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 Welsh 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.
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.