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The Chair reported on the sad passing of Councillor Cole, who had served as a Borough Councillor.
The Board stood for a minute’s silence as a mark of respect.
The Minutes from the meeting held on 25 September 2017, were agreed and signed as a correct record.
The Board was advised that no public questions had been received.
The Board received a report from the Strategic Director, Enterprise, Community and Resources, updating them on recent Inward Investment and Economic activities and events taking place in the Liverpool City Region (LCR).
In line with previous meetings of the Board where Members had received reports outlining the relationship between Halton’s economy and the LCR economy, this report provided further detail on activities that were taking place during the last quarter.
Information was also provided to Members on the following:
· The Manufacturer Live;
· German British Forum Conference;
· What Brexit means for the manufacturing community (an event hosted by The Alstom Technology Centre); and
· Employer Skills Survey and Skills Strategy (The initial findings of these were contained in Appendix 1. The context for the development of a Skills Strategy for the LCR was produced in October and this was contained in Appendix 2).
It was noted that further to the Brexit event held by The Alstom Technology Centre, the Board would receive an update on the potential impacts of Brexit on local businesses at the February meeting.
In response to a Members query it was commented that the Mersey Gateway Bridge tolls had so far not impacted inward investment into Halton as this continued to rise.
RESOLVED: That Members note Halton’s participation in wider Inward Investment and Economic Development activities in the Liverpool City Region.
The Board received a presentation from Mary Murphy, the Principal of Riverside College, on the strategic priorities of the College which were as follows:
1. To achieve high quality outcomes for our students by prioritising teaching and learning;
2. To continue to improve levels of efficiency and remain in outstanding financial health; and
3. To maximise opportunities for growth.
The presentation provided information on the external factors affecting the College (funding, demographics, devolution, maths and English, curriculum reform and apprenticeship reform). It also discussed the priorities of the College.
Further highlights from the presentation are:
· Over 6000 students are being educated this year with 69% of them being school leavers;
· The College employs 384 full and part time staff;
· The College worked with 32 high schools in and out of the Borough;
· The College works with 1200 employers; and
· Out of 207 General Further Education Colleges and the Department for Education League Tables, the College came 3rd;
Mary presented the Board with some outstanding results case studies of students who had moved on to further education following their time at the College.
Members discussed the consensus from employers that school and college leavers lacked general employability skills. In response to queries regarding Maths and English re-sits, the reason why the numbers had drastically increased was due to a condition of funding for 16-19 provision, where a student must achieve a grade C or above to enter a college course. They are able to re-sit up to the age of 19.
The Chair thanked Mary for her attendance and interesting presentation.
RESOLVED: That the Board notes the presentation and action points.
The Board received a report from the Strategic Director Enterprise, Community and Resources, informing of the operational delivery for the Community Development Service for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.
The report advised that community development activity helped support the creation, development and sustainability of independent local community groups. Officers had both a strategic and neighbourhood role in co-ordinating support to respond to community concerns and aspirations and creating cohesive neighbourhoods. The report discussed the work of the Community Development Service which worked alongside community groups to engage and support them to develop their skills and knowledge to promote community action. Examples of projects and groups that the team were working with across the Borough were provided in the report.
Members were also provided with the service’s performance for 2016-17 and it was noted that the total amount of funding received from external and internal sources was £119,549.00.
The report continued to discuss the management of the Area Forum Projects applications and delivery. The tables in paragraphs 7.3 and 7.4 provided information on the category of the projects completed and the funding allocated.
Councillor Wallace thanked the Team for their support in her Ward, Riverside.
RESOLVED: That the report be received.
The Board received the annual report and accompanying presentation for the period 2016-17 on the Council’s Sport and Recreation Service. The report was presented by the Sport and Recreation Manager, Community and Environment and the Leisure Centres Manager, Community and Environment.
Members were advised that the Sport and Recreation Team had worked in partnership with a range of stakeholders and had made considerable progress, impact and achievements across the Borough. The Team was structured to reflect the priorities set out within the Halton Sports Strategy and illustrated how sport had and continued to enrich the lives of people living and working in Halton. It was commented that sports and recreation activities were used as an essential component in supporting and developing the infrastructure of the community and to improve the quality of life for residents both physically and mentally.
It was noted that without the contribution from partners such as Halton Sports Partnership, much of the work discussed in the report would not have been possible.
The Sports and Recreation Team had two distinct areas:
· Management of the Council’s 3 Leisure Centres Kingsway, Brookvale and Runcorn Swimming Pool); and
· The Sports Development Team.
These were discussed in the report and details of the delivery of the Sports Strategy were outlined in Themes as follows:
· Theme 1 – Increase participation and widen access;
· Theme 2 – Club development;
· Theme 3 – Coach education and volunteering;
· Theme 4 – sporting excellence;
· Theme 5 – Finance and funding for sport; and
· Theme 6 – Sports facilities.
Three Appendices were attached to the report providing details of Coach Education and Volunteering (Appendix 1); Sports Coaching Bursaries (Appendix 2); and Sports Development Group Grants and Bursaries 2016-17 (Appendix 3).
The presentation included information on the free activities available in Halton’s Leisure Centres since their return to the Council in April 2016; the £300,000 fitness refurbishment programme; the success of recent promotions and events; swimming activities and classes; the Twin Town Challenge; and participation figures for 2016-17.
Officers responded to Members queries and it was noted that all staff employed in the Leisure Centres were Halton Borough Council staff and zero hour contracts had been abolished. The cost of the gym packages was discussed and following a Member’s query, the Board was advised that all Runcorn Schools swimming lessons for children had moved to Brookvale Recreation Centre.
In response to a request for statistics on the numbers of children participating in swimming lessons, this information would be provided to the Board following the meeting as it was not available at the moment. It was confirmed that the schools funded their own swimming lessons for the children.
RESOLVED: The Board notes the report and welcomes the progress being made in Leisure Centres towards encouraging and supporting residents to be active.
The Board received the performance management reports for Quarter 1 of 2017-18 and were requested to consider and raise any questions or points of clarification in respect of these.
It was noted that the key priorities for development or improvement in 2016-17 were agreed by Members and included in Directorate Plans, for the various function areas reported to the Board as follows:
· Enterprise, Employment and Property Services; and
· Community and Environment.
The report detailed progress against service objectives and milestones, and performance targets and provided information relating to key developments and emerging issues that had arisen during the period.
RESOLVED: That the Quarter one performance management reports be received.