Agenda and minutes

Stronger City Economy Scrutiny Panel - Tuesday, 18th September, 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 3 - Civic Centre

Contact: Martin Stevens  Email:

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Payal Bedi-Chadha and Cllr Christopher Haynes. 


The Chair had also invited Members of the Confident, Capable Council Scrutiny Panel to the meeting.  Apologies had been received from Cllr Paula Brookfield, Cllr Ian Brookfield and Cllr Jane Stevenson.


Cllr Bhupinder Gakhal the Chair of the initial Scrutiny Review on apprenticeships sent his apologies.  Cllr Michael Hardacre sent his apologies as a member of the initial Scrutiny Review on apprenticeships. 


Cllr John Reynolds sent his apologies as a Portfolio Holder, for which part of the Committee’s remit fell within. 


Declarations of interest

[Members are reminded that they must not participate in the discussion or voting on any matter in which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest and should leave the room prior to the commencement of the debate].




There were no declarations of interest. 


Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 98 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record].



Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2018 be approved as a correct record.     


Matters arising

[To consider any matter arising from the minutes].



The Chair referred to the resolution at the previous meeting regarding the action group approach to proactively respond to the repurposing of the City Centre.  The action group had recently been renamed, the City Centre Commission.  She asked for an update on the Commission and when it would begin work.  In response, the Head of Enterprise stated that Bill Grimsey had conducted a review on the challenges City centres were facing.  The Council in order to align themselves with the national trends coming from the Bill Grimsey review, had renamed the task force/action group a City Centre Commission.  Bill Grimsey had visited the City on the previous Monday, where Officers had discussed the City and asked for his advice and guidance on the future.  Work was still ongoing on the City Commission.  The Chair asked for a briefing note on the City Commission when the details were more established.  She asked Members of the Scrutiny Panel to contact her with any ideas for the City Commission, as she wanted the Panel to have an input into its terms of reference.



Annual Review of previous Scrutiny Municipal year pdf icon PDF 103 KB

[Heather Clark (Manager Strategic Project Funding), to present an annual review of the previous Municipal year of the Stronger City Economy Scrutiny Panel]. 


Resolved: That the report on the annual review of the previous municipal year of the Stronger City Economy Scrutiny Panel be approved. 


Scrutiny Review of Apprenticeships Update pdf icon PDF 73 KB

[To consider the progress and achievements within the “Scrutiny Review of Apprenticeships Action Plan”, following the Scrutiny Review of the City’s Apprenticeship Offer]. 


Additional documents:


The Chair gave a warm welcome to the apprentices and other witnesses in attendance at the meeting.  She referred to the apprentices as the beginning of a blue print of excellence for the City.  If the Council could ensure their own apprenticeships were being managed correctly then this would lead the way for other organisations.  The Chair stated she was keen to understand where the apprentices felt the system could be improved. 


The Director for Education stated that a Scrutiny Review on apprenticeships had been undertaken in January 2017.  The team led by the Head of Skills and Education had worked hard over the last year to put into action the recommendations arising from the review.  She was pleased to report that a Strategic Organisational Development Lead and Apprenticeship Lead had been recently appointed to the authority to help support the work. 


The Head of Skills and Education commented that the recommendations from the Scrutiny review had been turned into an action plan. One of the first priorities was for the Council to become an exemplar employer of apprentices.  The credibility of the Council throughout the City would be boosted if the Council could lead the way.  Work experience was also an important issue, including its accessibility, usefulness and access to the apprenticeship positions.  The second priority was regarding marketing and information.  They had known from speaking to young people that there was a lack of information available about apprenticeships, particularly as they were undergoing tremendous changes.   As a consequence, there was a big campaign which undertook to improve information.  The Council’s website, WorkBox, was one of the main resources used to enhance the communications and information on apprenticeships. 


The Head of Skills and Education stated there was now a School’s Strategy in place to improve their access to apprenticeships.  The Council were also looking to improve the availability of apprenticeships to vulnerable young people, particularly those with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability).  It was important to ensure the Council’s processes were accessible, that there was additional support in place and that apprenticeship opportunities were available to vulnerable people.  The Council’s apprenticeship position was still a challenge, with Wolverhampton scoring the lowest in the Black Country. The Council had however started on a significant improvement journey, which was already having an impact. 


The Strategic Organisational Development and Apprenticeships Lead stated she had focused on certain areas at the commencement of her employment with the Council.  She had been told the recruitment process was too lengthy and was not attracting people.  The Council had developed a plan to introduce a new recruitment process.  They had also increased the number of apprenticeship starts, which had increased to 89 from 45 in the previous year.  She believed there would be a rapid improvement when the new recruitment process was in place.  She had increased the number of apprenticeship standards which the Council could use. These had increased from four to 106. 


The Strategic Organisational Development and Apprenticeships Lead remarked that the ten  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 132 KB

[To discuss the Scrutiny Work Programme].


Resolved: That the workplan for the Stronger City Economy Scrutiny Panel be accepted.