolments; and

·       The introduction of a new KPI 3 measuring the use of outdoor space for exercise.


RESOLVED:  That the Board


1)    notes the content of the report; and


2)    approves the Employment, Learning and Skills elements (at Appendix 1) and the Community and Environment Services elements (at Appendix 2) of the Council’s Single Business Plan.

(N.B. Councillor Peter Lloyd Jones declared a Disclosable Other Interest in the following item of business as he was a Board Member of the Murdishaw Community Centre)


Community Centres pdf icon PDF 703 KB


The Board received a report of the Strategic Director, Community and Resources, on the Community Centres annual report for the operating period 2014-15.


By way of background Members were reminded that the Community Centres service consisted of five buildings: Castlefields, Ditton, Grangeway, Murdishaw and Upton.  The Centres delivered programmes of community activity, varying models of community cafes and service outlets, for example, a children’s centre, youth centre and day services.  The Centres provided a community hub, a central point at the heart of communities for residents to enjoy activities and receive services in their neighbourhoods.  It was noted they were based in the most severely deprived wards in the Borough and were well utilised.


Members were advised that the Community Centres were benchmarked through APSE (the Association of Public Service Excellence) against other Civic, Cultural and Community Venues owned and run by other local authorities. With regards to usage, this had increased steadily over the past three years, as discussed in the report, which provided data relating to numbers attending and financial information relating to operating costs.


The report provided profiles for each Community Centre and key performance indicators illustrating their performance over a three year period; and also presented the services offered and future challenges for the Centres. Members considered opportunities for income generation and the possible combination of facilities on offer to maximise attendance at all Centres.


RESOLVED:  That the report and comments made be noted.



Performance Management Reports - quarter 3 of 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 218 KB

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The Board was presented with the performance management reports for quarter 3 of 2015-16 and was asked to consider and raise any questions or points of clarification in respect of these.


It was noted that the key development or improvement in 2014-17 were agreed by Members and included in Directorate Plans, for the various functional areas reporting to the Board as follows:


·       Enterprise, Employment and Property Services; and

·       Community and Environment


The report detailed progress against service objections and milestones, and performance targets and provided information relating to key developments and emerging issues that had arisen during the period.


RESOLVED:  That the Board receives the third quarter performance management reports.




          As this was the final meeting of the Board for the 2015/16 municipal year, the Chair wished to place on record her thanks to all Members and Officers for their attendance and support during the year.