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Investment (open for growth) peer challenge East Sussex councils 10 – 14 March 2014

Investment (open for growth) peer challenge East Sussex councils 10 – 14 March 2014. The team. Nick Hodgson, former Chief Executive, Derbyshire County Council Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset County Council Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council

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Investment (open for growth) peer challenge East Sussex councils 10 – 14 March 2014

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  1. Investment (open for growth) peer challenge East Sussex councils 10 – 14 March 2014

  2. The team • Nick Hodgson, former Chief Executive, Derbyshire County Council • Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset County Council • Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council • Councillor Graham Chapman, Deputy Leader, Nottingham City Council • Daniel Mouawad, Chief Executive, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership • Richard Alderton, Head of Planning and Development, Ashford Borough Council • Fiona McDiarmid, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Strategy, Norfolk County Council • Joe Keech, Chief Planner Devon County Council • Phillipa Silcock and Richard Crawley, Principal Advisers, Planning Advisory Service • Andrew Winfield and Gill Elliott, LGA Peer Challenge Managers

  3. The process • We have spent time at East Sussex councils at the invitation of the councils as ‘critical friends’ • The peer challenge is based on Planning Advisory Service high level challenge themes plus the specific areas we were asked to look at • We familiarised ourselves with the councils’ context through the position statement, the spatial review and on-site interviews and focus groups • We have been made welcome and appreciate people having been open and honest • What you hear is what we have read, been told and seen

  4. Our strategic themes • Ambition and corporate and political leadership • Strategic planning and partnership working • Promotion of economic growth and supporting businesses • The role of planning in economic growth • Housing and infrastructure needs • Educating and training for skills for the current and future economy • Procurement • Outcomes

  5. Ambition and corporate and political leadership - strengths • Strong sense of ambition supported by committed leadership (despite political complexities) and examples of brave decisions • Good understanding of the issues hindering growth across the partners • Ambition and commitment underpinned by good working relationships at both Member and Officer levels and between authorities • ED services are being safeguarded although relatively small given potential of East Sussex to create growth • Team East Sussex (TES) helping and Chief Executives’ Group working well - even more potential • East Sussex (ES) relatively small county which is capable of mobilising quickly behind growth initiatives

  6. Ambition and corporate and political leadership – challenges and opportunities • Appears to be a ‘project to project’ working approach rather than a strategic outlook across ES • A collectively owned ES growth strategy with a limited number of deliverable and time-limited priorities, would help focus activity, pace, and resources – not a long ‘wishes and wants’ list • An expanded TES role, involving key private/public sector players, could be an executive driving force for the growth agenda • Leaders and Chief Executives group could be a forum to coordinate public sector input into the growth strategy

  7. Ambition and corporate and political leadership – challenges and opportunities • Will need to take tough decisions on ES strategic growth priorities and their delivery • Spread ambition, enthusiasm and involvement within public/private/third sectors, harnessing local media behind the initiatives/growth agenda • Need to be more pro-active and less risk-averse in realising growth opportunities, building on the good examples that already exist, sharing expertise and spreading good practice across ES

  8. Strategic planning and partnership - strengths On a strategic level there is sign-up for acting together and sharing benefits of ED initiatives and projects Effective management of the relationship has resulted in ES “punching above its weight” with the LEP in terms of securing resources Senior management increasingly aware of the social value of working in partnership with the voluntary sector Good level of buy-in from councils to joint commissioning for services (e.g. Locate East Sussex and procurement hub) Effective inclusive model for driving programme work where there are common interests - Hastings and Rother Task Force SPACES a comprehensive vehicle for securing wide-ranging economic goals - service efficiency, community support, local spending, customer needs

  9. Strategic planning and partnership- challenges and opportunities Federated structure of the LEP - need to maintain readiness to promote ES strategic delivery projects in the new funding allocations The ES economic strategy should build on the SEP submission – avoid any loss momentum on proactive work while these emerge Benefit in checking if partnerships and strategies are fit for purpose Need to develop new partnership governance to encourage and enable working with social enterprise and community agencies Look for opportunities to drive up performance through sharing resources, skills and best practice across councils and others All councils get behind TES even if it means being bold and accepting some short-term sacrifices in the interests of long-term gain

  10. Promotion of economic growth and supporting businesses - strengths • “Ahead of the pack” and “punching above your weight” in the largest LEP in the country e.g. use of GPF • Excellent delivery vehicle in Sea Change – lengthy pipeline of investment sites and clear leverage model • TES well regarded under federated model • Examples of good joint working across councils e.g. SPACES, Locate East Sussex • Locate East Sussex working up ‘the offer’, though early days e.g. investments not tracked or benchmarked. • Joint ventures across public and private sector – Arndale expansion, Innovation Mall, Jerwood Gallery, North Street Lewes, Elva Centre

  11. Promotion of economic growth and supporting businesses – challenges and opportunities • The strategic relationship between East Sussex and Brighton and Hove and other neighbours is not clear • Difficult to identify an agreed single set of priorities to deliver economic growth across East Sussex • Businesses perceive some local authorities as difficult to access, and responses/support are too variable • No collective understanding of the existing or potential business/niche clusters and how to grow them

  12. Promotion of economic growth and supporting businesses – challenges and opportunities • Strategic economic coherence unclear - lots of great projects/initiatives but do they align with priorities to deliver economic growth? • No consistent ‘narrative’ about East Sussex – undermines selling proposition to businesses • Insufficient growth market focus - concentration on deprivation and public funded regeneration

  13. Planning - strengths • Good progress in developing the Local Plan framework for the ES area • Evidence of working together – and a realisation of the importance of cooperation, for example: • Strategic Planning Members’ Group is major step forward and should provide a sound basis for future policy development • There is an emerging joined up approach to infrastructure planning and effective Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) development • Specific evidence of where the planning system has responded rapidly to secure delivery of a major project e.g. Newhaven Port supporting the Wind Farm

  14. Planning – challenges and opportunities • By its nature plan-making process is slow the submission of the SEP should be a catalyst for developing a more joined-up approach to housing and economic planning • The Duty to Cooperate will become even more important and needs both resourcing and strong political partnership • Growth has sometimes been seen as a problem by some members and officers. Need to develop ownership of a joined up approach to housing and economic development • Plans are often driven by the response to housing need but housing provision needs to be linked more clearly to economic growth objectives

  15. Planning – challenges and opportunities • Development management variable across county – opportunity to set a quality standard for all aspects of performance (e.g. pre-app advice; early member involvement; clarity early on s106; monitor performance on business applications) • Creative approaches needed to protect valuable employment allocations (e.g. site purchase and joint development)

  16. Housing - strengths • ES Housing Group - good practice coordinating housing related support with RSLs and includes ESCC Children’s and Adults’ services • Enhanced delivery through good local work being conducted by councils to address housing priorities e.g. joint funding (Hastings), joint venture (Eastbourne), key site development (Lewes) • Good work being done to address housing market failure – imbalance of private sector housing and the quality of this stock e.g. Seven Streets, St Leonards • Effective working relationships with private sector landlords to improve housing standards and enable homelessness discharge into the private sector • Schemes developed as a key to levering external finance

  17. Housing - challenges and opportunities • A coherent, shared vision and understanding of housing as an economic generator across ES is not yet being articulated • Consider mechanisms to convert land or capital into an income stream and meet social need • Housing can drive Local Plans. The challenge is to get the balance between housing provision and economic growth • Work across boundaries to scale up joint venture and other opportunities to ensure scheme viability • Recognise the market for addressing housing needs for older people to deliver social benefit and priorities and gain a ROI • Consider a shared commercial Valuer to advise councils on development viability. Important for evaluating proposed development

  18. Infrastructure - strengths • Joint IDP approach will provide consistency, link to funding streams and through to delivery • Recognition of the importance of having ‘shovel ready’ schemes in the event of SELEP programme slippage • Some smaller scale schemes are delivering big benefits but this is not common across the county • High speed broadband programme secured • An agreed view on realistic priority transport needs established through the LEP bid • Newhaven Port is an example of strong partnership and political working, similarly the Bexhill link road

  19. Infrastructure – challenges and opportunities • Clear focus on 3 main transport items but is there an alternative strategy if some or all do not go ahead? • Economic growth should be a key priority in deciding on infrastructure investment • Work still needed to stimulate take up of high speed broadband and address ‘not spots’ • Councils need to carefully review how they integrate economic development into their transport, housing, planning functions

  20. Educating and training for skills - strengths • ESCC is drafting a county-wide skills and training strategy which recognises many of the problems. Important to share and consult with partners • Some councils are set to increase their intake of apprentices, matched by an increase also in the private sector • The University of Brighton will be expanding its intake from 800 to 2,000 students and specialising in a number of high tech. disciplines • Sussex Coastal College is aligning a number of courses to local job demand e.g. vacuum technology • There are two employment hubs developing - Own Grown and the Eastbourne Employability Hub • Connexions 360 website is a helpful tool

  21. Educating and training for skills – challenges and opportunities • As in many places, coordination of services is poor. “Lots of avenues, no real coordination between the avenues”; “lots of strategy, so little delivery” • Too many NEETS, both 16-18 and 19-24, are falling through the net • Lack of pre-apprenticeship 'work ready' training both in and out of school • The curricula of schools and some further education organisations still too demand and funding-led • Not enough emphasis on nurturing entrepreneurial skills

  22. Educating and training for skills – challenges and opportunities • Lack of large employers to drive systematic business engagement with the education and skills sector; small organisations need help to make links • Some councils appear not to be making the most of procurement and planning agreements to secure local jobs and training • Mechanisms for capturing local jobs from development opportunities are not systematically in place

  23. Procurement - strengths • Inclusion of procurement as an essential part of the growth strategy commendable. Some excellent procurement initiatives supporting the growth agenda • The Procurement Hub and Procurement Portal provide a good basis for greater public /private/ independent sector partnership working • Good practice: SPACES initiative’s asset management and contract alignment; ‘Build East Sussex’ supply chain management; the TRAC apprenticeship initiative

  24. Procurement – challenges and opportunities • Focus procurement activities where they will have the most chances of success in supporting local businesses rather than just chasing overall targets • Involve more public/private/ independent sector partners in the procurement initiatives. Many expressed a willingness and just a 1% increase in local spend will have a major impact • Do more to harness local spending power by coordinating/amalgamating partner procurement to support local suppliers and get better deals • Standardise procurement requirements through the Procurement Hub – procedures and rules, thresholds, insurance requirements, contract packages and a ‘tell us once’ approach to make it easier for SMEs to do business

  25. Procurement – challenges and opportunities • Better coordinate the provision of procurement training and support for local SMEs to improve accessibility and make the best use of the available resources • Create an East Sussex part of the joint procurement portal to make it more relevant to local purchasers and suppliers • TES partnership to do more to lever apprenticeships from procurement activities. Lead by example setting a realistic but challenging target that all can get behind • Ensure that all public/private/independent sector partners have reviewed their procurement processes and regulations to make it as easy as possible for SMEs to do business • Ensure the procurement plan(s) contributes to and influences local training plans

  26. Outcomes • Attracted greater share of funding via LEP • Bexhill/Hastings link road is delivering strategic sites • Housing delivery and stock improvement • ESCC resources are creating apprenticeships and training • Universities are contributing to the economy and this is to increase • Good work conducted with ES Local Forecasting Model and economic impact models – this will be important in the future to evaluate the benefits of growth investment

  27. Outcomes • Outcomes are notoriously difficult to define and capture. In common with many other areas ED in ES is predominantly initiative and some areas output based • The prioritised ES growth strategy needs to be based on key milestones and measurable outcomes • TES would need to regularly monitor strategy delivery and outcome achievement • An effective performance and evaluation system will need to be further developed

  28. Recommendations for leadership • Use the emerging consensus around the SEP, and a revised ES economic strategy, as a catalyst for driving forward the next round of local plans • Raise the standards and improve the consistency of ‘open for growth’ services • Create a coherent, shared vision and understanding of housing as an economic generator across the whole county linked to the economic growth strategy • Focus on a small number of infrastructure projects which are essential to the delivery of economic growth

  29. Recommendations for TES • Develop TES as the partnership vehicle for the ES growth strategy and delivery in the federated structure of the LEP • at a new level of maturity based on openness and trust between the partners • involve key public/private/third sector players as an executive driving force for the growth agenda • create the ES ‘narrative’ which sets out an agreed vision of the future and mechanisms to deliver • Create a collectively owned ES growth strategy with a limited number of deliverable and time limited priorities to focus activity, progress at pace and prioritise resources

  30. Recommendations on partnership Look for partners. None of you can do it on your own • Governance to enable social enterprise and community agencies to deliver social value and economic growth • Stretch ambition and trust by combining resources to improve business access to services • Map then build support around clusters/niches and groups of interest. Continue to work together where there are good reasons for working in this way • Help each other with the hard choices from the Duty and facing up to priorities • Collective branding for ES will be essential. Signpost. • Work together to establish a more positive proactive approach to the delivery of the planning system in ES

  31. Recommendations on being business focused • Focus procurement activities where they will have the most chances of success in supporting local businesses rather than chasing overall targets • Involve more public/ private/3rd sector partners in the procurement initiatives to harness local buying power, increase local spend and lever more apprenticeships • Tourism and culture need to be recognised as important elements for growth • Be ambitious for and better resource Locate East Sussex

  32. ES is poised to accelerate growth but this needs collective vision driven relentlessly from the top to deliver. More of the same won’t do it.

  33. Next steps Draft report Chance for you to comment on the report Final report agreed Action planning workshop Identification of any further support PAS/LGA available

  34. Thanks for listening. Any questions?

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