Full Cabinet – 24 November 2015

PRESENT:-   Councillor Waltham in the chair.

Councillors Briggs, Hannigan, Poole, Reed, Rose and C Sherwood.

Councillors Allcock, Armiger, Clark, A Davison, J Davison, Ellerby, England, Evison, L Foster, T Foster, Godfrey, Gosling, Longcake, Ogg, O’Sullivan, Perry, Rowson, Wells and Wilson also attended the meeting.

Simon Driver, Heather Barratt, Will Bell, Nolan Bennett, Frances Cunning, Mick Gibbs, Sarah Howe, Denise Hyde, Chris Matthews, Becky McIntyre, Tina Page, Karen Pavey, Helen Reek, Marcus Walker, Mike Wedgewood, Jason Whaler, Peter Williams and Mel Holmes also attended the meeting.

Edwina Harrison, the Chair of the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board also attended the meeting.

The meeting was held at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.

1167   DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS AND PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – There were no declarations of interest from members of the cabinet.

1168   MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 29 September  2015, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.

1169   (19)    OUTSTANDING ACTION FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which contained a schedule of outstanding issues on which cabinet had requested reports to future meetings.

Resolved – That the report be noted.

1170   (20)    PROCUREMENT OF SUSTAINABLE STEEL – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which detailed a proposal and action plan to deliver the pledges set out in the Charter for Sustainable British Steel.

The council is a signatory to the Charter for Sustainable British Steel.  The Charter is a UK Steel initiative which seeks to promote the use of quality british steel in construction projects.  The manufacture of british steel products makes a significant contribution to the national and local economy and it was reported that the sector’s overall contribution to the UK economy as a whole was worth around £9.5bn a year.

Signatories to the Charter pledge to purchase quality carbon steel reinforcement for concrete only from vendors that adhere to the framework standards for responsible sourcing (BES 6001), as recognised by BRE as an associated independent third party certification scheme.  British steel is a quality product manufactured with high production values.  BES 6001 certification means the steel has been manufactured in a sustainable and responsibly sourced manner and can be traced back to its raw materials.  Using steel manufactured to BES 6001 standards, supports public and private bodies in achieving value for money and their sustainability targets.

Strict EU Regulations, designed to support the operation of a common European market, generally prohibit public bodies from specifying products by reference to a specific make or source, or a particular process which characterises the products or services provided by a specific economic operator, or to trademarks, patents, types or a specific origin or production with the effect of favouring or eliminating certain undertakings or certain products.

However, certain limited flexibilities were provided including appropriate use of environmental and social labels in specifications attesting conformance to sustainability standards.  Provision was also made in the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 for public contracting authorities to pursue environmental, social and economic objectives through their procurement activities where relevant to the subject matter of the contract.  The Crown Commercial Service had recently issued procurement policy advice (PPN16/15 – Procuring Steel in Major Projects) designed to implement measures that helped to address barriers to UK suppliers of steel competing effectively for public sector contracts.  The focus for this advice included assessment of social and environmental impacts, whole life considerations and value for money.

An initial action plan had been developed to help support the wellbeing objectives of the area, consistent with EU procurement law, through the delivery of the pledges in the Charter for Sustainable British Steel.  Key actions were summarised in paragraph 2.8 of the report and it was suggested that this action plan, which would help to support the local economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the area, should be approved by cabinet for implementation.

The report contained further detailed information about this matter.

Resolved – (a) That the initial high level action plan as set out in paragraph 2.8 of the report as option 1 be approved and adopted, and (b) that detailed progress update reports be submitted to cabinet in January 2016 and at future meetings.

1171   (21)    LOCAL SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN’S BOARD (LSCB) – ANNUAL REVIEW REPORT 2014/2015– The Director of People submitted a report in connection with the LSCB Annual Report for 2014/2015.  The report stated that the LSCB Chair must publish an annual report on the effectiveness of child safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the local area.

The statutory guidance set out in “Working Together to Safeguard Children.” stated that the annual review report should be a rigorous and transparent assessment of the performance and effectiveness of local safeguarding arrangements.  It was a requirement of the report that it was submitted to the Chief Executive, the Leader of the Council, the Local Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board.

Edwina Harrison, the Independent Chair of the Board attended the meeting and introduced the report.  A full copy of the report was circulated for information and was available electronically.

Edwina indicated that the covering report was an accurate summary of the work of the board and gave assurances about that work.  She also indicated that because the annual review report was for 2014/2015, much further work had been done in the current year with some additional developments.

The annual report outlined the progress made in respect of the LSCBs statutory functions including the board’s duties in respect of –

  • Developing  policies and procedures to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children.
  • Training of persons working with children.
  • Communication and awareness raising about safeguarding children.
  • Undertaking reviews into child deaths.
  • Undertaking serious case reviews.

The annual report also included progress against the LSCB priority areas which were –

  • Reduce the harm from exploitation of children and young people.
  • Reduce the harm from neglect.

The report then set out the key headline achievements for 2014/2015 which were –

  • The LSCB is an effective board with consistent leadership, membership and management.
  • The LSCBs independent chair had developed effective relationships with key partners to support strategic co-operation regarding children’s safeguarding matters across the Humberside Sub Region.
  • The LSCB was well co-ordinated in 2014/2015, and the reach of the board was wide with good engagement of schools and the voluntary and community sector.
  • There were effective challenge arrangements in place which included themed audience as well as a traditional audit of the effectiveness of partner agencies against their statutory duties to work together to safeguard children.
  • The board had been assured of the focus and commitment across partner agencies to improve the identification of  child sexual exploitation (CSE) and to provide support for those at risk of and who were being exploited.
  • In 2014/2015 the LSCB delivered 44 different training courses to 3970 children workforce professionals from a range of partner agencies.  All courses were rated as good or better by delegates.
  • Local arrangements remained in place to keep children’s safeguarding procedures up to date as well as further developing practice guidance and protocols on specific areas of practice.
  • The LSCB had comprehensive arrangements in place for consultation and collaboration with children and young people, in order to ensure that the voices of children were at the centre of LSCB work and that their ideas and views shaped service delivery.

Finally, the LSCB had made good progress against the two LSCB priorities for 2014/2015 namely –

  • Reduce the harm from child sexual exploitation – the LSCB CSE Strategic Group oversaw the successful implementation of the CSE action plan and response to scrutiny panel recommendations.  A Multi-Agency Child Exploitation (MACE) Risk Management Process had been established in North Lincolnshire to add value to the child protection process.
  • Reduce the harm from neglect – The LSCB had commissioned research by the University of Huddersfield to underpin the North Lincolnshire Neglect Action Plan, and in parallel had provided training to almost 2000 children’s professionals in recognising the signs of neglect.  North Lincolnshire LSCB had also participated in the NSPCC “Coping with Crying” parental education programme that targeted all new or expectant parents.

Further details of the work of the board were included in the report and the LSCB through its board members would continue to support innovative work with children and their families across all services.

Members commented on the contents of the report and the annual report and thanked everyone involved for their work.

Resolved – (a) That the LSCB Annual Review Report for 2014/2015 be received and used in the future planning and commissioning of services for safeguarding children, and (b) that Edwina Harrison and all staff involved be thanked for their work.

1172   (22)    FOSTERING SERVICE – PROGRESS REPORT – A report was submitted by the Director of People updating cabinet in relation to the North Lincolnshire Fostering Service.

The Fostering Service regularly reviewed business and reported to the “Executive” side of the council.  This included work undertaken under the auspices of the collective role as a corporate parent.  There had been ongoing recruitment activity during this year with the service achieving the ambitious targets set for new carers approved.  All those carers had been assessed and approved within regulation and timescales with the majority being under six months.  The service had 119 approved foster carers; the highest number of approved carers than in previous years.

The report detailed some of the other issues and developments in relation to foster caring in North Lincolnshire including links being established with local businesses and employers through the North Lincolnshire Business Partnership Network and promoting the Foster Carer Friendly Employer Scheme across North Lincolnshire.

Resolved – That the update on the progress of the Fostering Service be noted.

1173   (23)    SERVICES TO ADULTS LOCAL ACCOUNT 2014/2015 – The Director of People submitted a report informing cabinet that the “Local Account” provided a summary of how the council delivered care and support to vulnerable adults.  The council produced a local account every year which informed local citizens how services to adults had been performing over the year, how well services were meeting outcomes, key developments within services and outlined what was planned in the future.  These accounts were important because they strengthened accountability to the community that they served. The account set out facts and figures about performance and expenditure to describe how the outcomes were being met in relation to vulnerable adults.

Local Accounts were also useful for identifying and planning improvements, sharing information and performance with people who used services and getting feedback on their experiences.  They were also used to publish key developments and provide the public with useful information on newer services available to them.

The account for 2014/2015 explained what was achieved against the priorities set and what was planned in the forthcoming year.  Last year’s priorities were –

  • To increase the number of vulnerable people helped to live and receive care in the community.
  • Increase the range of housing options for all vulnerable people.
  • To increase the number of vulnerable people with employment.
  • To increase the number of vulnerable people who had real choice over the care and support they received.

The key messages from this year’s local count were that North Lincolnshire continued to be a high performing authority and had further developed or enhanced a range of care and support services to meet local needs closer to home.  The key messages were detailed in paragraph 2.4 of the report.  The local account also highlighted areas of focus over the coming 12 months and these were detailed in paragraph 2.5.

Attached as an appendix to the report was the full document “Services to Adults Local Account 2014/2015.”

Resolved – That cabinet welcomes the publication of the Services to Adults Local Account 2014/2015.

1174   (24)    MAKE YOUR MARK 2015 – The Director of People submitted a report updating cabinet on the outcomes of Make Your Mark, the British Youth Council Annual Youth Ballot.

Make Your Mark is the British Youth Council’s annual youth ballot where young people across the country have their say on issues that matter to them.  Young people were encouraged to vote after which the results were collated and the top five issues  debated in the House of Commons by members of the UK Youth Parliament.  The outcomes helped to shape the British Youth Council’s national campaign as well as influencing local action and priority setting.  In 2014, 875,000 young people nationwide cast their vote in Make Your Mark.  Locally, 3,340 young people voted which constituted 21.17% of the eligible voting turnout.  This exceeded North Lincolnshire’s target of 17% or 2784 votes, which was set by the British Youth Council and constituted a year on year improvement in the number of ballots submitted.

The outcomes of Make Your Mark were used to directly shape local action and priority setting.  Young people’s views arising from Make Your Mark significantly influenced the Children and Young People’s plan refresh for 2015/2016 and the underpinning priority actions.

In 2015, the national target was set at one million votes.  The British Youth Council set each area a target of 21% of the eligible voting turnout, which locally translated as 2808 votes.  As a result of the success in North Lincolnshire in 2014, a stretched target of 3,500 votes had now been determined for the council.

The report set out further information about this matter including details of the national and local top five issues arising from Make Your Mark 2015 which were detailed in paragraph 4.1 of the report.

Resolved – That cabinet welcomes and notes the successes and outcomes of Make Your Mark.

1175   (25)    IMPROVEMENT IN EDUCATION OUTCOMES TO SUMMER 2015 – A report was submitted by the Director of People which highlighted the strengths in improving the quality of education outcomes over time and up to the 2015 examination results.

Local authorities retained a legal responsibility for educational performance in the area as a whole under the 1996 Education Act.  North Lincolnshire Council’s ambition for further improving school age education was set out in the North Lincolnshire Education Strategy for Schools entitled “All Our Children.”  Approved in October 2013, following extensive consultation, this document set two over-arching improvement targets for North Lincolnshire based on the historical education performance of the area namely –

  • Exceed national average outcomes by all measures within two years.
  • Achieve top quartile performance within four years.

North Lincolnshire Council provided leadership, resources and expertise for increasing the pace of improvement in outcomes for its school age children and young people.  In the February 2014 budget setting process, the council had allocated an additional £150,000 a year investment in schools to promote improvement in governance, outcomes for children with special educational needs and disabilities, literacy, numeracy, early years and the development of strong leadership through peer challenge and an outstanding schools project.  In keeping with the ethos of “all our children” this resource had been targeted across all schools regardless of designation.

In addition, as a local authority, North Lincolnshire had led the way in re-inventing local accountability for ensuring that all children achieved their potential through high quality education.  The Education Standards Board had proved a powerful partnership approach to raising expectations and driving up the standard of education provision experienced by children and young people in North Lincolnshire.  Consequently, there had been strong and sustained rates of improvement over time.

The report then considered different elements of education provision including early years, primary age education, secondary age education, and post 16 outcomes.  In all areas significant improvement had been made. In particular within the primary age education range Key Stage 2 outcomes at age 11 had improved substantially and North Lincolnshire was now in the top quartile for improvement by each of the key measures as set out in paragraph 2.5.  In relation to secondary age education the 2015 outcomes again meant that North Lincolnshire was in the top quartile for three year improvements in 5 A* – C including GCSE English and Mathematics.  Although all the data as set out in the report remained at this stage provisional and unvalidated, it was not anticipated that validation would alter the quartile ranking of North Lincolnshire against other local authority areas.

Attached as an appendix to the report was a letter from the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) congratulating North Lincolnshire regarding the figures for pupils in North Lincolnshire at Key Stage 4.

Resolved – That cabinet recognises the improvements in education outcomes that had culminated in the 2015 results as detailed in the report.

1176   (26)    CHILDHOOD OBESITY – GET GOING PROGRAMME– A joint report was submitted by the Director of Places and the Director of Public Health informing cabinet of the latest achievements and continued progress of the “Get Going Programme” (North Lincolnshire’s Childhood Weight Management Programme)

Childhood obesity was a significant public health challenge and in North Lincolnshire 24.1% of children aged 4 – 5 years and 35% of children aged 10 – 11 years were either overweight or obese, which was higher than both the regional and national averages.

In recognition of the need to both effectively prevent and manage childhood obesity, the Health Improvement Team commissioned the North Lincolnshire Schools Sport Network in 2013 to deliver a local childhood weight management programme until 2017.  The “Get Going Programme” had therefore developed with the aim to support children aged 4 – 16 years to achieve and maintain a healthier weight.  The programme was being delivered by a team of physical activity and health coaches who worked with children, young people and their families for ten weeks on a one to one basis in family settings.  In addition, the coaches delivered a wide range of obesity prevention activities focussed on physical activity and nutrition across all North Lincolnshire schools.

The report provided a summary of key achievements from the programme between April 2014 and March 2015 as detailed in paragraphs 2.5 and 2.6 of the report.  In addition, on 11 November of this year, the Get Going Awards Event took place at the Baths Hall, Scunthorpe with over 100 families and a range of professional partners attending including school nurses, public health, dieticians and early help practitioners.

Resolved – That cabinet note and accept the report and recognise the achievements and continued progress of the Get Going Programme.

1177   (27)    ACTION STATION UPDATE – The Director of Places presented a report updating cabinet on the activities of the Action Station since its official opening on 2 October 2015.

Through the Community Investment Partnership, the council and its partners were making significant progress in tackling the number of people that were economically inactive in North Lincolnshire.  The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance had fallen by a further 4% from August to September 2015 which represented a 25.5% reduction in claimants over the last twelve months.

Some key challenges and barriers to employment remained for some sectors of the population.  Particular areas of concern included growing numbers of the population claiming Employment Support Allowance, young people who were not in education, employment or training, people struggling to find sustainable housing and low skills levels particularly in maths, english and computer literacy.  In addition to those struggling to access the labour market, there had traditionally been a gap in provision for those looking for advice and guidance about how to improve their employability and take the next step up the career ladder.

The Action Station had been launched on 2 October 2015 as the “one stop shop for employment, skills and training.”  With its permanent location in Scunthorpe Town Centre, the Action Station was open to anyone, from those simply looking for advice and guidance right through to those who needed more intensive support to overcome multiple barriers to work or training.

In the first month of operation, 104 people accessed the Action Station with a mix of ages, with the largest proportion of customers being aged 19 to 24, closely followed by those aged 25 – 40.  Of those initial customers the largest proportion were seeking careers advice, followed by job search assistance and then short courses and CV advice.  46 of these had been signposted for further assistance through partner organisations for such things as interviews for employability courses, job club signposting, CV information and guidance.  The report then looked at other issues in relation to the matter including partnership working and the use of partners already involved with Action Station including the Tata Steel Task Force. The report indicated that since the Action Station had commenced Tata Steel had announced its intention to reduce its local workforce by around 900 employees.  The Action Station as a frontline service,  was working with the Tata Steel Task Force.  It was suggested that the Action Station could be utilised by those made redundant from Tata or the associated supply chain to access advice, guidance and practical support with employability skills and training needs.  The opening hours of the Action Station would be regularly reviewed in order to deliver a service that met the needs of customers.

In terms of next steps for the Action Station, paragraph 2.7 of the report detailed some key areas for potential future development.

The report contained further information about the work of the Action Station and attached as an appendix were details of performance information including the age of customers, the postcode of customers, the nature of enquiries and the signpost/referrals.

Resolved – (a) That cabinet notes the success of the Action Station since its opening on 2 October 2015 and the contribution it was making in supporting local workers facing redundancy, as a result of the recent announcement by Tata Steel, back into work with training and/or employment opportunities including apprenticeships; (b) that cabinet endorses the four areas for further development of the Action Station as follows –

  • Marketing including social media.
  • Continuing to develop a partner presence within the Action Station.
  • Develop further the working relationship with Job Centre Plus.
  • Working with ESA Claimants in partnership with Job Centre Plus to bring this client group through the Action Station as a starting point on their journey back to work.

and (c) that quarterly updates be submitted to cabinet detailing the continuous progress of the work of the Action Station.

1178   (28)    FESTIVAL OF SKILLS AND OPPORTUNITIES 2015-  The Director of Places presented a report which indicated that for some years the council had run a very successful careers event at this time of year.  In addition, both John Leggott and North Lindsey Colleges held their annual open events and the inaugural Discover Engineering Event had been successfully held in 2014.

In 2015 it had been decided to enhance existing activity, supported by the delivery of events workshops that broadened the employment and skills offered to the wider population of the area.  The concept of the “Festival of Skills and Opportunities” had been established.  The vision and objectives for the Festival of Skills and Opportunities was –

“Festival of Skills is the collective voice through the Community Investment Partnership for Skills Excellence and Development in Growth Sectors Careers and Career Choices for all in North Lincolnshire.”

A strong identity for the Festival of Skills and Opportunities had therefore been developed and a detailed marketing and communications plan including production of hard copy and electronic event information, use of social media, marketing through schools and provider networks, information sessions in a town centre and regular local press coverage.  Events had been planned to cater for the wide cross section of needs within North Lincolnshire and 14 events in total had been delivered in just over four weeks.  Some events had been delivered directly by the council, some by partners and some jointly.  At each event feedback was gathered from attendees, exhibitors and staff.  The events which had taken place were detailed in paragraph 2.6 of the report with a detailed review of each attached at appendix 1.

Over 3,000 people attended the events during the Festival of Skills and Opportunities including people from all walks of life ranging from eight year olds with their families, soon to be school leavers looking for an apprenticeship, right through to people with disabilities who had been out of work for most of their adult lives.  Participants described the event as “Inspiring”, “Exciting” and “Aspirational”.  It had been commonly noted that the information and advice received was very useful and that the events met expectations.

A review of the programme had identified a number of positive areas which were detailed in paragraphs 2.10 and 2.11 of the report.  Based upon lessons learnt and emerging priorities, a number of suggested possible themes for further consideration and development for 2016 had been identified which were detailed in paragraph 4.6 and appendix 2 to the report.

Resolved – (a) That cabinet notes the success of the Festival of Skills and Opportunities in 2015, and (b) that cabinet approves plans to deliver the Festival of Skills and Opportunities in October 2016, building on lessons learnt and to plan events to deliver for new and emerging needs.

1179   (29)    SCUNTHORPE TOWN CENTRE REGENERATION – A report was submitted by the Director of Places updating cabinet on the progress of the regeneration of Scunthorpe Town Centre.

Scunthorpe is the urban heart of North Lincolnshire and the sub regional economic centre.  As well as the main centre of population in North Lincolnshire at the core of the local housing market, it provided a key role as an employment centre as well as offering leisure, retail and recreation opportunities.  The economy and the population of North Lincolnshire was projected to grow over the next 10 – 15 years mainly arising as a result of natural population growth and the delivery of the Marine Energy Park and associated business development through the South Humber Gateway.  This year, the council had granted planning permission for the Able UK Logistics Park and the Able Marine Energy Park which together aimed to generate over 12,000 jobs.

The North Lincolnshire Core Strategy supported the renaissance of Scunthorpe Town Centre and the developments proposed within it closely aligned to and supported the priorities for Scunthorpe’s growth.  Moreover, the Housing and Employment Development Plan document supported the development of the 300 homes in the town centre.

The vision for Scunthorpe Town Centre is “A place to live, work and play.”  To secure maximum benefit and growth from the potential afforded to Scunthorpe there were three objectives –

  • Enabling employment sites.
  • Growing the town centre.
  • Enabling housing growth.

The report considered each of these objectives in some detail in paragraphs 2.5, 2.6 and 2.7.

Desired outcomes from the ambitious plans for the regeneration of Scunthorpe Town Centre included –

  • 1200 new jobs created.
  • 600 new homes built.
  • 74,000 feet of commercial space developed.
  • £4m of external funding spent.
  • Further local growth fund and other external (ERDF, ESF etc) sources leveraged.
  • Significant public sector revenue efficiencies arising from consolidation of public sector offices in the town centre.

Resolved – That cabinet notes the progress in regenerating Scunthorpe Town Centre and supports the vision and objectives set out in the report.

1180   (30)    LINCOLNSHIRE LAKES UPDATE – A report was submitted by the Director of Places updating cabinet on the progress of the Lincolnshire Lakes Project.

In June 2011, the North Lincolnshire Core Strategy had been adopted.  It set out the long term vision for the area and provided a blueprint for managing growth and development up to 2026.  It was the most important element of the North Lincolnshire Development Framework and the Lincolnshire Lakes project lies at the heart of this blueprint.  Sitting alongside major projects to create jobs at the South Humber Gateway, it would assist in transforming the area as a place to live, work and visit.  It was based on a robust evidence base and was the subject of extensive public consultation.   An independent public examination had found the document “sound.”

The strategy stated that the Lincolnshire Lakes would be delivered via an Area Action Plan (AAP).  That plan had been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate and was subject to examination in public in October 2015.  The Planning Inspector had identified minor modifications on which the council shortly intended to commence six weeks consultation.  The Lakes also formed an integral part of the council’s Local Transport Plan and Housing Strategy.

The council, in conjunction with partners, had progressed a number of workstreams to support the delivery of the project namely –

  • Flood mitigation.
  • Blue and green infrastructure.
  • Design guide supplementary planning document.
  • Infrastructure.

As well as these workstreams, work also continued to bring the Maltgrade application before the Planning Committee in early 2016.  This application would provide a further 2,500 houses in addition to the 3,000 already granted outline permission through the Lucent applications relating to the Lincolnshire Lakes.

One of the key strategic objectives of the Lincolnshire Lakes project was to bring forward a flood management solution to ensure a safe development, free from flooding.  It was also essential that this solution strengthened the existing flood defences and improved the situation for the villages of Burringham and Gunness.  This would primarily be achieved via the continuous piling of 3.8 kms of the River Trent bank.  The council had successfully secured £13.2m of external funding through the Local Growth Fund (Humber) to support this work.

The report contained further detailed information about the Lincolnshire Lakes which was a key project in delivering the transformation of the area towards shaping North Lincolnshire into a prosperous place to live, work, invest and play.

Resolved – (a) That cabinet notes the current position reached in delivering the Lincolnshire Lakes Project and welcomes the progress made to date, and (b) that cabinet also receives further updates on the Lincolnshire Lakes project at key stages of its progress.

1181   (31)    ABLE MARINE ENERGY PARK (AMEP) UPDATE – The Director of Places presented a report updating cabinet on the progress of the Able Marine Energy development. This aimed to create the largest offshore wind park in Europe.  The development would provide 1,300 metres of heavy duty deep water quays and it provided the best opportunity for the UK to create a significant offshore wind cluster.  It also had the potential to deliver a brand new offshore wind sector into the Humber.

The Crown Estate had launched a £100bn programme to deliver 20% of UK energy via offshore wind in 2009.  The Able Marine Energy Park was essential if the UK was to create a new offshore wind sector and a meaningful number of new jobs.  The size and scale of the project was unique and it was crucial in order to provide the economies of scale necessary to drive down the cost of onshore wind energy production.

AMEP is a £450m development on a 366.7 hectare site (900 acres) and the project would create up to 4,100 jobs.  It was estimated that the development could deliver £264.5m gross value added to the local economy annually and would create around £378m total net additional gross value added to the Yorkshire and Humber and up to £693m nationally.

The Secretary of State for Transport had granted AMEP a Development Consent Order (DCO) in December 2013, but since then there had been some significant delays affecting the progress of the project mainly as a consequence of a number of unsuccessful judicial challenges to the DCO that also included a special parliamentary procedure and judicial review.  However work had continued to develop the project throughout this time.  The AMEP had been designated the largest Enterprise Zone in the country in 2013 and awarded the largest EZ Capital Grant Award of all the Enterprise Zones in January 2014.  This grant supported the delivery of enabling and preliminary infrastructure works which were now fully completed.  Able UK intended starting the development of the quays in 2016 and the site would be built out in 2018.

In August 2015 DONG Energy had signed a public Memorandum of Understanding with Able UK with a view to establishing an operational hub and to attract their supply chain (including manufacturers) to AMEP.  DONG Energy were a leading global developer of offshore wind and this announcement represented a very positive step forward to delivering an onshore wind manufacturing cluster on AMEP.

The report contained further information about this project.

Resolved – (a) That cabinet notes the progress achieved to date in delivering the AMEP development and its significance to the local, regional and national economy; (b) that cabinet welcomes the intention by Able UK to start work on the next phase of the project in 2016 to develop the quays, and (c) that cabinet recognises and welcomes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Able UK and DONG Energy and takes every opportunity to secure the involvement of DONG Energy onto AMEP.

1182   (32)    POST 16 TRANSPORT A report was presented by the Director of Places providing an update on the Post 16 Transport provided for students in North Lincolnshire.

The council had a duty to help post 16 students access further education, but not to provide free transport.  The Education and Skills Act 2008 stated that by 2013 all young people had to stay on in educational training, at least part time, until they were 18 years old.

The current policy in relation to transport provided a travel pass to enable eligible students to access subsidised transport between home and college or sixth form during term time.  The charge for a travel pass was currently £30.  This compared favourably with charges in other local authority areas and the current contribution had remained at the same level for a number of years.  During the academic year 2014/2015, the council provided transport for 1,161 students attending post 16 establishments.  For the academic year 2015/2016 it provided transport for 1,116 students.

The council had continued to support this post 16 policy where other local authorities only provided post 16 support on a means tested basis.  The benefits for students in North Lincolnshire were –

  • Encourage public transport use at a young age.
  • Reduce cost barriers to further education.
  • Encourage enrolment in the Humber UTC.
  • Recognising limited transport options in rural areas.

The post 16 transport provided by the council also contributed to the low numbers of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETS) in North Lincolnshire as outlined in paragraph 2.4 of the report in comparison with other areas.

Resolved – That cabinet welcomes the continued success of the council’s approach to the provision of post 16 transport.

1183   (33)    CONNECTING RURAL COMMUNITIES – TRANSPORT PROJECT – A report was presented by the Director of Places informing and seeking the support of cabinet to the “total transport” pilot which was known as “Connecting Rural Communities.”  This was a two year funded project aimed at transforming transport within North Lincolnshire.

The council had secured £200,000 from the Department for Transport (DfT) to fund a total transport pilot.  The project allowed local authorities to develop pilots, feasibility studies or any other ground work deemed necessary.  The duration of the project was for two years commencing on 1 April 2015 and it had strong support from both the Treasury and Cabinet Office.

Total Transport is a term used for “the need to work across public policy divides to deliver better outcomes for communities and tax payers for the sharing of resources and expertise.”  Since the funding had been awarded, four workstreams had developed as detailed in paragraph 2.3 of the report.  A project plan had also been produced and the project was branded under the title of “Connecting Rural Communities.”

A key element of Total Transport was the need for a number of transport providers to work constructively together with the council.  In North Lincolnshire the partners were detailed in paragraph 2.3 of the report and in June 2015 an inaugural meeting had been held with these and other key stakeholders to agree support for the pilot.  The Consultant in Public Health that supported the Places Directorate was working as the transport lead for the “Health Lives Healthy Futures” initiative to ensure that transport was a focal point in discussions aligned to emerging health policies.

A summary of progress on each of the four workstreams was detailed within paragraphs 2.6, 2.7, 2.8 and 2.9 of the report.  The report also provided further detailed information about the project.

Resolved – (a) That cabinet supports the “Connecting Rural Communities” project including progress in the following four workstreams –

  • Demand responsive transport pilot.
  • Integration of health, adults, childrens, voluntary community Sector transport Services.
  • Review of local bus routes.
  • Data and intelligence.

and (b) that the government be thanked for the grant of £200,000 to fund the total transport pilot.

1184   (34)    NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE DAY VISITOR FIGURES – 2014– The Director of Places submitted a report updating cabinet on the day visitor numbers to North Lincolnshire in 2014.

Tourism was an important part of the local economy with the area benefitting from a wide range of activities and visitor attractions ranging from adrenalin sports to historic houses and gardens.  There were over 75 places to visit in the area and 1,126 quality inspected bed spaces.   Tourism employed over 2,300 people and was worth approximately £160m to the local economy.

The report indicated that in January each year the council asks 125 event organisers and attractions across the area how many visitors they have had in the previous year.  These figures were then used to monitor how the industry was changing and to inform planning for the future.

In 2014 there were over 3.1 million day (3,109,328) visits to events and attractions across North Lincolnshire.  Figures were up by over 168,903 on 2013 which represented an increase of over 5.5%.  This compared favourably with the predicted Visit England national figure of a rise of 5%.

The recent STEAM report (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Model, a nationally recognised tool for tourism monitoring) indicated strong growth over the past five years.  A brief overview of this was attached as appendix 1 to the report.

Visits to most attractions in North Lincolnshire had continued to rise with a marked increase in the number of visitors to council owned venues including the Waters Edge Visitors Centre, with an annual increase of 26.3% from 2013, visits to Normanby Hall increased by 7.6% and there was an 8% increase for the same period at North Lincolnshire Museum.

Brigg Farmers Market also continued to be very popular and it regularly attracted shoppers from the surrounding area including Lincoln, Cleethorpes and Hull.

Resolved – That cabinet notes the positive increase in day visits to North Lincolnshire recorded in 2014.

 

Reports