Report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration, Economy and Growth, Durham County Council.
The Board received a report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration, Economy and Growth on the Draft Inclusive Economic Strategy and a presentation given by the Planning Team Leader, Spatial Planning, James Cook (for copy see file of minutes).
The Board were reminded that in December 2021, Cabinet agreed to developing a new strategy, and in January 2022 the Big Econ-versation was undertaken to begin this process. It was added that the findings were set out within the report and that feedback from that, the Economic Review and the Economic Statement had been used to draft the Inclusive Economic Strategy. It was explained that the Inclusive Economic Strategy had a simple ambition: more and better jobs in an inclusive, green economy. It was noted that to achieve that the Inclusive Economic Strategy framework focused on People, Productivity, Places, Promotion and Planet. The Board noted levers which were already available would be used to deliver the strategy, including assets, policies, programmes and funding, and partnerships, with a detailed action plan to be developed to support delivery against the strategy.
Councillor T Henderson asked what more the Council and partners could do to overcome barriers into employment, particularly for those with a disability. The Planning Team Leader noted the development of the action plan and in improvements such as to buildings, transport and digital technology, to help support working from home. He added another element was breaking down perceptions as regards employing those with disabilities, highlighting the small changes that can be made to enable them to work, identified as key part of the strategy.
The Director of Public Health thanked the Planning Team Leader and noted that the development had been inclusive, with the Public Health Team, along with other Council teams, having been consulted extensively. She asked how we could engage with the wider Council workforce, acknowledge the impact of health on the economy, and how the action plan would seek to maintain and grow the good working relationships. The Planning Team Leader noted that there had been a great deal of positive input from the Public Health Team in shaping the strategy and with the right people involved, for example on the working group looking at the strategy, he added that further involvement in helping to develop the action plan would be important.
The Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services noted the emphasis on the issue of skills and the transition from education into employment and noted the challenge in equipping our young people with those skills. He asked how we could take advantage of opportunities in the labour market and match up skills and young people.
The Planning Team Leader noted the strategy had picked up on the opportunities and those seeking employment and noted issues in terms of recruitment difficulties, such as the Council and the NHS.
The Chair noted that we could have a vibrant economy, however, a large issue was that of public transport and asked what could be done to improve services. The Planning Team Leader noted those issue had come through in the consultation and there would be detailed response to transport and how that linked to jobs and was one of the key issues being developed.
(a) That the Health and Wellbeing Board note the report on the Draft Inclusive Economic Strategy.
(b) That the Strategic Manager, Partnerships provide a response to the Draft Inclusive Economic Strategy on behalf of the Health and Wellbeing Board.