Newton promoted to DWP Minister of State for the disabled

Sarah Newton, MP for Truro & Falmouth, has been promoted to Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions. She will oversee the department within the DWP for people with disabilities.

Mrs Newton previously had a junior position of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office.

In a large Whitehall department, the next in line after a the Secretary of State, who would sit in the Cabinet, is a Minister of State. They can be thought of as a deputy to the Secretary of State.  Larger departments may have several – and they don’t come any larger than the DWP.

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Some Ministers of State head their own departments and some attend Cabinet Meetings.  They tend to be given their own responsibilities within a department, with the agreement of the Prime Minister. Sarah Newton has been appointed as Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work.

The Truro MP has shown an interest in this area previously and has hosted and attended several conferences and seminars in the last couple of years that focus on supported employment and getting more people with disabilities into work.

Sarah Newton on Devonwall … and more! Extraordinary attack on “Cornish Nationalists” from Truro MP

Despite the vulgarity of the ‘fit for work’ assesments, it always has to be remembered that 95% of people with a disability want to work although if you have a disability you are far more likely to be unemployed. As a whole, there is a 50% unemployment rate for people with disabilities compared to the current 4% in the entire population. The unemployment rate for people with learning disabilities is over 90%. The trick is finding the right job match for the right person and then supporting both worker and employer in the process.

There are several schemes nationally and locally for people with disabilities to access support in work, although DWP schemes like WorkChoice have been dogged with controversy since conception as the ‘payment by results’ model offered to providers encourages profit before people.

Cornwall Council confirms further savings will be needed in budget

Sarah will now be required to answer relevant questions from the dispatch box in the Commons on behalf of the government. The promotion brings her rank along side George Eustice, MP for Camborne & Redruth, who is a Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. His responsibilities include Fisheries, food and farming, the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) and the bovine TB / badger cull policy.

All Ministers, as part of the collective responsibility of government, however junior, will be expected to back the Government in a Commons division or resign.

 

 

Cornwall Council confirms further savings will be needed in budget

Cornwall Council today confirmed it is facing a budget gap with £75 million savings needing to be found over the next four years.

Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council Julian German said uncertainties around Brexit, social care funding and welfare reforms all add to a complex picture.

“Like other local authorities across the country, Cornwall Council is facing less funding from central Government, as well as increased pressure as a result of rising demand for services. This means that despite the £300 million savings we have already made, we still have considerable savings to find in the years to come.

“The main grant we receive from central government will be significantly reduced by 2019/20, so we need to find additional ways to fund services. At the same time, demand for our services continues to rise year on year, particularly those services for vulnerable children and adults.

thinkingplace consultants – that wasn’t the only £75k the Council paid… we’ve done some digging…

“If we put strict limits on immigration the Cornish horticultural industry is finished.”

“Cornwall Council provides a huge range of essential services to the people of Cornwall. When times are tough, it is more important than ever to spend resources wisely.

German Julian
The council’s money man Cllr German

“Each year we prioritise spending on services that make sure children and young people get the best start in life, that communities feel the benefit of economic growth and that support vulnerable residents to live independently.

“To continue to do this we need to make difficult decisions about council tax and we have to look at reducing services.”

The draft budget for 2018-2022 will be discussed by the Cornwall Council Cabinet on Wednesday 15 November. The final budget is submitted to full Council for decision in February 2018.

thinkingplace consultants – that wasn’t the only £75k the Council paid… we’ve done some digging…

If you didn’t like the idea of paying £75,000 of Council Tax Payer’s money once on place specialist consultants thinkingplace well hide behind the sofa now….

Cornish Stuff has learnt that the council has ALSO paid another £75,000 to public / private partnership CIC St Austell Bay Economic Forum (SABEF) to establish economic priorities for the St Austell Bay area. And thinkingplace were commissioned to do a simultaneous ‘place shaping’ and investment opportunities consultation specific to the St Austell Area, similar the one they are doing for the whole of Cornwall from this money.

“Follow us and help shape the future of St Austell”

sabef stand
SABEF stand at Cornwall Business Fair

Hiding behind commercial confidentiality, no one will tell us at this stage what percentage of this extra payment makes up thinkingplace’s fee.

Following the media coverage of the original £75k this week, lips have been sealed and although this is public money, no-one wants to talk about it.

Cornish Stuff can exclusively reveal just how much Cornwall Council has paid Lancashire consultants thinkingplace

Consultants £75k – Developing row and reaction in County Hall

SABEF is made up of business people, public sector and elected representatives from unitary and town councils in the St Austell Bay area. James Staughton, Chief Exec of St Austell Brewery is it’s public face and Chairperson.

staughton
James Staughton

And funnily enough, we can reveal that thinkingplace actually made a presentation to the SABEF board yesterday.

Their findings are only preliminary at this stage and after the widespread derision of the Lancashire consultants presentation to the Cornwall Leadership Board on Friday,  anyone who has seen this one isn’t saying what the findings were.

Let’s hope it’s more than just “make the Eden Project the centre of everything in clay country” eh?

A insider told us “I have not seen the preliminary report yet. An inner group within SABEF have been liaising with Thinkingplace. A draft is meant to be circulated soon but it is unlikely to change much.

“If we put strict limits on immigration the Cornish horticultural industry is finished.”

There was a meeting of SABEF (on Tuesday) which Thinking Place attended and gave another presentation. In fairness, it was better than the one given to Council on Friday.

The cost of the St Austell work will be less than £75K, that’s a broader grant than just this work”

Our friend added

“The private sector members on SABEF are broadly happy with what has been done. The councillors have varying degrees of scepticism”

pears
Cllr Pears

Cllr Richard Pears who attends SABEF meetings but is not on the board could only tell us “I had to leave the meeting early yesterday so I didn’t see any of the presentations by the various groups that were there I’m afraid. As for SABEF’s work in progress I have seen some really fantastic projects underway, can’t wait to talk about them but at this stage I feel it would be very unfair of me to comment about any work which is not yet complete”

Also unavailable to comment was Dick Cole, MK Leader, who although seen and heard over the news yesterday complaining of the Cornwall wide thinkingplace report, is it turns out, also a director of SABEF.

 

clay country sabef
Clay Country

“If we put strict limits on immigration the Cornish horticultural industry is finished.”

Cornwall Council and the LEP recently submitted a response to a call for evidence from the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee. The research was based on a business survey, site visits, feedback from business and public sector bodies and national and local data sources.

Cornwall Council is calling on the Government to “make sure future migration laws deliver the right skills for the Cornish economy to prosper after we exit the EU” –  with new research showing that Cornish farms are already unable to fully harvest crops this year due to a sharp fall in migrant labour.

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Recent research commissioned by Cornwall Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership found changes to migration laws after Brexit could lead to multi-million pound losses to the Cornish economy if the horticultural industry can’t access the skills and workforce it needs.  The research found that following the Brexit vote, recruitment immediately became more difficult for horticultural farms, harvests could not be lifted in full and staffing requirements were already dwindling to 65% of need.

Around 17,000 EU nationals are estimated to be living and working in Cornwall –  approximately three per cent of the total population.  There is no evidence that migrant labour is displacing the local workforce.

Cornwall Council confirms further savings will be needed in budget

thinkingplace consultants – that wasn’t the only £75k the Council paid… we’ve done some digging…

Consultants £75k – Developing row and reaction in County Hall

David Simmons of Riviera Produce, one of the biggest producers in Cornwall predicted dire impacts: “If we put strict limits on Eastern European migrant labour or devise alternative immigration policies that limit so-called ‘low-skilled’ labour, the Cornish horticultural industry is finished.”

Council Leader Adam Paynter called for Government to take a place-based approach to future migration and workforce. “Many of our major industries such as horticulture could be severely impacted and are already feeling the pinch with some of our crops rotting in the fields following a sharp fall in the number of EU workers.

Cornish Sea Salt & Luxury Pepper – 185g Tub £7.98

paynter
Adam Paynter

“We are working with local partners to improve skills and employment for local people, but there will always be an important place in the Cornish economy for seasonal and migrant workers, particularly in the horticultural industry. We are calling on the Government to take a place-based approach to future migration, to make sure that the Cornish economy has access to skills which may not be highly valued in London but which are vital to a major rural economy like ours”.

sandra-rothwell
Sandra Rothwell, Cheif Exec CIOS LEP

Sandra Rothwell, chief executive of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership said: “What this study demonstrates is that there are parts of the Cornish economy that are heavily reliant on migrant labour and that any  emerging policy on movement of EU nationals must take this into account. We cannot afford a one-size fits all solution or the continued uncertainty that has already started to blight the labour market.”

Consultants £75k – Developing row and reaction in County Hall

Following our revelation that Cornwall Council has spent another £75k on consultancy fees a row is developing in County Hall about the decision to commission Lancashire based company  thinkingplace

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thinkingplace consultants – that wasn’t the only £75k the Council paid… we’ve done some digging…

Cornish Stuff can exclusively reveal just how much Cornwall Council has paid Lancashire consultants thinkingplace

Cornwall Council confirms further savings will be needed in budget

The leader of the Mebyon Kernow group, Dick Cole  started proceedings by announcing he had written formally to Adam Paynter, Leader of the Council, to express his concern at the nature of the work on the “strategic narrative” for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

dick cole
Cllr Dick Cole, MK

After taking time to view the webcast of friday’s meeting Cllr Cole said in his letter

“You will already be aware of our misgivings about how the leadership of Cornwall Council commissioned this report for the “Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board” without any input from the wider democratic membership of Cornwall Council.

On numerous occasions I have raised concerns about this, and I have also, quite often, asked about the progress of the work being undertaken by the consultants thinkingplace, but have had little or no meaningful feedback. This includes at the most recent meeting of the Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 1st November, which was only two days before the presentation to the “Leadership Board” on 3rd November”

The wider council has had no input into the narrative for Cornwall that the Leadership Board are developing, Cllr Cole claims, and were not consulted about the decision to spend £75,000 on a consultant’s report.

“I am seeking clarity on what the role of the Cornwall Council’s elected members will be in this process in the coming weeks, and when we will be able to have our say about the “vision” for Cornwall should actually be”

Tim Dwelly Leader of the Labour group on the council questioned whether the seats given to Conservative members means the Leadership Board is a back door entrance to the reformation of a Lib Dem / Tory alliance. “Who made Phil Seeva a leader of Cornwall?” he asked, pointing to the failure of the Conservative group in forming an administration after the most recent council elections in May.

Phil Seeva, Leader of Conservative Group, Cornwall Council
Phil Seeva

Cllr Seeva himself claims to be relaxed about the spending on the report so long as ‘it’s not put in the bottom drawer’ and it brings in the investment it promises. However he made it clear that he was not party to the decision to commission thinkingplace as he was not appointed to the Leadership board until after that decision was taken.

“I’m not anti it” he told CS this afternoon “I considered the £75,000 to be and investment and you can only judge an investment on whether or not you get a return. It’ll be a waste if we do nothing with it”

But the Leadership board has only just convened and met officially for the first time on Friday. The decision to commission appoint the Lancashire consultants must have been taken very quickly after July 25, when Full Council approved the creation of the Leadership Board because thinkingspace say they carried out their ‘extensive programme of engagement’ in August & September. The council said in their previous statement that thinkingspace won the contract ‘through an open and competitive process’.

 

One Conservative councillor who will be making more of a fuss, and taking further action is newly elected councillor for St Blazey, Pauline Giles

 

After posting that on Saturday, Pauline told us today “I have asked questions about who decided this, somebody made that decision to spend that money. I’m not happy with the way money is being spent in Cornwall. There’s a responsibility that’s got to be taken by someone here”

Adam Paynter has defended the decision to commission the study. He said the decision to form the Leadership Board was taken by Full Council on 25th July this year and creating a strategic vision for Cornwall was part of that vote.

Paynter Adam
Adam Paynter Leader Cornwall Council

He told Radio Cornwall “This was a decision full council made, so Dick and the other were in the room and agreed to make a clear vision for Cornwall. Part of the work was 2 different departments from the council and the LEP putting in 25k each to work up that vision for Cornwall going forwards. Councillors have to give the overall direction of travel and then officers have to bring that to life and deliver it so that’s part of this agenda”

The LEP cleared up some confusion when they confirmed to us this afternoon that “it has not funded the work yet but it does anticipate making a contribution of circa £25k”

What is less clear is whether the reports and votes do give enough permission for this money to have been spent without the wider council knowing about it.

There’s no specific recommendation to spend out money on a report in either the Scrutinty Committe report here 

or the minutes from the Full Council here 

In fact it says the creation of a Leadership Board will be cost neutral or even make a saving as the board it replaces met more often.

The report only states under the heading ‘Financial Implications of the proposed course of action/decision’ ,

‘At an operational level, the financial implications of establishing a Leadership Board as proposed, would be met from within existing resources. Main resource implications would be the time commitment from elected Members serving on the Board and administrative support provided by the Customer and Support Services Directorate (meetings are anticipated to be quarterly).
It should be noted that the Leadership Board will replace the Devolution Monitoring Board which has met on a more frequent basis so there will be a cost reduction’.

MEP Molly Scott Cato uses visit to Cornwall to call for urgent action to protect EU environmental standards

molly scott cato

Green Party MEP for the South West, Molly Scott Cato, visited Cornwall last week. Her busy two-day schedule included Radio Cornwall’s Laurence Reed show, and public and private meetings in Stoke Climsland, Penryn and Penzance. In Newlyn, she met with fishing industry representatives to discuss concerns and priorities for Cornwall’s fisheries given the many uncertainties over Brexit.

Molly Scott Cato MEP on stage in Penzance
Molly Scott Cato MEP on stage in Penzance

What does Brexit mean for the environment?’ was the theme of three talks Molly gave at Duchy College in Stoke Climsland, Penryn Campus and at a public meeting in Penzance.

What has the EU ever done for us? Plenty, as it turns out. “Protected wildlife sites were being lost at the rate of 15% a year before the EU took action”, Molly explained. “Now, the rate has fallen to just 1% per year”. Most at risk ? Directives on bathing water and habitats (including those which protect birds) – both vital to the tourist industry.

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We also stand to lose the “precautionary principle” – that a product must be proved to do no harm before being made available to citizens – as compared to practice in the US, where a product is deemed safe until law suits prove otherwise.

Molly Scott Cato MEP with chair Geoff Garbett at Penzance
Molly with chair Geoff Garbett at Penzance

And what do our EU neighbours think of Britain? Molly gave a surprisingly positive answer. Explaining that comparing the negotiations to a poker game was highly misleading – “they read UK newspapers, and they know exactly what’s in our hand” – she went on to add that her counterparts from across the Channel enjoy watching Sherlock, Yes Minister and – perhaps worryingly – The Thick of It.

What Cornwall Thinks? We’ll tell you. Details of the report Council didn’t want you to see

On a more serious note, Molly called for the immediate publication of the research and “scenario planning” on Brexit being undertaken by the Civil Service. The campaign that she has led – putting pressure on ministers to release secret Brexit impact studies – is beginning to bear fruit, and the government has indicated that it will release redacted versions of these. But this is not good enough, Molly said – people need to know the full implications of a hard Brexit on every sector of our economy.

Next steps? Molly would urgently like to see a coherent “nature plan”, followed by a new Environmental Protection Act and Clean Air Act. All this is vital, to ensure that environmental standards remain high.

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And Molly revealed that the UK government – in response to lobbying from big companies keen to stop “red tape” standing in the way of their profits – is already trying to relax environmental laws. After heavy lobbying from chemicals giants, it was announced in April that the biggest companies would have £100m knocked off their environmental tax bill.

Cornish Stuff can exclusively reveal just how much Cornwall Council has paid Lancashire consultants thinkingplace

Investment in energy is also a going to be a problem. Funding from the European Investment Bank (which ploughed £3.6bn into UK energy-related projects in 2015) is now in doubt, at a time when government estimates show a need for £100bn of investment – and that’s just for power generation. What’s more, Molly confirmed, any new fisheries policy will require a “huge” amount of co-operation with neighbouring countries, to ensure access to EU and other waters.

Behind all this are serious worries about the democratic process and Government attempts to reduce the role of the UK Parliament. “People voted for control”, said Molly. “But who has actually been granted it?” She pointed out that, with ‘Henry VIII powers’, and ‘omnibus legislation’, the Government can now push bills through very quickly.

One of the most active members of the EU Parliament, Mollyremains proudly pro-EU and is doing everything she can to make sure we keep the closest possible relationship with our European neighbours.

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Applause from Penzance audience

Her priorities? To defend the rights of all people wherever in the EU they live, and to push for a clear plan that guarantees social, economic and environmental justice.

Cornish Stuff can exclusively reveal just how much Cornwall Council has paid Lancashire consultants thinkingplace

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One of the slides from the presentation

Cornwall Council’s apparent addiction to spending large amounts of council tax payer’s money on consultants continues.

Cornish Stuff can exclusively reveal just how much Cornwall Council has paid Lancashire based consultancy thinkingplace to help the leaders of Cornwall “tell the story of our assets, attributes, development areas and potential”

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Council Leader Adam Paynter with PCC Alison Hernandez & Steve Double MP at yesterday’s Cornwall Leadership Board

The consultants presented their findings to the inaugural meeting of the Cornwall Leadership Board on Friday.

And now we can reveal that Council has spent a further £75,000 on ‘place specialists’ thinkingplace .

Consultants £75k – Developing row and reaction in County Hall

Chaired by the Leader of the Council, Adam Paynter, the Leadership board is designed to show a  cross-party united front of Cornwall when dealing with Westminster, potential investors and other external bodies.

Another day, another Leader’s board – and one more strategic narrative

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The findings of the consultation by thinkingplace will be the core of something the board will publish in early 2018 called the “Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Strategic Narrative”.

Everything was fine until John Till, director and founder of thinkingplace stood up to make his presentation.

It started suspiciously when he said how surprised he and his company were that the residents of Cornwall have such a large affection for Cornwall. We have the second best ‘place brand’ in the country after London, he said, and we need to exploit it further.

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It wasn’t them but it could’ve been

What followed was half an hour of hackneyed consultant speak that wouldn’t have been out of place on the BBC’s W1A.

For example, to illustrate their ‘big idea’, “Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly: embrace our ecosystem” they used this slide :

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Their ‘big idea’ was split into 4 ‘themes’

Theme 1 – living land and sea
Theme 2 – energising entrepreneurship: thinking space
Theme 3 – tourism: catalyst for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
Theme 4 – place of taste

What Cornwall needs to do, we were advised,  is to endorse a “Place Plan – develop a plan to ensure activity is aligned, identify and deliver quick wins and determine channels and activity”.

The real problem with this presentation comes when the consultant speak is translated: there was nothing new in any of the ideas presented, except for the expensive sounding appointment of a ‘Strategic Place Manager’ who will oversee a ‘Place Board’ made up of ‘Place Ambassadors’ –  which funnily enough was the same ‘unique solution for Cornwall’ thinkingplace made to Coventry, Kettering, Darlington, Blackburn etc and all the other councils that have used their services.

As one veteran councillor put it to us after the presentation “If I hear the phrase ‘Sense of Place’ one more time I’ll throttle who ever says it!”

LEP Chairman Mark Duddridge remarked more diplomatically to the committee “This is more like where we are than where we want to be”

There was nothing in the ideas suggested that hasn’t been floating around for the last 15 years at least. Brand Cornwall, strong identity, use our heritage, set up a ‘Cornish embassy’ in London etc etc.

What Cornwall Thinks? We’ll tell you. Details of the report Council didn’t want you to see

Friday’s presentation could very easily have been written by internal officers, copying and pasting from various other Council / LEP ‘strategic narratives’ like the Catalyst for Change, Environmental Growth Strategy, Vision 2030 or the Culture White Paper .

That’s because the £75k was spent on asking some people in Cornwall what they think is the way forward, and then thinkingplace collated the answers and presented them back to us.

As one Conservative councillor quipped  afterwards “If we want wealth creation in Cornwall we should all become consultants!”

And of course, the external consultants couldn’t see much beyond tourism as the saviour of Cornwall’s flagging economy – despite it being the cause of persistent low wages in unsecure work and the catalyst for the gross inflation of house prices that force locals out. Tourism was the ‘brand gateway’.

Chair’s Blog – What can we expect from ‘Shared Prosperity Fund’, the Tory promise to replace EU money?

“The visitor economy has a challenging narrative” Mr Till told us “How is it that we send 5 million people home happy yet we still have lots of negativity about low wage economy and lack of potential for growth? The narrative has to change”.

And then he said how brilliant it was that Ginsters is selling ‘Brand Cornwall’ all over the place.

thinkingplace say that during August and September 2017,  they undertook an ‘extensive programme of engagement’.

The engagement programme included

  • 116 1:1 conversations with people working in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, including 61 from private sector organisations, 30 from public agencies, 10 Councillors, 8 Council Officers and 7 from the education sector.
  • Seven sector focus groups on; research and innovation, community and voluntary sector, environment and climate, agriculture forestry food and fish, BID managers, Transport and infrastructure, tourism culture and heritage.
  • Three areas based workshops engaging with Members of Community Network Panels in Camelford, Falmouth and Penryn and St Austell.
  • An online survey to approximately 60 young people who regularly engage with Young People Cornwall, which achieved approximately 50% response rate.

Can that be considered ‘extensive’ ?

You can find more of their report here

You can watch replay a of the webcast here

The council responded by telling us:

“In the recently published results of the Council’s residents survey, many of the 11,000 people who responded said that ‘improving job prospects’ is important to them.  This is reflected too in the Council’s Cabinet priorities which pledges to invest across Cornwall to create jobs, provide homes and improve lives.

How Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly competes for business and investment with other parts of the country and how we deal with the challenge of the loss of millions of EU funding following Brexit in less than two years’ time is key to our economic future.

New £50 season ticket for overnight parking in selected Council car parks

Through an open and competitive process, specialist company thinkingplace are undertaking research and information gathering to help us tell the story of our assets, attributes, development areas and potential,

They have been commissioned to help Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly develop a competitive edge to work with national and international businesses on what we have to offer and why they should invest here. This work is expected to help attract millions of pounds of investment into Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

thinkingplace have been paid £75,000 for this work, which is co-funded by the LEP and the Council.”

It’s up to the Leadership Board and the Councils of Cornwall and Scilly how much of this they will push to implement.

Unfortunately as the presentation and subsequent discussion over ran, there was no time left for the Leadership Board to discuss the further items on the agenda including the update on Cornwall’s Devolution Deal monitoring including the strategic case for health and social care devolution.

With twisted irony, at the same time as this presentation but just along the corridor, Councillors were being briefed on the draft budget proposals to be published next week. Dept Leader Julian German was telling them of the ‘significant budget challenges’ and how the budget is ‘unbalanced’ to the tune of £30 million.

2018 CORNWALL CALENDAR –  BUY ON AMAZON

Recommended for approval: Fortnightly bins but weekly collections of recycling and food waste

thinkingplace presentation

Theme 1 – living land and sea. Ideas for taking this forward:
 Environmental growth to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to work together to increase environmental, social and economic prosperity
 A land and seascape that makes this a great place to live and attracts visitors, businesses and investors underpinned by our culture, heritage and creativity
 To maximise the potential of our natural capital, including our renewable energy and strategic location for satellite and space industry
 Promote public access to our land and seascape and cultural heritage, to promote health and wellbeing for all
 Maximise TV and film links, using landscape and seascape to attract high value production and post production facilities

Theme 2 – energising entrepreneurship: thinking space.
 Build on the distinctive strengths of Cornwall’s communities (polycentric growth), such as digital connectivity of Camborne/Redruth, growing the administrative and retail centre of Truro, Newquay/Bude manufacturing, food production expertise and capacity of Bodmin etc
 A Cornwall embassy in London to attract inward investment, increase trade and government relations presence and show case products and services from Cornwall.
 Identify and energise place and citizen heroes and business ambassadors
 Mentoring and career pathways for individuals and businesses to improve performance and enable upward career progression within and between businesses, including our strong and small micro sector
Theme 3 – tourism: the catalyst for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

 Strategic approach to visitor economy and events for example Council exploring scope to reconfigure economic growth service with a Tourism Partnership and Cultural Partnership
 Deliver quality improvements across the sector to deliver a year round offer
 Capitalise on the tremendous value of brand Cornwall and Isles of Scilly and positive perceptions of our many visitors to support our place plans
Theme 4 – place of taste.
 Increase the use of the provenance of Cornwall and the IoS products to underpin quality products (for example the Taste of Scilly Food Festival)
 Promote the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly brand/s in relevant markets to increase market penetration and scale
 Develop new food and drink products and services that add value to local produce,
 Enhance the image of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as a centre of
food excellence

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Another day, another Leader’s board – and one more strategic narrative

The inaugural meeting of the Cornwall Leadership Board takes place tomorrow (Friday) at New County Hall, Truro.

Chaired by the Leader of the Council, Adam Paynter, the board is designed to show a  cross-party united front of Cornwall when dealing with Westminster and other external bodies.

Membership of the board, and it’s advisers, is a who’s who of Cornish Politics. The board is made up of 13 members – 9 democratically elected  (MPs & Councillors) and 4 non elected persons  (eg Chair of the CIOS Nature Patnership)

Are you The People’s Front for Cornwall? Or just another expensive Council Talking Shop?

However, the board will not have any powers as such and only has advisory status. Decisions will, wherever possible, be via consensus rather than a formal vote.

There has already been an informal pre-meeting of the board a couple of weeks back. It makes you wonder if this is just a public airing to tick a few boxes to make it look open and transparent whilst the real talking will go on behind closed doors. The public are welcome to attend tomorrow and it will also be webcast on the council web page.

Chair’s Blog – What can we expect from ‘Shared Prosperity Fund’, the Tory promise to replace EU money?

But Council leaders have rejected the idea that this is just another expensive talking shop, saying that the Leadership Board will replace the old ‘Devolution Monitoring Board’ and in fact should cost less to run than the old board as the CLB Leadership Board will meet less often.

What Cornwall Thinks? We’ll tell you. Details of the report Council didn’t want you to see

Tomorrow’s meeting will mostly be about the formalities and how the Board will operate in the future. A work programme for the Board will be agreed that sets out key areas of focus for the Board over the next 12 months.

Membership
 Leader of Cornwall Council *
 Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council *
 Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly *
 Vice-Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly*
 Leader of the largest opposition group on Cornwall Council *
 Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner *
 Representation of Cornwall’s Members of Parliament (x 1) *
 Chair of Cornwall Association of Local Councils *
 Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership
 Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership
 Cornwall Council Portfolio holder for Adults as the representative of the
Cornwall Health and Wellbeing Board * (noting that the chair of the HWB is
the Leader of Cornwall Council)
 Chair of Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group (signature to the Cornwall
Deal)
 President of the Chamber of Commerce
* Democratically elected

Also attending will be a room full of council officials and others.

The MP’s have agreed amongst themselves that Steve Double will attend most meetings unless there is an occasion when something is being discussed where one of the other MP’s particularly wants to attend.

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The Board may invite persons other than Board members to attend its meetings, to address the meeting, discuss issues and answer questions relevant to its agenda.

The board joins other bodies giving ‘strategic oversight’ in Cornwall, including Council Cabinet, ITI Board, Cornwall Executive Group etc.

It’s aims include

  • To provide strong and visible collective leadership of Cornwall and the Isles
    of Scilly to realise the full economic, social and environmental potential of the
    region.
  • To develop a single, unified strategic vision and shared outcome framework
    for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
  • To ensure alignment of the strategic vision and shared outcomes framework
    across constituent organisations’ strategic plans and partnership plans.

 

A standing item of the agenda of every meeting will be monitoring performance of the Cornwall Devolution Deal.

Cornwall’s Devolution Deal included a clear statement that any future deals with the Government to change the way Cornwall is run will be predicated on a strengthening of local governance. It needs to meet the Government’s ambition for visible and accountable leadership that “enables residents to understand who is taking local decisions” – a key finding of the GREG report into Cornwall’s governance.

How many empty properties in Cornwall?

The board will contribute to the publication of something called the “Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Strategic Narrative” expected in January 2018.

“With Council having endorsed the GREG recommendations, we are developing a compelling, forward looking narrative for the place which attracts the energy and investment that will be needed to address our economic, social and environmental imperatives” says the council blurb. “The Narrative will speak to the audiences we need to help shape the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly of tomorrow: government, potential investors, export markets, visitors, and those considering living and working here”

The council have employed commissioned an independent company based in Preston, Lancashire, called thinkingplace,  who have completed a ‘comprehensive engagement programme’ that will feed the ‘Narrative’. It asked for views about the future of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly from a range of people and organisations both inside and outside the Duchy.  thinkingplace will make a presentation of their findings at Friday’s meeting.

Their over-arching ‘big idea’ is – “Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly: embrace our ecosystem” with four underpinning themes :
Theme 1 – living land and sea
Theme 2 – energising entrepreneurship: thinking space
Theme 3 – tourism: catalyst for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
Theme 4 – place of taste
Drawing on their experience from elsewhere, thinkingplace has proposed a number of ideas and options to ensure the strategic narrative is delivered. these include funding a ‘Strategic Place Manager’ who would set up and oversee a private sector led “place board” to be ‘guardians of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly story and brand and to provide a strategic place led view and leadership for the promotion and development of the place regionally, nationally and internationally”

 

Back at the end of June we asked Adam Paynter “What’s the point of the new Leadership Board” :

 

 “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

Scrutiny and oversight of the Leadership  Board is provided by Cornwall Council’s Customer and Support Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, supported where possible, by the co-option of representatives from organisations on the Board.