To receive an Update from Cllr Rob Stewart
The Joint Scrutiny Committee received a presentation from the Chair of the Joint Committee, Councillor Rob Stewart, on the progress of the action plan developed in response to the various reviews.
He advised that the changes to the JWA, as discussed in the previous report, had been agreed by the Joint Committee and would shortly be sent to both UK and Welsh Governments. He advised that he did not expect a further round of negotiations in this regard.
In relation to the Programme Director – the advertisement was now live and it was expected that a suitable candidate would be appointed.
In relation to the Swansea Digital Project and Yr Egin, the final terms and conditions were expected shortly which would enable the Joint Committee to draw down £18m.
A further £18m was available before Christmas but is subject to various conditions being satisfied
It was noted that Neath Port Talbot had amended its projects and that these would be considered by the Joint Committee in September. In addition, it was noted that the Wellness Centre is being revised by Carmarthenshire County Council.
The first phase of the HAPs project in Swansea was now occupied and the programme isworking towards energy positive homes. It was hoped that this would address fuel poverty and that new builds would adopt this way method going forward.
Members were pleased that the money would be forthcoming, however, asked why this sum exceed the original amount expected? Cllr Stewart advised that both Swansea and Carmarthen had already spent money on the 2 projects and this would therefore be allocated to those authorities. In addition, the UK and Welsh Governments wished to give the City Deal more flexibility locally. This means that the Joint Committee willagree where the monies would be allocated. The initial £18m would have the standard terms and conditions attached to it. The second tranche of £18m would probably have terms and conditions attached in relation to the action plan developed as a result of the reviews undertaken including the appointment of a managing director.
The Joint Scrutiny Committee asked for an update on the implementation plan and was advised that it was in the process of being developed and would evolve throughout the life of the programme.
There was concern about the standard of business cases submitted toboth the UK and Welsh governments, particularly the economic cases, and Members asked what was being done to address this? In response, Members were advised that there had been changes in both the UK and Welsh Governments which had resulted in changes to their expectations and repetition of queries. The five case business model methodology was an issue, which would now be based on a portfolio approach, together with the risk analysis. There would be improved training for the staff involved, in order for them to have the correct skill set to successfully complete the business cases. The regional office would be reviewed by the managing director once appointed. The new process seemed to be working better.
The Chairperson then thanked Cllr. Stewart for his attendance at today’s meeting.