Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Economy Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 9th September, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension. View directions

Contact: Michael Williamson  This meeting can be viewed on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/587805268

Items
No. Item

40.

Appointment of Chair

Minutes:

Noting the apologies received from the Chair, Councillor Farrell was nominated to Chair the meeting. This was seconded and approved. 

 

Decision

 

To appoint Councillor Farrell as Chair for the meeting.

 

41.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 254 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2021.

Minutes:

Decision

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2021 were approved as a correct record.

 

42.

Manchester's support for families living in poverty pdf icon PDF 437 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive & City Treasurer and Director of Inclusive Economy attached

 

This report provides an overview of the Council’s response to poverty, including an update on the Family Poverty Strategy Reprioritisation and also details some of the major activities undertaken across the Council to help tackle poverty.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer and the Director of Inclusive Economy that provided an overview of the Council’s response to poverty, including an update on the Family Poverty Strategy Reprioritisation.

 

Key points and themes in the report included:

 

·         Providing an introduction and background, noting that poverty in Manchester was deeply engrained and formed one of the most significant challenges due to its wide ranging and profound impacts on the people affected;

·         The scale of the challenge had been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic;

·         Noting that the Council and partners had a long-standing commitment to tackling poverty and supporting all its diverse residents to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives;

·         Information on the rationale and approach taken to the Family Poverty Strategy 2017-22 Reprioritisation; 

·         Delivery of the Family Poverty Strategy, with examples of current activity and best practice;

·         The approach to communications with residents;

·         The Council’s corporate role in tackling poverty;

·         The impact of the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector;

·         Tackling poverty through day-to-day service design and delivery, with descriptions and examples provided across a range of Directorates and services; and

·         The Council’s response to COVID-19, noting the key achievements of the work to date.

 

The Committee also received a presentation from representative of Munchers Poverty Truth Commission, which informed Members of the findings of the investigation in to the 

Question “What if people who struggled against poverty were involved in making decisions about tackling poverty?”.  One of the key learnings from the Poverty Truth Commission was the value in developing relationships with people who share different life experiences and deeply listening to the impact of those experiences

 

The Committee was invited to comment on the report prior to it being considered by Executive.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         That the voices of people with lived experience of poverty was important and there was a need to keep including commissioners to feed-back information;

·         Whether the Family Poverty Strategy could link into and be considered alongside other Council strategies;

·         That there was a stigma attached to poverty and it was questioned as to how people could be encouraged to ask for help without losing their self-esteem;

·         Did the Executive feel that some recommendations are more challenging than others;

·         That the Marmot Review (into Health Inequalities) referred to in the report confirmed weaknesses around gender and race inequalities and that this could affect how the Council looked at the implementation of recommendations;

·         Would there be some wider Scrutiny focus implemented to share reports and recommendations between Committees;

·         That, whilst access to work and working was important, it was not a reality for all and to consider the Poverty Premium for people with disabilities and/or illnesses that keep them out of work; and

·         That consultation was key to decision making.

 

The Deputy Leader confirmed that the Executive for Health and Care and the Assistant Executive Member (Antipoverty) were leading on the Family Poverty agenda and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Manchester's Digital Strategy pdf icon PDF 241 KB

Report of the Director of Inclusive Economy attached

 

This report sets out how the Council will use digital and technology to meet the priorities of the Our Manchester Strategy and achieve its ambition of being in the top-flight of world-class cities by 2025.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Inclusive Economy that sought the Committees views on the approval for the adoption of the Manchester Digital Strategy.

 

Key points and themes in the report included:

 

·                Providing a background and purpose of the Manchester Digital Strategy;

·                Describing the stated ambition to make Manchester one of the world’s leading smart cities and digital economies in the next five years;

·                Describing the development of the strategy;

·                The impact of Covid-19 on the growth of the digital sector;

·                An overview of the consultation process that had taken place from September 2020 to March 2021 with business, public and VCSE sectors and community organisations and networks;

·                The delivery of the strategy and governance arrangements; and  

·                Describing how the strategy would directly contribute to achieving Manchester’s zero-carbon target.

 

The Committee was invited to comment on the report prior to it being considered by Executive at its meeting on 15 September 2021.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:-

 

·                What processes were in place to deal with electrical waste when digital devices were superseded;

·                Who would own the infrastructure that was being proposed;

·                It was good to see an international context within the strategy;

·                How would the creative industry sector of the city feature in contributing to the strategy; and

·                The Council should not lose sight of the number of residents in the city that were digitally excluded.

 

The Director of Inclusive Economy commented that in terms of ownership of the infrastructure , the Council had joined the Digital Co-op , who had developed an interface between the digital providers and end users to enable new developments to be provider neutral which would enable opportunities for new providers to enter the market.  In terms of waste from the digital sector, it was noted that at present the strategy did not address this, but it was agreed that this issue would be looked at and consideration would be given as to how this could be built into the strategy.

 

The Committee was also informed that the time the strategy was being developed the cultural organisations in the city were implementing their recovery plans post covid and there was quite a bit of overlap, which had been taken on board in the development in the strategy and it was acknowledged that creative and digital sectors of the city sat well together and was one of the city’s strengths.

 

Decision

 

The Committee endorse the recommendation that the Executive adopt the Manchester Digital Strategy as part the City’s policy framework.

 

44.

Digital Exclusion Index pdf icon PDF 231 KB

Report of the Director of Inclusive Growth attached

 

This report and the accompanying presentation details, how the index works, some of the initial trends the index provide in relation to residents and areas of the City with greatest likelihood of being digitally excluded and provides a number of recommendations on how the index can be used to create better targeted interventions and more long-lasting change.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report and presentation of the Director of Inclusive Growth that described what the index was, how it worked, some of the initial trends the index provided in relation to residents and areas of the City with greatest likelihood of being digitally excluded and finally to provide a number of recommendations on how the index could be used to create better targeted interventions and more long-lasting change. 

 

Key points and themes in the report included:

 

·         Describing the background and rationale for developing the Manchester Digital Exclusion Index;

·         Describing what digital exclusion was and who affected;

·         Describing what the Manchester’s Digital Exclusion Index was and its purpose; and

·         Conclusion and next steps.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         Some of the data in the presentation was from Census 2011 and it would be interesting to compare with the Census update expected in 2022;

·         That it would be useful to see how Manchester compared to other cities;

·         That intervention would be key and would be an on-going learning process;

·         Would developing the impact measurement tool affect how other organisations used the index; and

·         That an update on the implications of digital exclusion during the pandemic would be useful.

 

The Work and Skills Specialist stated that comparing the 2011 data with the update next year may expose more challenges and added that GMCA were involved nationally, speaking with other cities and sharing information, adding that Manchester was unique in gathering more information and leading the way in certain areas. The Work and Skills Specialist stated that a support guide would be of help to support communities and inform them on applying for funding and added that the report would help raise awareness of specific needs at schools and for single households.

 

The Chair concluded by stating that there was a likely overlap with the Digital Exclusion Index map of the North of the city with the Council owned housing stock that the Council needs to address.

 

Decisions

 

To note the report.

 

45.

Economy COVID-19 Sit Rep Report pdf icon PDF 554 KB

Report of the Director of City Centre Growth and Infrastructure and Director of Inclusive Economy

 

This report provides Committee Members with a further update summary of the current situation in the city in relation to COVID-19 and an update on the work progressing in Manchester in relation to areas within the remit of this Committee.  Further detail on specific issues will be available as required.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of City Centre Growth and Infrastructure that provided Members with a further update summary of the current situation in the city in relation to COVID-19 and an update on the work progressing in Manchester in relation to areas within the remit of this Committee. 

 

The report offered a general overview in addition to considering updates on the following areas: footfall, higher education institutions, aviation, culture, development, affordable housing, transport and infrastructure, skills, labour market and business support and funding

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·                As there was a skills shortage, was there any funding available to support skills development?

·                The increase in wages in lower waged sectors was welcomed;

·                Was there a knock-on effect on prices locally?

·                Was there any work being done to skill match/upgrade people who were coming to the end of their furlough and likely to have their roles disestablished?

·                Was information up to date regarding transport use?

·                Was there a shift to smaller office space and had the retail sector returned completely?

 

The Director of Inclusive Economy stated that work was being done with JobCentre+ and hospitality industries to link people with job opportunities as well as linking with Government programmes and MAES. The Director of Inclusive Economy confirmed North Manchester was a priority target for funding and gave mention of the Kickstart scheme for under 25 year olds whereby a range of employers offered six months paid experience and a career pathway.

 

The Director of City Centre Growth and Infrastructure confirmed that price increases were evident in the construction industry and addressed the question on transport, stating that rail use was low and bus use was high, especially at peak times. Addressing the question around returning to the workplace, the Director of City Centre Growth and Infrastructure stated that larger businesses were more able to continue away from the office and that retail was still a challenge.

 

The Leader stated that the wage increase in the hospitality sector was welcomed but noted that this sector largely moved into the care sector during the pandemic but were now returning, leaving a staff shortage in care sector which needed urgent attention. The Leader stated that Brexit and the associated decrease in the student population had affected the amount of people covering roles in the care sector.

 

Decision

 

The Committee note the report.

 

46.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 413 KB

Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit

 

This report provides the Committee with details of key decisions that fall within the Committee’s remit and an update on actions resulting from the Committee’s recommendations. The report also includes the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee is asked to amend as appropriate and agree.

Minutes:

The report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit which contained key decisions within the Committee’s remit and responses to previous recommendations was submitted for comment. Members were also invited to agree the Committee’s future work programme.

 

Decision

 

The Committee note the report.