Venue: Council Chamber, District Council Offices, 2013 Mill Lane, Wingerworth, Chesterfield S42 6NG
Contact: Tom Scott 01246 217045 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor S Cornwell and Councillor B Strafford-Stephenson.
Declarations of Interest
Members are requested to declare the existence and nature of any disclosable pecuniary interests and/or other interests, not already on their register of interests, in any item on the agenda and withdraw from the meeting at the appropriate time.
Members were requested to declare the existence and nature of any disclosable pecuniary interest and/or other interest, not already on their register of interests, in any item on the agenda and withdraw from the meeting at the appropriate time.
There were no interests declared at this meeting.
To approve as a correct record and the Chair to sign the Minutes of the Growth Scrutiny Committee held on 31 October 2022.
RESOLVED – That the Minutes of the previous meeting of the Growth Scrutiny Committee held on 31 October 2022 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Scrutiny Review - Business Engagement
Interviews - • 1.00 pm - Ann Turner, Amber Mill Furniture Rural Enterprise
• 1.30 pm - Ken Eastwood, Assistant Director of Environmental
• 2.00 pm - Andrew Gascoigne, Revenues and Benefits Manager
The Chair welcomed Ann Turner (owner of the Amber Mill Furniture Rural Enterprise Centre) to the review interviews. The Chair explained that the following questions had been identified by Members to ask:
In response to Question 1, Ann Turner explained to the Committee that she received funding from the LEADER grant funding programme which she heard about in the NEDi news. Ms Turner felt that the Council could do more when promoting its business support.
In response to Question 2, Ann Turner found that getting hold of the correct officer within the Council for support could sometimes be difficult, and that several officers would need to be contacted before getting through to the right person. It was suggested that a dedicated officer could help solve this. It was stated, however, that the Officers she had been in touch with were very helpful and friendly, and that she was thankful for the help she received in accessing funding.
In response to Question 3, Ann Turner felt that businesses sometimes viewed the Council from a transactional viewpoint, and they were simply not aware of the support being offered. She suggested that more adverting could be done to make people fully aware of the business support the Council offered. She added that the Council had to gain a reputation amongst businesses for being user friendly and ready to help financially.
Members enquired if the Amber Mill Furniture Rural Enterprise Centre had liaised with the Chamber of Commerce. Ann Turner explained that she had been invited to a Derbyshire networking event from the Chamber. The Senior Regeneration Officer and Urban Designer added that the Council used to attend these networking events but ceased in 2018.
Members discussed the spaces offered by the Council for businesses to use, and felt it would be helpful for the Council to maintain a database which included the addresses and cost of each space.
In response to Question 6, Ann Turner suggested that the Council could join the KuKu Connect business networking. Members discussed the suggestion and felt that the Council needed a business enabler to join the network. The Senior Regeneration Officer and Urban Designer added that an evaluation of the Council’s networking events would be circulated to Members.
The Chair explained that Ann Turner had provided answers to all of the questions and thanked her for attending the meeting.
The Chair welcomed the Assistant Director – Environmental Health Service to the review interviews. The Chair explained that the following questions had been identified by Members to ask: ... view the full minutes text for item GSC/24/22-23
Triangulation of Evidence.
The Committee considered all of the evidence which it had received during its review of the Council’s engagement with local business.
The Committee identified areas of good practice such as:
· The issuing of grants had been very proactive
· Good feedback from the businesses the Council deal with
· Good use of technology
· Potential for revenue generating
· Promoting Council staff
Members also highlighted a number of areas for improvement. These included:
· The Council was not selling itself enough
· Finding the correct officer to contact for business advice was difficult
· Better utilisation of networking events
· Disconnect in communication between the Council and businesses
· Some businesses had a negative perception of the Council because of regulatory work
· A sub-site or dedicated area could be added on the Council website specifically to help businesses
· More campaigns to bring businesses into the District
· More looking at how other local authorities attract businesses
· Recruitment issues
RESOLVED – That the draft report on the Committee’s review be prepared and submitted to Committee for approval.
To consider the attached Forward Plan of Executive Decisions dated 15 December 2022 to 15 January 2023.
Please note, the most up-to- date Forward Plan of Executive Decisions can be accessed via the following link:-
The Committee considered the Forward Plan of Executive Decisions.
RESOLVED - That the Committee noted the information.
To consider the Committee’s Work Programme.
The Senior Scrutiny Officer explained that a draft report for the business engagement review would be presented to the Committee at its next meeting on 13 March 2023.
The Senior Scrutiny Officer gave Members an update on the ‘Connectivity in the District’ item scheduled to be considered on 13 March 2023, and advised them that the Assistant Director - Regeneration and Programmes did not believe the Council had control over placement of the phone masts. Members agreed for the item to remain on the 13 March 2023 agenda, because they believed mobile black spots was an issue the Committee still needed to consider. The Senior Scrutiny Officer stated that he would talk to Senior Officers further about the issue and look into the possibility of a Planning officer attending the 13 March 2023 meeting. He would also hold further discussions with the Chair who was absent from the meeting.
RESOLVED – That the Committee agreed the work programme for the 2022-23 municipal year.
Additional Urgent Items
To consider any other matter which the Chair of the Committee is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.
Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Growth Scrutiny Committee is scheduled to take place on Monday 13 March 2023 at 1.00 pm.
The next meeting of Growth Scrutiny Committee was scheduled to take place on 1.00pm 13 March 2023.