Agenda and minutes

Towns Fund Board - Friday, 25th September, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: MS Teams

Contact: Tony Marvell, Programme Manager  email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from James Holland, Professor Geoff Layer, Patricia Willoughby, the Leader of the Council and Tutsi, Youth Council Representative.


Notification of substitute members


Ray Flynn attended for Professor Geoff Layer.


Declarations of Interest


The Chair, Ninder Johal, Owner of Nachural, declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Sandwell’s Towns Fund Board.


Minutes of the meeting of 24 July 2020 pdf icon PDF 234 KB

[To approve the minutes of the meeting of 24 July 2020 as correct record.]



That the minutes of the meeting of 24 July 2020 be approved subject to following correction:


Minute 1:

That Ben Reid’s apologies for the meeting of 24 July 2020 be recorded.


Matters arising

[To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the meeting of 24 July 2020.]


There were no matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.


Towns Fund Board Action Tracker pdf icon PDF 153 KB

[To note the outcomes of actions identified at previous meetings.]



Tony Marvell, Programme Manager, City of Wolverhampton Council (CWC) presented the Towns Fund Action Tracker which outlined the outcomes of actions agreed at the last meeting.



That the outcomes from the actions agreed at the meeting of 24 July 2020 be noted.


National Towns Fund Update

[To receive a verbal update on the Towns Fund Programme.]


Michelle Nutt, Area Director, BEIS provided an update on the progress of the National Towns Fund. It was outlined that assessment Town Investment Plans (TIPs) was still ongoing. This was scheduled to have been completed by the end of September 2020, however delays had pushed assessment timescales back. It was hoped that outcomes would be announced by October 2020.


In terms of Wolverhampton’s TIP, it was reported that there had been some clarification sought around partnership working, funding for certain projects and engagement plans, however it was clarified that a response would be provided by Richard Lawrence, Director of Regeneration, CWC to BEIS within the week so the plan could progress. It was anticipated that the Board would hear back from BEIS by October 2020.



  1. That the National Towns Fund Update be noted.

2.    That a response to BEIS’ query regarding Wolverhampton’s Town Investment plan submission would be provided by Richard Lawrence, Director of Regeneration, CWC to BEIS within a week.


Summary of Towns Investment Plan (TIP) pdf icon PDF 10 MB

[To receive a report summarising the Town Investment Plan.]


Richard Lawrence, Director of Regeneration, City of Wolverhampton Council provided an outline of the TIP document that had been distributed with the meeting papers.


It was reported that the document was available to view online on the Invest Wolverhampton website with provision for stakeholders to view the TIP and comment further. Board members were asked to circulate the document and details of the website throughout their networks and it was advised that paper copies were available upon request.


In response to a query around whether the usual social media platforms would be used to promote the TIP for maximum exposure and feedback, it was stated that support would be offered to Board members with whichever platforms they wished to use to cascade the TIP.


It was noted that methodological underpinning and partnership working were key to ensure high quality engagement that satisfied the Government’s requirements.


In response to a query around all whether all Councillors from both political parties within the Council would be briefed on how they could support the project, it was proposed that Richard Lawrence would arrange Councillor briefing sessions to this end.



  1. That the Towns Fund Board note the Summary of the Town Investment Plan (TIP).
  2. That Board members cascade the summary TIP throughout their organisational networks to encourage and gather feedback.

3.    That Richard Lawrence, Director of Regeneration, City of Wolverhampton Council would arrange briefing sessions for all elected members on how to support the TIP.


Communications and Engagement Planning

[To detail the next steps for the production of an overall programme Communications and Engagement Plan, with support from Copper Consultancy.]


Charlotte Jordan, Account Director, Copper Consultancy delivered a presentation on Communication and Engagement Planning. It was noted that to develop a plan for communication and stakeholder engagement, the Council were in the process of commissioning Copper Consultancy to advise the Towns Fund Board on best practice and how to satisfy Government requirements. It was established that the company had previously been used to support the Future High Street Fund and their involvement in this project ensured continuity.


The presentation provided an outline of the key techniques recommended to develop a robust communications and engagement plan and business case including Planning; Timelines; Engagement Methods; Monitoring and Evaluation, Governance and Structure as well as how to engage with hard to reach stakeholders and overcome barriers, such as digital exclusion. This framework would inform the planning and delivery.


It was noted that two teams would be established; one to advise the Board on what is required by the Government in terms of communication and engagement and a second team that would work alongside the Board to create a narrative for the City and support development and delivery of the Plan. A copy of the presentation slides would be shared with Board members for future reference.


It was acknowledged that Copper Consultancy would work alongside the Board in an advisory capacity but ownership and accountability for the Communication and Engagement Plan lay with the Towns Fund Board.


In respect of the £1 million funding, it was clarified that the key projects were ready to begin delivery immediately once the funds became available; it was noted that the funding had been secured and receipt of the funds was expected by the end of September 2020. An update was to be provided at the next Board meeting of progress on the Key Projects within the TIP. It was clarified that 10 key projects had been approved for areas across the City, including Wednesfield and Bilston, and a list of these projects would be shared with Board members.


In response to queries around the resources and who would be delivering the communication and engagement plan, it was clarified that the second team from Copper would be working closely alongside members of the Board to develop and deliver the plan. What that would look like was yet to be determined, but it was suggested that perhaps the existing Key Project Working Groups or a sub-committee format could be used. This would be determined during a meeting in the next week whilst the outcome of the TIP application was awaited.


It was queried whether allowances would be made for delays or lack of sufficient responses due to barriers caused by the pandemic. Concerns lay around the fact that previously used face to face methods of engagement were unfeasible or that digital exclusion may delay or prevent stakeholders from contributing virtually. It was agreed that these unprecedented challenges must be acknowledged however, creative ways to mitigate these barriers should be explored as part of the Plan.


It was acknowledged that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Any other business


There was no other business.