David Smith (Director of Economic Development) and Sarah Nurden (Kent and Medway Economic Partnership Strategic Programme Manager) were in attendance for this item.
1. Mrs Nurden introduced the report that set out the Government reforms of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), the activities that would be undertaken by SELEP to ensure compliance; and the consequences for SELEP of non-compliance. Prior to Members’ comments on the proposed recommendation that Kent County Council remained a partner of SELEP, Mrs Nurden informed Members of the typographic error within paragraph 3.6.2 of the report and confirmed that the SELEP Deputy Cabinet Member should read SELEP Deputy Chairman.
2. The Officers and Cabinet Member responded to comments and questions as follows:
(a) Mrs Nurden informed the Committee that due to political uncertainties it was premature to determine future funding streams; however, the Government had announced that European Structural Investment Funding (ESIF) would continue to be allocated through SELEP.
(b) In response to queries regarding the representation and substitution of Board Members, Mrs Nurden assured the Committee that under the new governance arrangements, the Company Director position could be offered to the Leader, or Executive of the Council if the Leader were unable to attend. The nominated representative would have to be registered at Companies House.
(c) Mrs Nurden confirmed that on 4 October 2019, the SELEP Strategic Board agreed its approach to recruiting 20 Company Directors, 5 Co-opted Directors; and Company Membership for SELEP (as set out within paragraph 3.6 and 3.7 of the report). KCC paid an annual contribution of £72.5k to be part of SELEP.
(d) In response to the Membership of the Board, Mrs Nurden confirmed that out of the 20 Company Directors, 7 of those would be from Kent and Medway and would consist of the Leader of Kent County Council, the Leader of Medway Council and 5 business individuals from the Kent and Medway area (the proposal was to select these from the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership). The Government had also introduced diversity targets to increase the proportion of women on the SELEP. With regard to the District Council selection process, the SELEP had agreed that for the first year, the Co-opted Directors would be nominated from the District Councils within the Kent County Council administrative area and the other would be an Essex District Councillor. The 12 District Councillors in Kent would be asked to choose their nominee and it would be for the District Council Leaders to choose who the nominee would be to represent the Kent District Councils.
(e) Mr Whiting (Cabinet Member for Economic Development) acknowledged Members’ discontent in the democratic deficit within SELEP under the new Government arrangements and assured Members that all efforts had been made to rally against the federated structure. Mr Whiting affirmed that Kent County Council would continue to push for financial investment in order to achieve the best outcome for the people and businesses of Kent.
(f) With regard to liability and insurance, Mr Nurden confirmed that ... view the full minutes text for item 196