March Board Update
Our March Board meeting was kindly hosted by Lichfield Cathedral and we were welcomed by the Dean, the Very Reverend Adrian Dorber. (pictured right with Cllr Mike Wilcox, Cllr Gordon Alcott and Andy Street)
Matthew Rhodes was appointed as the new Non Executive Director with responsibility for leading on the Innovation Agenda replacing Tracy Westall. Tracy has been a LEP Board Director for 3 years.
Mike Reade, Regional Delivery Unit managing Director at Balfour Beatty, has been appointed as Construction Sector Champion and Simon Dingle, Operations Director at Carillion, as the Construction Skills Campion. Graham Nicoll, Business Advisory for KPMG Enterprise, and Ruth Pipkin, Managing Director of Rewired PR, have been appointed as new private sector representatives to the Growing Businesses Sub-Group.
Strategic Economic Plan Refresh – we discussed progress in revising our economic strategy which will take it to 2030 and will align it with the emerging strategy for the Combined Authority. Our revised Plan will be published in July 2016.
European Structural Investment Fund – The British Business Bank has been chosen to lead on a Midlands wide Loan Fund for SMEs. We have also agreed to adopt a Low Carbon Transport and Mobility Strategy and will approve an Energy Strategy to support investment decisions.
West Midlands Devolution Agreement – we endorsed the draft Agreement which was signed by the West Midlands Combined Authority in November 2015.
Creative City Partnership –To support the development of an executive function for the Creative City Partnership, we will invest £20,000 per year for 2 years. This investment is to be use to leverage other private and public sector contributions. The Creative City Partnership will also review its strategy to align with the work of the Combined Authority.
Life Sciences – The Board endorsed the proposal that the LEP should lead on the establishment of a Strategic Leadership Group for Life Sciences, to drive forward a commercially-focused strategy for growing the life sciences sector in Greater Birmingham. The Board appointed the LEP’s Life Sciences Champion, Graham Silk as the Chair for the Group.
Apprenticeships Levy – While this has the potential to be a game-changer, further work will be carried out to ensure that the GBSLEP area can maximise the opportunity. In particular we need to ensure a fair distribution of the Levy; make sure it supports the right type and level of skills and address perception barriers to individual demand for apprenticeships. We will also explore how the Growth Hub can be best used to promote apprenticeships.