Agenda and minutes

Prosperous Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 19th October 2022 2:00pm

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Lindop  Email:


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

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There were no Declarations of Interest made.



Minutes of meeting held on 29 September 2022 pdf icon PDF 174 KB

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RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2022 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.



Economic Strategy Delivery update pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Report of Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills

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The Committee considered a report of the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills updating them on progress made in the delivery of Staffordshire’s Economic Strategy 2022-2030 (schedule 1 to the signed minutes).


Members heard that the Primary focuses of the Strategy were:- (i) Town centres; (ii) Higher skilled and higher paid workforce; (iii) ‘Start-up’ and ‘step-up’ businesses; (iv) The development of investment ready projects and; (v) Strategic corridors. In addition, various other priorities and themes were identified as being important in supporting the future growth of the economy. These included:- (i) Innovation; (ii) Supporting businesses on their journey to net zero and; (iii) Maximising the use of investment to unlock external funding.


Following Cabinet’s approval and scrutiny by the Committee in March 2022, a four-week public consultation exercise had been held in May 2022 in order to give residents, businesses and wider stakeholders the opportunity to comment and shape the strategy prior to it being finalised. Feedback from the consultation was overall supportive with ambitions for the regeneration of Town Centres being cited as the most important.


The Cabinet Member updated them on the potential impact of recent national and global economic headlines on the County and the Authority’s ability to deliver the various priorities set out in the Strategy. However, he updated them on the activity undertaken to date towards achieving the Authority’s various ambitions, as follows:-


Priority (i): Town Centre/High Street Regeneration


Ambition: “By 2030, we will tackle the challenges faced by many of our town centres and strive to create places that we can be proud of”.


(i) Delivery of Central Government’s Future High Streets Fund, Town Deals and Levelling-Up Fund in the eight Staffordshire District/Boroughs by assisting with the development of business cases; (ii) Work related to the appointment of a Development Partner for the Stafford Eastgate Regeneration Programme.


Priority (ii): Higher Skilled, Higher Paid Workforce


Ambition: “By 2030, we will address the low levels of skills across some parts of the County and support more of our residents to gain the high-level skills needed to take advantage of many better paid job opportunities”.


(i) Launch of the Staffordshire Jobs and Careers Brokerage Service to support local residents and employers by providing free recruitment and support services including an on-line digital platform; (ii) Continued delivery of Staffordshire’s Apprenticeship 500 programme which had so far resulted in 205 local businesses take on 400 Apprentices; (iii) Continuation of Staffordshire’s Ignite initiative, designed to encourage a greater understanding of entrepreneurialism and enterprise amongst young people in their final year of college, which had so far trained over 12,000 students; (iv) Assistance given to skills providers in the County to further develop their facilities; (v) Continued delivery of Multiply, a £4.2m programme to develop numeracy skills regardless of age or profession together with various other adult learning initiatives.


Priority (iii): Supporting Start-Up and Step-Up Businesses


Ambition: “By 2030, we will create the conditions to allow more people to start and grow their business within Staffordshire, thereby addressing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


Delivering a Future Vision for the Countryside Estate pdf icon PDF 284 KB

Report of Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture

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The Committee considered a report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture giving further details of the proposed new Vision and Delivery Plan for the County Council’s Countryside Estate (schedule 2 to the signed minutes).


At their meeting in February 2022, Members considered revised proposals for the management of the estate following the significantly changed context brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, which entailed its retention in-house. The new Vision was for the Estate to support the wider Vision set out in the County Council’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026 for, “an innovative, ambitious and sustainable County where everyone has the opportunity to prosper, be healthy and happy”. At that time, they requested further details of the Authority’s investment proposals/Delivery Plan so they could give pre-decision scrutiny prior to their consideration by Cabinet.


During her presentation of the report, the Cabinet Member highlighted the key actions contained in the Delivery Plan for supporting each of the Priorities included in the Strategic Plan, as follows:-


Priority 1: Support Staffordshire’s economy to grow, generating more and better paid jobs.


(i) Enhance catering offers at Country Parks; (ii) Explore increased provision of business units and business opportunities that linked to the Parks’ offer; (iii) Parks Promotion Plan – improved website, social media and promotion of the Parks’ offer, including linking with local businesses and cultural industries that complement the offer, leaflets and signage; (iv) Placements and traineeships to support growth of the green sector and address skills shortage; (v) Major redevelopment of café and visitor centre facilities at Marquis Drive and; (vi) Expansion of facilities at Chasewater.


Priority 2: Tackle climate change, enhance our environment and make Staffordshire more sustainable.   


(i) Increase carbon sequestration to help meet net zero through tree planting and habitat enhancement; (ii) Support nature recovery through habitat enhancement linked to the Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS); (iii) targeted species recovery work linked to LNRS; (iv) Promotion, education and behaviour change – events and activities to raise awareness of climate change and nature recovery and what people can do to help and; (iv) Greening the Countryside service – electric/Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) vehicles and equipment, renewable building technologies installed and adaption measures developed.


Priority 3: Encourage good health and wellbeing, resilience and independence. 


(i) Develop a Healthy Parks Programme to include health walks, mindfulness walks, activity promotion, outdoor gyms, etc. and explore social prescribing models. Link to Better Health Staffordshire plus groups already linked to sites for addiction recovery, mental health support etc. to expand offer; (ii) Undertake a programme of site improvement to improve accessibility and reduce barriers to use, including access for all facilities, dementia-friendly status etc. Ensure improved promotion of information about site accessibility and the site offer was available to target audiences; (iii) Provide an enhanced community/cultural/ arts offer including through volunteers and through externally funded programmes; (iv) Develop Volunteer Strategy and expand the volunteer programme to include volunteer wardens for key sites and broader volunteering to include conservation work,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Staffordshire Libraries and Arts Service 2022-25 pdf icon PDF 335 KB

Report of Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture

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The Committee considered a report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture regarding Staffordshire Libraries and Arts Service’s offer in support of the priorities contained in the County Council Strategic Plan 2022-2026 (schedule 3 to the signed minutes).


Members heard that the Library Service helped to connect communities, improve health and wellbeing, digital inclusion and promoted equality through learning, literacy and cultural activity, through the delivery of four national Universal Library Offers (ie:- (i) Health and Wellbeing; (ii) Reading; (iii) Culture and Creativity and; (iv) Information and Digital). In turn, these Offers were underpinned by two national Library Promises (ie the Children’s Promise and the Print and Impaired People’s Promise).


The Library Service had fully recovered their offer following the Covid-19 pandemic and was delivering a varied programme of physical and virtual activity to support County Council’s strategic priorities including:- (i) the establishment and further development of Start-up Information Hubs with grant-aid from Arts Council England; (ii) delivery of various initiatives to improve adult literacy with funding from Central Government; (iii) delivery of the Be Your Health Programme with grant-aid from Health Education England; (iv) partnership working with NHS Knowledge and Library Service, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to design an initiative aimed at improving access to health and digital literacy information for young people in the Newcastle-under-Lyme and Burton-on-Trent areas; (v) participation the Moonbeams Early Years Action Research Programme investigating the development of language and communication through arts and creativity and; (vi) delivery of the national Green Libraries and Changing Climates, Changing Lifestyles initiatives.


In addition, members were updated on proposals for the development of library buildings in Burton-on-Trent, Tamworth, Cannock, Leek and Kidsgrove together with efforts by the Service to support residents through a period of dramatic rises in the cost of living.


During the full and wide-ranging discussion which ensued, Members gave detailed scrutiny to the efforts being made by the Libraries and Arts Services to support the priorities contained in the Strategic Plan, asking questions, seeking clarification and raising areas of concern as necessary, including:- (i) how the Community Libraries offer could be further improved by harmonising services with those provided by Local Authority run libraries; (ii) the need to improve communication with ‘Local’ Members regarding library services within their Divisions (including Wilnecote and Shenstone Libraries) particularly in respect of visits by Central Government and other national bodies; (iii) promotion of Library buildings as warm spaces during winter 2022/23 having regard to the cost of living crises and; (iv) opportunities for promotion of healthy lifestyles in libraries.


In conclusion Members welcomed news regarding the Libraries and Arts offer and expressed their support for the overall direction of travel for the Service during the period covered by the Strategic Plan. However, they undertook to keep the service under close review and give further scrutiny in the future, as necessary.


Note by Clerk: The meeting became inquorate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 365 KB

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RESOLVED – That, subject to the addition of the following items/meetings, the updated Work Programme (schedule 4 to the signed minutes) be approved:-



Date of Meeting

Site visits to Household Waste Recycling Centres

Monday 7 November 2022 pm (additional meeting)

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy

Friday 16 December 2022

HS2 - Sixth Monthly Update

Friday 3 February 2023

Civil Parking Enforcement – Briefing Note

Friday 3 February 2023

Tree Planning Net Zero by Nature

Thursday 27 April 2023




Date of next meeting - Thursday 10 November 2022 at 10.00 am, County Buildings, Stafford

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RESOLVED – That the date, time and venue of the next meeting be noted.