Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Guildhall
Contact: Tracy Davies Scrutiny Facilitator
Apologies for Absence
An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Nigel Williams.
To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 6 February 2019.
AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 6 February 2019 be signed as a correct record.
To consider the report of the Head of Finance
The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/21/19s) to assist the Committee in considering and agreeing its work programme.
The Scrutiny Officer introduced the report and referred, in particular, to section 4, which detailed the changes agreed at the last meeting.
During discussion the following proposals were put forward and subsequently supported:
· The scheduled dates for the April and May 2019 meetings of the Committee be utilised for meetings of the Town Centre Markets Task & Finish Group.
· ‘Future of the Dragon Site’ (Topic Selection Form attached at appendix 1 to the report) – This item be accepted onto the work programme and be provisionally scheduled for November 2019.
AGREED: That the Work Programme, attached at Appendix 2 to report HF/21/19s, be agreed subject to the aforementioned amendments.
To consider the report of the Lead Member for Economic Development and Regeneration
The Lead Member for Economy – Economic Development and Regeneration submitted a report (HHE/06/19) allowing Members to consider how the Council provides practical support for new business start-ups and community enterprises.
In introducing his report the Lead Member referred in particular to the Wrexham business support model which focused on relationship building for any business of any size regardless of how they were constituted.
The Lead Member introduced two representatives of Community Enterprises to the meeting- Alison Hill, Capacity Lab, and Gary Brown, Caia Park Partnership/Brymbo Heritage Trust, and invited them to address the Committee and take part in the ensuing debate thereafter.
During the discussion the following points were noted, in particular:
· Wrexham had an active community enterprise sector which was continuing to grow.
· Acknowledgement that the community enterprise sector in Wrexham was willing to work alongside the Local Authority to enable further improvements.
· The need to acknowledge the current times of austerity and the continuing pressure on local authority resources.
· The need to consider a different approach to procurement and commissioning in order to support and nurture local businesses/community enterprises.
· Consideration be given to reserving particular contracts for those projects which would be particularly well delivered by a local business/community enterprise.
· Recognition of the changing economy and the inability to rely on inward investment.
· In acknowledging a lack of expertise around finance and HR issues that some new businesses experience and a decrease in the number of volunteers coming forward, it was suggested that the social enterprise network could facilitate some support in these areas.
· The need to promote cross departmental working across the Local Authority in order to support the development of social enterprise service provision opportunities.
(i) That the Committee ask the Head of Finance and Procurement Lead to explore opportunities to support Social Enterprises with:-
Ø Short term funding/loans to meet their grant award criteria
Ø Improving the procurement opportunities, particularly regarding Regulation 77 of the Procurement Policy
(ii) To recommend that the Business Support Service support the Social Enterprise Network.
(iii) To request the Lead Officer to explore cross Departmental work to develop social enterprise service provision opportunities across the Council.
(iv) That a further progress report be submitted to Committee in 12 months’ time.