Regeneration Cabinet Member – Minutes – 24 December 2013

70        (11) HUMBER UNIVERSITY TECHNICAL COLLEGE – The Director of Places submitted a report to update the Cabinet Member on the progress towards developing a University Technical College (UTC) in North Lincolnshire and sought approval to facilitate the project management on behalf of the Humber UTC Board, subject to approval of the bid.

The report outlined how the Humber UTC Board had worked on a development proposal for the UTC over the last year and that a bid for funding for a UTC specialising in Engineering and Renewables had been submitted to the Department for Education on 4 October 2013.

The proposed opening date for the UTC was September 2015.

It was explained that the Humber UTC was successfully shortlisted to attend an interview as the second stage in the funding approval process.  The interview took place on 19 November 2013 and a decision on whether it had been successful to receive funding was expected in early January 2014.

If the bid for funding was successful the Humber UTC Board would need to initiate the project management as a matter of urgency to ensure that the timescale to open in September 2015 could be achieved.  It was therefore essential that the procurement for the project management be progressed as far as possible before a funding decision was made.  The UTC Board therefore required an existing partner to facilitate this process.

Resolved – (a) That the update be noted, and (b) that the Council agree to facilitate the appointment of project management for the Humber UTC.

71        (12) UPDATE ON NORTHERN LINCOLNSHIRE UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES – The Director of Places submitted a report which set out the progress on the reduction in the number of people claiming Job Seeker allowance (JSA).

The cabinet member was advised that the numbers of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in North Lincolnshire fell for the eighth month in a row according to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics.  Figures for claimants out of the eligible workforce showed that between February 2013 and October 2013 the percentage fell from 4.9% to 3.5%.

There was a continuing positive trend in North Lincolnshire’s unemployment figures, with unemployment in the area falling at a faster rate than regionally and nationally over the past twelve months.

The council had worked hard to reduce the number of people claiming JSA in partnership, by enabling businesses to start, grow and diversify through the Regional Growth Fund grant, through the council apprenticeship scheme and also the introduction of the Young Persons Work Experience Programme.

Resolved – That the reduction in the number of people claiming Job Seeker Allowance in North Lincolnshire be noted.

72        (13) NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE REGIONAL GROWTH FUND PROGRAMME – AUDIT REQUIREMENT – The Director of Places submitted a report which To update the Cabinet Member on the success of the North Lincolnshire Regional Growth Fund Programme and sought approval to undertake an external audit of the Programme.

The North Lincolnshire Regional Growth Fund (RGF) Programme was launched in May 2012 making available £10m of Government finance to support economic growth through job creation in the private sector.  It aimed to create 500 new jobs.

The programme was one of the first to operate across the country and had been cited as an example of best practice, that other RGF programmes had subsequently followed.

As part of the contract for the funds, the council as accountable body, needed to undertake an audit of the programme.  The council’s appointed auditors required that an external auditor was appointed to undertake this work.

Resolved – (a) That the update be noted; (b) that external auditors be appointed to undertake an independent audit of the North Lincolnshire RGF Programme, and (c) that opportunities to achieve economies of scale be investigated via working with other RGF Programmes to appoint jointly an auditor.

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