Venue: Authority Chamber - No.1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP. View directions
Contact: Charles Yankiah
Webcast: View the webcast
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Carl Cashman, Edna Finneran, Gillian Flatley, Joann Kushner, Jimmy Jackson, Robyn Hattersley, Louise Whitley, Andy Bowden and Dr John Pugh.
The Monitoring Officer of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Jill Coule, addressed the meeting with regard to the quorum for this meeting, which she advised in accordance with the Constitution of the Authority should be at least two thirds of the voting members of the Committee. As a number of members had submitted their apologies and two members had resigned, the meeting would therefore be inquorate.
Arising from her interpretation of S80 of the Local Government Act 1972, the Monitoring Officer apologised for the inconvenience caused but indicated that on balance, the meeting should be adjourned on the basis that the fulfilment of the criteria for a quorum could not be satisfied beyond doubt and that this could potentially mean that any arising proceedings were invalid. She further stated that in light of the items on the agenda, she would recommend that the meeting proceed, subject to approval by members of the Committee, in order that the items are considered and would be retrospectively ratified at the next meeting on 6th November 2019.
Councillor Kevan Wainwright requested that the meeting proceed on the basis that no decisions are adopted and the items being discussed be noted.
The meeting agreed to proceed with the recommendation that no items would be approved and that the items considered would be retrospectively ratified on 6th November 2019.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
To consider the minutes of the last meeting of the Liverpool City Region Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 19th June 2019.
The inquorate meeting noted the minutes of the previous meeting of the LCR Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 19th June 2019 as a correct record.
To consider an update from Metro Mayor S Rotheram on his recent activity.
The Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram provided an update relating to his work
over the period of March – September 2019 and he highlighted the
· Liverpool Brand -
o Attended a meeting at Anfield Football Stadium regarding the Liverpool Brand narrative.
o The private sector paid for extensive work to be done to simplify the Liverpool Brand narrative in a global market and worked with Local Authorities and Universities.
o Currently looking at what the ‘unique selling point’ is for the City Region and the brand.
o It would provide opportunities, due to the magnetic pull of Liverpool which could open doors on a global scale.
· Town Centre Fund -
o £6m to each of the Local Authorities for re-development, £1m each.
o 10 communities would benefit from the fund including Bootle, Country Road, Earlestown, Halton Lea, Huyton, Liscard, New Ferry, Prescot, Southport and St Helens.
· Transforming Cities Fund -
o £172m in sustainable transport projects that are transport based.
o Committed to new stations at Headbolt Lane, Kirkby and St James Station - Baltic Triangle.
o St James Station will be transformational for the area.
o Funding improvements to stations including Birkenhead, Runcorn and Lea Green.
o Funding green transport lanes and routes, green bus routes and walking and cycling routes are included.
o Funding ferries for the Mersey with green technology and future proofing them for hydrogen.
o Successfully bid for £7.5m matched by LCRCA (total £15m) to improve accessibility across the train stations and network through the ‘Access for All’ programme at Birkenhead Park, Huntscross, Broadgreen, Hillside and St Michaels Stations and a brand new lift on the Northern Line at Liverpool Central Station.
· Transport -
o half price travel for apprenticeships on the bus and train network.
o TUC recognised the City Region as a national exemplar relating to public transport.
o Smart Card technology improvements including the relaunch and re-branding of the Walrus Cards.
o Smart technology to be introduced together with the existing contactless across the bus network.
o Northern Rail are now running 1,360 fewer services than before the timetable chaos in 2018.
o Metro Mayor, S Rotheram and the Manchester Metro Mayor have called for Northern Rail to be stripped of franchise and to be taken back into public ownership.
Celebrated the LCR Pride event represented by the City Region and 6 Local Authority areas, which was a celebration of love, diversity and progress.
· Housing First -
o Last update was about 6 months ago
o Housing First Hub includes a number of organisations tackling housing in a different way
o It is a pilot project supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), now called the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
o It is all about tackling housing in a different way, using a high fidelity model.
o 60 homeless people across the City Region given homes and wrap around support to tackle some of their fundamental issues.
o This ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
To consider the report of the Statutory Scrutiny Officer.
The inquorate Committee considered a report presented by the Chief Legal and Monitoring Officer, Jill Coule that related to the Work Programme for 2019/20.
Councillor Paula Murphy enquired about the Spatial Development Strategy and if the Committee would be presented with an update given the tight timescales for the strategy.
Aileen Jones, Head of Research and Intelligence informed the Committee that it was a crucial time for the strategy and work was underway to have the strategy finalised in 2020, so it would be a good time to provide an update to the Committee.
Jill Coule drew the Committee’s attention to the Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities contained as an appendix to the report and highlighted the following: -
· The quorum and the difficulties experienced by the Committee relating to its quorum;
· Section 2 of the guidance that referred to the quorum of the Committee and establishing a strong ‘culture of scrutiny’ and the characteristics;
· Recognising the legal and democratic legitimacy and the clear roles and focus of the Committee;
· Support from officers through the policy and scrutiny team and the impartial officer advice given to the Committee;
· Communicating the role of scrutiny within the Committee, but also the wider authority and public;
· The directly elected Mayor model, and the role of the CA; and
· The Protocol for good executive scrutiny relationships and seeking evidence from a wide range of the private and public sector.
The Chair, Councillor Tom Crone informed the Committee that he had previously raised concern regarding the few items on the agenda for the March 2020 meeting, but was informed by the Scrutiny Team that additional items would include the Overview and Scrutiny Committee end of year report for 2019/20 and the Proposed Work Programme for 2020/21.
The inquorate meeting noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee: -
a) Agree the Committee’s Work Programme for 2019/20 as set out at Appendix One;
b) Agree to receive an update on the Air Quality Action Plan at the next meeting of this Committee; and
c) consider the Statutory Guidance attached at Appendix C and determine whether the current Overview and Scrutiny arrangements be reviewed and report back to a future meeting.
To consider the report of the Director of Policy and Strategic Commissioning.
The inquorate Committee considered a report from Head of Research and Intelligence, Aileen Jones relating to the Local Industrial Strategy.
Councillor Tricia O’Brien referred to recent comments made by local MP Maria Eagle, relating to leaving Europe and the difficulties that could be caused for the city region. She also enquired about the region not having a diverse range of jobs and graduates leaving the region.
Aileen Jones informed the Committee that the Combined Authority was fully aware of the issues relating to Brexit and was taking the appropriate action regarding the likely impact on the local economy. She stated that the Combined Authority had commissioned economic forecasts on the Brexit issues and were looking at the graduate mobility data with Universities to ensure there were highly skilled jobs for the graduates.
Councillor Samantha Marshall enquired about the next phase of the strategy and the key stakeholders involved.
Aileen Jones spoke about the next steps of the strategy and the Combined Authority commissioning stage to identify the focus groups and getting a spread of people through conducting random street interviews to get a representative sample to make sure the discussions were with people with experience of unemployment and representative of age including young people. She also stated that the Combined Authority were also engaging with the LEP and Chamber of Commerce to further engage with businesses and micro businesses and that sessions had been arranged with the Trade Unions and other social economy community businesses.
Councillor Christine Howard stated that using the ‘household into work scheme’ to tackle some of the issues was good, but would feel like ‘pushing water uphill’ in light of the austerity cuts as Liverpool had been treated poorly in comparison to other areas of the country. She enquired if the report would be used back to Government to highlight the challenges the City Region would be faced with in light of Brexit.
Aileen Jones commented that it was a complex challenge and agreed with the comments made referring to the social issues and austerity in the City Region and highlighted other areas to take into account included health, education and housing. She spoke about the information already being communicated to Central Government with evidence to articulate the challenges and that multiple interventions would be required as it was not all within the Combined Authority’s power.
John McGee, Head of Government Relations spoke about the work stream and the issues raised relating to meetings held with Central Government and the powers and funding lines that would be delivered by Government or through the Combined Authority.
Councillor Paula Murphy enquired about the Growth Strategy and its relationship to the Local Industrial Strategy and the work that was being done with local areas and the feedback to date.
Aileen Jones commented that the Growth Strategy published in 2016 together with the Local Industrial Strategy would bring it up to date with a more granular level and bring the evidence base up to date and identify the strengths, ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
To consider the report that sets out the context to Year of the Environment 2019.
The inquorate Committee considered a report from the Head of Government Relation, John McGee and the Mayoral Advisor, Natural Environment, Gideon Ben-Tovim relating to the Year of the Environment 2019.
John McGee informed the Committee that it had been a real pleasure working with Gideon Ben-Tovim and his management team, which had previously been some silo working. It has now provided an opportunity to work together and to realise the opportunities in Air Quality, delivery in the Climate Emergency and Clean Growth as referred to in the Local Industrial Strategy.
Gideon Ben-Tovim provided the Committee with an update relating to the Steering Group and the collaborative work and development of partnerships and relationships. There were about 20 partners working on the year of the Environment including grass roots, statutory groups and other friendly groups.
The Chair, Councillor Tom Crone commented about the reference to working previously in silos but now the enthusiasm and the improved approached to working more collaboratively had been accomplished. He enquired about what was being done and where the plans were to put things into action as he was concerned that the ‘mind-set’ had not changed and the decisions being taken are not reducing the emissions.
John McGee commented that in relation to air quality, the Combined Authority is committed to an Air Quality Action Plan, that is currently being discussed by the Task Force including businesses and the 6 Local Authorities. He also stated that through the Combined Authority Transport Plan will have a preference for cleaner and greener forms of transport e.g. hydrogen buses. There are promising conversations with Local Authorities and how they would be tackling environmental laws coming into place and working together to improve the issues raised.
The Chair, Councillor Tom Crone enquired about plastic packaging and recycling rates.
Carl Beer, Chief Executive of the Recycling Waste Authority and stated that one of the eight themes for the Year of the Environment is reduced waste. The issues raised will be addressed at the Environment Summit in November 2019 as well. There are strategies being developed including a new waste strategy to take into account the climate emergency and net zero carbon by 2040 and by putting it into action and putting forth radical decisions around waste and resourcing.
Councillor Kevan Wainwright enquired about the manufacturers response to these issues as there were a number of plastic and chemical industries in the region.
Carl Beer informed the Committee that the manufacturers response is dependent on behaviours and it is currently being driven by ‘consumer behaviour’. There are some manufacturers who are really switched on and changing their business models, but there is still a lot of work to do, for example, safeguarding the existing jobs.
John McGee stated that the Combined Authority has some ‘investment power’ within the City Region and there are business across the region who are doing things well for lessons to be learned, but also being able to incentivise people to improve business practices ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
To consider a report from the Head of Tidal Project Development which provides an update on the progress to date of the Mersey Tidal Power Project.
The inquorate Committee considered a report from Shaun Benzon, Head of Tidal Project Development relating to the Mersey Tidal Project.
Councillor Kevan Wainwright enquired about the experts on the consortium and the feedback being received to date in terms of the project delivery and success.
Shaun Benzon commented that Tidal ranges is predictable up to 100 years with a very high degree of robustness. The project is looking at the overall cost and a more holistic approach to avoid the problems experienced by other organisations in the past.
Councillor Bill Woolfall commented that there were no long-term benefits relating to the financial aspect and making it viable and expressed concern about the financial cost and the new technology.
Shaun Benzon commented that he understood the concerns but stated that there was a lot of investigation going into the project and looking at the overall lifecycle of the systems and the costs that would have long-term financial benefits.
Councillor Sam Marshall stated that there was a climate crisis and the cost was immaterial and it needed to be done to achieve zero carbon 2040 agenda. She enquired about the Swansea Bay and if they would be a competitor, would it be a risk.
Shaun Benzon stated that it depends on how it is taken forward. They could be a competitor, but the Combined Authority would need to look at the options and what it takes to be zero carbon.
The inquorate meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee: -
a) Commented on the progress made to date as set out in Appendix One; and
b) Determined whether they were satisfied with the progress made to date.
To consider a report which provides the Committee with an opportunity to develop the scope of the LCR Local Enterprise Partnership Task and Finish Group.
The inquorate Committee received a report from Tony Wade and Mark Basnett relating to the Liverpool Enterprise Partnership.
Helen Cameron commented about the micro businesses and the SMEs.
Mark Basnett spoke about the birth rate of businesses being good and that the LEP had been working with the micro and SMEs but also need the larger companies for growth and to retain the graduates and jobs. There is an issues with business survival, so there is a focus on sound resilience for businesses in the future and it is a real important agenda to get the business density up to the regional and national averages.
Christine Howard proposed an amendment to the wording on page 75 of the report in the ‘objectives’ section, 4th bullet point “business” with “Liverpool City Region”
Councillor Samantha Marshall enquired about the voice of the workers and the Trade Unions contributing to the agenda and the LEP paying into the living wage.
Mark Basnett informed the Committee that the LEP was a living wage employer and an active participant and champion of the Fair Employment Charter and engaged constructively in the Employer Steering Group. He stated that there have been discussions with the Trade Unions and would be happy to consider it at the Board.
Councillor Paula Murphy enquired how the LEP was funded and what was the changes to the alignment with the Combined Authority.
Mark Basnett informed the Committee that the LEP was now part of the Combined Authority and provided strategic advice and insight. He also stated that the Growth Company concentrated on the delivery side of things and was directed by a Board with members form the LEP and the Combined Authority. Funding was given from Central Government to all the LEPS across the country, some funding come from Local Authority partners and some from the private sector and education to run career hub activities, with a total budget of about £3m a year.
The inquorate meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee: -
a) Considered and agreed the revised scoping document for the LCR Local Enterprise Task and Finish Group attached at Appendix A; and
b) Appointed the following members to participate in the Task and Finish Group: - Councillors Tom Crone, Paula Murphy, Samantha Marshall, Christine Howard, Helen Cameron, Kevan Wainwright, Adrian Jones, Jean Stapleton and Tricia O’Brien.
The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be held on Wednesday 6th November 2019.