Agenda item - Operational Arrangements for 2018/19

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Agenda item

Operational Arrangements for 2018/19

Report of the Chair, Greater Brighton Officer Programme Board

Decision:

That the Board:

 

1)           Agree and secure the budgetary contributions sought to fund the cost of running the Board and delivering its workplan in 2018/19;

 

2)           Note the current workplan and agree the projects/activities prioritised for funding;

 

3)           Agree that Brighton & Hove City Council shall continue to act as Lead Authority for the Board in 2018/19 and 2019/20;

 

4)           Agree the process by which the Chair of the Board shall be nominated for 2018/19;

 

5)           Note the date by which the Lead Authority must be notified of all named substitutes and instruct any necessary actions within their respective organisations;

 

6)           Note the date by which the lead authority must be notified of all nominations to the Greater Brighton Call-In Panel and instruct any necessary actions within their respective organisations;

 

7)           Note that the Annual Report will be drafted for presentation to the Board at its first meeting in the new municipal year;

 

8)           Requests that Greater Brighton Officers develop a 4-5 year plan that outlines the next steps for the future development of the Board alongside a sustainable model for supporting the Board in the medium term, and;

 

9)           Agrees that as part of the 4-5 year plan outlined in (8) the future business membership of the Board is considered.

Minutes:

34.1      The Board considered a report of the Chair, Greater Brighton Officer Programme Board that that set out its Operational Arrangements for 2018/19.

 

34.2      Nick Juba stated his support of the approach detailed in the 2018/19 Work Plan adding that it was important to have greater understanding of the relationship of educational provision at regional and wider LEP level in the Skills & Employment Plan. Nick Juba added that in relation to adult education, it was critical to ensure greater clarity about the geographical strengths of the region in order to be readied to respond to central government in the event a devolution offer was made.

 

34.3      Councillor Lamb expressed his disappointment in various aspects of the report. Councillor Lamb explained that contributions were proposed to increase yet the Board had recorded underspends in each financial year since its inception and it was proposed to allocate a £30,000 contingency fund. Councillor Lamb stated that the Board had to mindful of the continued pressures on local authority budgets and that the resource was publically funded and that a more logical approach would be to identify the scope of work required and then make a budget allocation accordingly. Councillor Lamb supplemented that the Work Plan had also not adjusted in relation to the change in the geographical area of the Greater Brighton Region.

 

34.4      Nick Hibberd clarified that contribution levels were remaining the same however, £30,000 would be allocated as contingency funds for unexpected spends such as any need to provide matched funding. He added that the underspend related to vacant posts that had now been filled and this would mean not only that an underspend in future financial years was not expected but existing projects could move at a faster pace due to increased staff resource. Nick Hibberd supplemented that an approach to use the underspend to reduce partner contributions had been considered however, that had not been deemed viable as it would in turn reduce the allocations made for each element of the Work Plan that in themselves were at a base level and relied upon working in partnership to achieve a level beyond the allocation.

 

34.5      Councillor Wall stated that he understood the comments made by Councillor Lamb however; the figures in the Work Plan were indicative. Councillor Wall explained that it was clear the Board had achieved success and the issue going forward would be a clearer understanding of the vision of the Board, what it wanted to achieve and a clear plan for how it would achieve its objectives. Councillor Wall stated that to be successful, the Board needed a collective voice and leap of faith and greater clarity on what its ambitions were.

 

34.6      In relation to the contingency funding, Geoff Raw stated that it was required to take advantage of project calls announced by central government that were sometimes made at short-notice and not identified in the Work Plan.

 

34.7      Andrew Swayne noted that central government’s Industrial Strategy was beginning to take shape and suggested that the Board agree its contribution levels before local authority’s set their annual budgets in order to allocate appropriate funding to the Board’s objectives and the opportunities that may be available for year to year.

 

34.8      Councillor Janio stated that whilst he agreed with the comments made by Nick Hibberd, there were several matters the Board could consider going forward such as widening the scope of expertise of its membership to specific opportunities upcoming and to increase its visibility and work in the commercial sector.

 

34.9      Councillor Humphreys stated that he did have sympathy for the points made by Councillor Lamb however; he did not believe the report gave the full picture of the Board’s work that had been a story of success and the return on investment had been to a high level. Councillor Humphreys added that the Board was at a crossroads and its next objectives should be to articulate its vision and formulate a five year plan.

 

34.10   Councillor Lamb stated that budgets and workloads were increasing yet there was no expansion of the geography of projects. Councillor Lamb relayed that he was personally of the opinion that the underspend should have been reflected in a pro-rata reduction in contributions rather than carried forward and he hoped going forward there would be more effective budget monitoring and a greater understanding of the value of investments.

 

34.11   Andrew Swayne commented that the Board had brought benefits to districts and borough’s that might not have otherwise been possible such as the Newhaven Enterprise Zone adding that the meeting’s agenda represented a crossroads for the Board with new members and new members of staff.

 

34.12   Nick Hibberd agreed adding that a number of discussions had been held in relation to the next steps for the Board. In relation to the comments made in relation to monitoring, scrutiny and the budget setting process, these would be considered and reviewed by the Officer Programme Board.

 

34.13   Councillor Lamb clarified that he did see the benefits of the Board however; Board members had a duty to be open, transparent and clear about its use of public money.

 

34.14  RESOLVED- That the Board:

 

1)           Agree and secure the budgetary contributions sought to fund the cost of running the Board and delivering its workplan in 2018/19;

 

2)           Note the current workplan and agree the projects/activities prioritised for funding;

 

3)           Agree that Brighton & Hove City Council shall continue to act as Lead Authority for the Board in 2018/19 and 2019/20;

 

4)           Agree the process by which the Chair of the Board shall be nominated for 2018/19;

 

5)           Note the date by which the Lead Authority must be notified of all named substitutes and instruct any necessary actions within their respective organisations;

 

6)           Note the date by which the lead authority must be notified of all nominations to the Greater Brighton Call-In Panel and instruct any necessary actions within their respective organisations;

 

7)           Note that the Annual Report will be drafted for presentation to the Board at its first meeting in the new municipal year;

 

8)           Requests that Greater Brighton Officers develop a 4-5 year plan that outlines the next steps for the future development of the Board alongside a sustainable model for supporting the Board in the medium term, and;

 

9)           Agrees that as part of the 4-5 year plan outlined in (8) the future business membership of the Board is considered.

Supporting documents:

 


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