Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 6th July 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Civic Suite, North Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EP

Contact: Democratic and Electoral Services 

Items
No. Item

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive from Members, declarations of the existence of any disclosable pecuniary, or non-pecuniary, interests and the nature of those interests in relation to any agenda item. Please see Agenda Notes.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Declaration of Party Whipping

To declare if any issues to be covered in the Agenda are under party whip.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of party whipping.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 378 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on the 15th of June 2020.

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: - that the minutes of the meetings held on the 29th of June  2020 were approved and signed as a correct record by the Chair.

5.

Public Question Time (15 minutes)

To receive any questions from members of the public provided that a question does not relate to:

 

·         Matters which are the subject of current or pending legal proceedings, or

·         Matters relating to employees or former employees of the Council or comments in respect of individual Council Officers

 

If you would like to ask a question at this meeting, please contact

democratic.services@gloucester.gov.uk as soon as possible and by Wednesday 1st  of  July  2020 at the latest.

Minutes:

 5.1      A member of the public asked two questions. The first question was as follows:

According to the report entitled 'The Future Marketing of Gloucester', section 6.5 to strengthen other aspects of the city's marketing collateral, states how little quality marketing collateral has been left behind with the Tourist Information team with very limited material to hand out.  It is proposed to produce a visitor guide for 2021 as a quick fix.  Please can you confirm why the Tourist Information Centre has been left with so little material when there was a requirement for Marketing Gloucester to produce this marketing material and would have presumably had a budget attached funded by Gloucester City Council and please can you confirm what the money was spent on instead?

 5.2    The second question was as follows:

According to the report entitled 'The Future Marketing of Gloucester' section 6.1 to appoint a small but highly focused 'place marketing' team within Gloucester City Council for an initial period of at least two years, states six key tasks for this proposed team.  The report also recommends at section 6.8 the development of a really strong events and festivals programme that reflects and builds the city's new narrative.  This is not listed as a key task in section 6.1, not is there any indication of a budget to support a really strong events and festivals programme.  Please can you therefore confirm who will be responsible for the development of the events and festivals programme and where the funding will come from as Appendix 2, budget for the Destination Marketing function within GCC, paragraph 2 refers to a figure of £215,000 from the Destination Marketing budget being spent on Events and Festivals.  Is this £215,000 a historic figure or is this a figure for any future events and festivals

 

5.3       The Chair advised that the questions were likely to be addressed by the Cabinet Member and Officers during the course of the discussion on agenda item 8.

 

 

6.

Petitions and Deputations (15 minutes)

To receive any petitions and deputations provided that no such petition or deputation is in relation to:

 

·         Matters relating to individual Council Officers, or

·         Matters relating to current or pending legal proceedings

 

 

If you would like to present a petition or deputation, please contact democratic.services@gloucester.gov.uk as soon as possible and by Wednesday 1st of July 2020 at the latest.

Minutes:

There were no petitions or deputations.

7.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme and Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 401 KB

To receive the latest version of the Committee’s work programme and the Council’s Forward Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

7.1       RESOLVED that: -  that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTE the Work Programme and Forward Plan

8.

Report into the Future Marketing of Gloucester pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To receive the report of the Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure which was conducted into the future marketing of Gloucester that the City Council commissioned following the liquidation of Marketing Gloucester Ltd in February 2020. Furthermore, the report also outlines the proposed steps to implement the recommendations of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee made at the meeting held on the 10th of March 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

8.1       The Cabinet Member for Culture & Leisure introduced the report and highlighted key elements. He then welcomed Steve Brown,Destination Management and Marketing Consultant and the author of the report to present his findings. Steve Brown outlined that the report was based on two pieces of evidence; a consultation exercise and an extensive review of place marketing in other cities. From this he had concluded that place marketing was important for a City, and Gloucester perhaps had a weak brand identity despite the City ‘s rich heritage and history. Additionally, a collaborative approach to any future place marketing activity would be important. Steve Brown added that different models worked equally well in different cities, and thus the model adopted was less important than the resources assigned to place marketing. Further, he explained that many place marketing organisations were struggling with budgets, and increasingly reducing public subsidy, and the COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated these issues. Steve Brown pointed to the recommendations of the report and the principles upon which these were based. Finally, he thanked the City Council for the opportunity to carry out the work and welcomed questions from the Committee.

 

8.2      Councillor Wilson sought to clarify that the reference to grants in the previous recommendations of the O&S Committee meant the grants provided by GFirst LEP towards the UKDRIC rather than the loan facility provided to MGL by Gloucester City Council. He then added that the report was a good piece of work and informative. In particular, he pointed to the feedback from the different stakeholders suggesting that the City had a weak brand identity which he stated was disappointing. His view was that collaborative work was crucial in any future work as well as what he described as repairing the damage left behind by MGL. Lastly, he agreed that prioritising an online presence was key, and asked whether the proposed £25,000 for the Digital Upgrade Project would be enough. In response to the issues raised by Councillor Wilson, the Corporate Director acknowledged and accepted Cllr Wilsons clarification in respect of UKDRIC grants funding. Steve Brown advised that the £25,000 budget for the Digital Upgrade project was enough and was based on a quotation provided by a place marketing digital supplier.

 

 

8.3    Responding to Councillor Hyman’s query on pursuing a City of Culture Bid, Councillor Morgan stated that the City of Culture bid remained an aspiration. However, the City Council would need to wait and see what the government was proposing, and whether there would be assistance for councils who expressed an interest in the bid. The current priority was getting the place marketing arrangement in place. Councillor Haigh submitted that the aspiration to pursue the City of Culture bid was not shared by all Members and suggested that it would be antithetical to the principle in the report of doing a few things well.

 

8.3      Councillor Morgan responded to Councillor Haigh‘s question about Steering Board  accountability by indicating that  he would expect the Cabinet Lead to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Gloucester Recovery Plan - Economic Recovery & Growth pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive an update on the Economic Recovery & Growth workstream of the Gloucester Recovery Plan.

 

 

Minutes:

 9.1      The Cabinet Member for Economic Growth & Recovery, Councillor Melvin, introduced the action plan and highlighted key elements. She outlined that the plan was a blueprint for driving the City forward as part of the recovery process. Furthermore, she advised that there would be another Economic Recovery Task Force meeting in the next couple of weeks. The City Growth & Delivery Manager added that the action plan dealt with a third of the four stages of recovery as outlined at the Committee meeting held on the 15th of June 2020. It was a short-term plan and largely dealt with the period between now and businesses reopening. He outlined the underlying principles upon which the action was based namely, 1.) Partnership and Collaboration, 2.) Building on activities which were already underway but also inventing new ideas 3.) Transformation. The City Growth & Delivery Manager then brought Members’ attention to the four areas of activity on page 4 of the action plan and elaborated on each of these. He added that the investment material for the City was key and work had been underway on an inward investment site. It was hoped that there would be a soft launch of this in the coming weeks. Additionally, he stated that the plan was underpinned by data collection and understanding what is happening in the economy. As such, there were plans for a Data Dashboard which would enable ongoing analysis of key opportunities as well as problem areas. This would include areas such as footfall, demographics, business trends, start-up rates and closure rates. Finally, whilst there was a lot of ambition, it would be business-led with the Council assisting businesses to steer them in the right direction.

 

9.2     Councillor Haigh thanked the Councillor Melvin for the comprehensive plan. However, she expressed her concern that there was a contradiction with the reference to a ‘Destination Marketing Organisation’ on page six of plan with the preceding agenda item (Report into the Future Marketing of Gloucester) which recommended an internal place marketing team.  Moreover, she added that whilst there had been a lot of discussion around involving the business community, she also hoped to see residents involved in the economic recovery process.  Further, she asked if it would be possible for the data from the Data Dashboard to be shared with the Committee.

 

9.3       In response, Councillor Melvin advised that the data was not yet ready, but the Overview & Scrutiny Committee was perhaps the best committee for this data to be shared. Similarly, she welcomed the suggestion to involve the public in the economic recovery process. She then outlined some other initiatives which had been taken as part of the economic recovery process. This included a jobs fair which was scheduled for September, a meeting which would be taking place to discuss the National Retraining Scheme, and proposals to repurpose premises and reimagine business models where the current model is not working. Similarly, there was also work being undertaken to create a map which could be shared with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Gloucester Recovery Plan - Housing Recovery pdf icon PDF 444 KB

To receive an update on the Housing Recovery workstream of the Gloucester Recovery Plan.

 

Minutes:

10.1    The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, Councillor Watkins, introduced the plan and outlined key elements. She outlined that this was the first draft of the Housing Recovery Strategy which was being developed in partnership with partner agencies and through cross-party work. For example, a workshop had been held recently which was attended by several Committee Members, and she expressed her thanks to those who were involved with this. She added that the plan was about how the City would recover from the COVID-19 pandemic specifically in relation to housing. Approximately 300 people in the City had been placed in temporary accommodation under the Emergency Protocol. As of the 1st of July, there were approximately 100 people in temporary accommodation, 66 of whom had been placed by the City Council with Gloucester facing a particular demand as the urban core of the county of Gloucestershire. Councillor Watkins explained that the challenge going forward would be supporting these individuals to find suitable accommodation especially given the wide spectrum of accommodation and support needs.

 

10.2    She reiterated that the plan was a first draft and the areas highlighted in green were the aspects over which the Council had more control over. On the other hand, it was more difficult to be more specific in other areas were the Council worked in collaboration with other stakeholders. Councillor Watkins added that a more detailed update would be brought back before the Committee.  Finally, she emphasised that she welcomed the cross-party work and expressed her thanks to the housing team and particularly the hotel section for the work carried out during the peak of the pandemic.

 

10.3    In response to Councillor Haigh‘s concerns about a possible wave of evictions once the current tenant eviction ban was lifted, Councillor Watkins stated that she also shared this concern. However, the housing team was prepared if this happened. She outlined that the biggest issue was likely to be with people falling behind on rent as a result of facing financial difficulties as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that the Council would aim to adopt a preventative approach. Discretionary Housing Payments and other related measures would be used where necessary in order to help people to remain in their tenancies. In terms of housing supply, she advised that this was a challenge even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic had exacerbated this. However, work had started prior to the pandemic to address the issue, for example, with the opening of Potters Place, and she was optimistic that these measures would help move the issue forward. She added that the Cabinet Member for Planning & Housing Strategy continued to work hard to advocate for more permanent solutions such as increased social housing. Overall, housing supply was a national issue and Gloucester City Council would continue to rise to the challenge of tackling this.

 

10.4    Addressing Councillor Hyman with regard to his comment about the need for more facilities such as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Annual Report on the Grant Funding provided to the Voluntary Sector / Voluntary Community Sector response to the current COVID-19 Pandemic pdf icon PDF 169 KB

To receive the reports of the Cabinet Member for Communities & Neighbourhoods. The Annual Report on the Grant Funding Provided to the Voluntary Sector outlines the Council’s financial contributions towards the voluntary and community sector during the year 2019-20 and the VCS response to the current COVID-19 Pandemic presents the findings of an intelligence gathering exercise about the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the VCS in Gloucester, and  sets out proposals of how Gloucester City Council can support Gloucester’s VCS in moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

11.1    The Cabinet Member for Communities & Neighbourhoods, Councillor Watkins, introduced the two reports and highlighted key elements. Firstly, she explained that the Annual Report on the Grant Funding Provided to the Voluntary Sector considered the grant funding of the previous year and outlined the successes and outcomes.  She explained in further detail the activities to which grant funding had been provided which now included COVID-19 funding in response to the ongoing pandemic. Councillor Watkins added that the Committee was being asked to endorse a continued approach for a further year using the budget available and in the format that has been used. She expressed her thanks and gratitude to the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) of whom she was proud for the work carried out during the peak of the pandemic. Lastly, she stated that the City could not have operated without the work of these individuals.

 

11.2    Turning to the VCS Response to the Current COVID-19 Pandemic, she outlined that this report was the cumulation of research carried out by Officers and it was a fantastic piece of work. The research had been carried out through an intelligence gathering exercise looking at the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the VCS in Gloucester. She added that the qualitative feedback was useful and provided information on some of the concerns within the sector, the things which the sector wanted to do more of, and how the Council can further help the sector. From this, a series of recommendations had been made, which included providing funding to more grass-roots organisations to help cover the costs of lost income and any adaptations required to enable the organisations to reopen their activities to the public, support and advice from the business sector to the VCS, and increased publicity initiatives and support for the sector. She added that a Community Recovery Strategy report which would be considered before the Committee and would provide further detail on some the areas covered. Finally, she stated that the research was an extensive piece of work and she welcomed any feedback from Committee Members.

 

 

11.3    Councillor Pullen submitted that the Councillor Community Fund  (Councillor Community Fund) was now more streamlined and it was easier to access the funds which he welcomed. In response to this, Councillor Watkins stated that she was pleased that the process was more streamlined. Addressing Councillor Pullen’s question on whether interventions should be made with regard to how Councillors allocate the CCF, she outlined that it is an issue which had been debated in the past, and ultimately, Councillors had discretion to decide which causes they allocated the funding to. In line with the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach, it was apt that Councillors should work with the community to decide how the money is allocated based on what is important to the community.

 

11.4    Councillor Stephens echoed the thanks and gratitude to the VCS for the work carried out during the pandemic. In response to his question on whether any VCS  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Date of Next Meeting

Monday 7th of September 2020.

Minutes:

Monday 7th of September 2020.