Swansea Bay City Region Joint Committee

 

Thursday, 24 January 2019

 

PRESENT: Councillor R. Stewart (Chair)

 

Councillors:

E. Dole, R. Jones and D. Simpson

 

Co-optees:

Dr J. Davidson, University of Wales Trinity St David (Reserve Member)

Prof A. Davies, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

B. Rees, Hywel Dda University Health Board

E. Tomp, Chair of the Economic Strategy Board

 

The following Officers were in attendance:

M. James, Chief Executive, Carmarthenshire County Council

S. Phillips, Chief Executive, Neath Port Talbot County Council

I. Westley, Chief Executive, Pembrokeshire County Council

M. Nicholls, Director of Place, Swansea Council

C. Moore, Joint Committee S.151 Officer

L. R. Jones, Joint Committee Monitoring Officer

W. Walters, Director of Regeneration and Policy

G. Morgan, Democratic Services Manager

H. Morgan, Economic Development Manager

R. Phillips, Funding Manager

G. Jones, Communications and Marketing Officer (City Deal)

R. Llewhellin, Performance, Governance and Policy Officer

A. Miller, European Technical Officer

J. Laimann, Democratic Services Officer

 

Democratic Services Committee Room, County Hall, Carmarthen. 2.00 - 3.25 pm

 

<AI1>

1.            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

Apologies for absence were received from Professor Medwin Hughes (University of Wales Trinity St David). Dr Jane Davidson attended the meeting as a substitute.

 

</AI1>

<AI2>

2.            DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL INTEREST

 

There were no declarations of personal interest made at the meeting.

 

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<AI3>

3.            TO SIGN AS A CORRECT RECORD THE MINUTES OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON THE 14TH DECEMBER 2018

 

The Chair advised that an updated version of the minutes had been circulated and that changes from the previous version were highlighted in bold.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the updated minutes of the meeting of the Swansea Bay City Region Joint Committee held on the 14th December 2018 be signed as a correct record.

 

</AI3>

<AI4>

4.            SWANSEA BAY CITY DEAL PROJECTS UPDATE

 

The Joint Committee received an update report on the following local and regional projects funded under the City Deal:

·         Digital Infrastructure;

·         Swansea City & Waterfront Digital District;

·         Skills & Talent;

·         Yr Egin;

·         Llanelli Life Science & Well-Being Village;

·         Llanelli Life Science & Well-Being Campus;

·         Homes as Power Stations;

·         Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Services (CENGS);

·         Astute Factory of the Future;

·         Steel Science;

·         Pembroke Dock Marine.

 

Projects Leads were encouraged to report any challenges to their projects’ progress so that the Joint Committee could assist in resolving these where possible. To support this, it was suggested that an issue log and risk registers for individual projects be introduced as standing agenda items for future Joint Committee meetings. The individual project risk registers could be combined into a Joint Committee risk register.

 

With regard to HAPS, it was suggested that a cap on rent increases introduced by the Welsh Government could affect one of the project’s revenue streams. After being advised that the rent cap may be an interim policy, the Chair suggested that it would be appropriate to seek clarification from the Welsh Ministers.

 

Having been advised that the new Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University would not be in place until July 2019, it was suggested that a letter be sent to the acting Vice-Chancellor seeking reassurance that Swansea University remained committed to the City Deal and each individual City Deal project.

 

With regard to the Pembroke Dock Marine Project, the Project Authority Lead advised that they were awaiting feedback from the Welsh Government on supplementary information to the draft full business case. The Project Lead emphasised that it was critical for the project’s viability to receive reassurance on funding arrangements from the Welsh Government by Mid-March.

 

A number of statements were made expressing concern regarding delays in Government approval for the City Deal projects which in turn delayed project delivery and exposed each partner to an element of financial risk. The Accountable Officer advised that such delays were frustrating, however he had recently raised this matter at a meeting with officials and it was hoped that ongoing delays would be resolved.

 

In response to a question on the Wales Audit Office review of the Llanelli Life Science and Well-Being project, the Committee S.151 Officer advised that the statement in the press was inaccurate and that the reporter had been asked to seek clarification from the WAO but had declined to do so. Documentary evidence to support the Council’s correspondence with the WAO was available. In terms of scrutiny of the project, the Joint Committee Monitoring Officer advised that, under the Joint Committee Agreement, scrutiny of individual projects rested with each individual authority. The Chair advised that the Joint Scrutiny Committee had invited himself and the Lead Chief Executive to provide an update on the review and he had agreed to this request.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED

4.1.    That the projects update report be received;

4.2.    That project issue logs and risk registers be included as standing agenda items for future Joint Committee meetings;

4.3.    That a letter be sent to the Welsh Government asking for clarification regarding the cap on rent increases;

4.4.    That a letter be sent to the acting Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University seeking reassurance that the University remains committed to the City Deal and each individual project;

4.5.    That a letter be sent asking the UK and Welsh Governments to issue a letter of comfort regarding its financial support for Pembroke Dock Marine.

 

</AI4>

<AI5>

5.            TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR JOINT COMMITTEE INTERNAL REVIEW OF THE CITY DEAL

 

The Joint Committee considered a report on the final Terms of Reference and Programme for the internal review into the Swansea Bay City Deal governance arrangements, which was agreed at the previous meeting held on the 14th December 2018 (Minute 11 refers). The review, led by Pembrokeshire County Council, would be supported by a nominated Senior Auditor from Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea Councils.

 

The Joint Committee was advised that the Terms of Reference were structured around seven core principles and that all issues previously raised at the meeting had been incorporated into the review.

 

It was emphasised that it was reassuring that the Terms of Reference for the Internal and the Independent Review were largely compatible and aligned with each other. Members suggested that the Internal Review should aim to conclude around the same time as the Independent Review and that the findings of both reviews could be brought together in a single body of recommendations. The Chair confirmed that Co-opted Members would be included within the review.

 

UNANIMOULSY RESOLVED

5.1.    That the Terms of Reference for the Joint Committee Internal Review into the Swansea Bay City Deal be noted;

5.2.    That all Joint Committee Members be included in the review and Terms of Reference document.

 

</AI5>

<AI6>

6.            UK AND WELSH GOVERNMENT SWANSEA BAY CITY DEAL INDEPENDENT REVIEW - TERMS OF REFERENCE

 

The Joint Committee considered a report on the full Terms of Reference for the Independent Review of the Swansea Bay City Deal as advised by the UK and Welsh Governments. The report noted that the Joint Committee and City Deal Regional Office had been advised on the 6th December 2018 that both Governments had agreed to commission an independent review. Both Governments had announced assessing the progress to date to seek assurance that all elements of the Deal would deliver the full economic benefits promised by the City Deal and that due diligence and governance had been followed in all elements of the Deal and its implementation.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the UK and Welsh Government Terms of Reference for their Independent Review of the Swansea Bay City Deal be received.

 

</AI6>

<AI7>

7.            ECONOMIC STRATEGY BOARD - REPLACEMENT MEMBER

 

The Joint Committee considered the nomination of Lynne Hamilton to replace Mr Hamish Laing as life science / wellbeing representative on the Economic Strategy Board. The Joint Committee was advised that Mr Laing had resigned his position on the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and that the Health Board had nominated Lynne Hamilton as the replacement representative. The Joint Committee was also advised that, under the Joint Committee Agreement, all proposals for the recruitment and nomination of Economic Strategy Board members needed to be approved by the Welsh and UK Governments.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the nomination of Lynne Hamilton as life science / wellbeing representative on the Economic Strategy Board be forwarded to the Welsh and UK Governments for consideration.

 

</AI7>

<AI8>

8.            JOINT COMMITTEE - SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS APRIL  2019 - MARCH 2020

 

The Joint Committee considered a proposed schedule of meetings for the period April 2019 – March 2020.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED to approve the schedule of meetings for the Joint Committee for the period April 2019 – March 2020.

 

</AI8>

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CHAIR                                                                                   DATE