Report of the Corporate Director of Resources
The Committee considered a report of the Corporate Director of Resources which presented progress towards achieving the key outcomes of the council’s corporate performance framework (for copies see file of minutes).
Mr E Simmons asked as regards the information relating to unemployment levels. He noted that a good deal of time seemed to be focussed on encouraging large employers to come to the strategic sites, however, with employment in the County being around 96 percent, how were we encouraging people to come from outside of the County, with skills we needed, alongside work to help retain those that study at Durham University. He added there was the national debate as regards an aging workforce and asked how we were working to secure employment for an aging workforce. The Economic Development Manager noted that Employment Services at the Council noted a key cohort was the over 50s, with Durham Employment and Skills working with the National Skills Agency in terms of developing skills for those wanting to move into a different employment sector.
Councillor S Deinali noted that public transport, especially to the key employment sites, was important and noted many reports of buses running late and being cancelled.
She asked if a response would look at rural areas and access to employment sites or visitor sites, and what the priorities were. The Corporate Director noted that it was a challenge for County Durham, with viability issues relating to services to a number of sites. She added there were a few ways of looking to address issues, including through planning assessments and viability, with some being via condition. She noted that there had been work ongoing as regards bus services, with agreement from Cabinet in March 2022 in terms of diverting funding savings from concessionary travel towards rural services that were at risk having a reduced service as a result of the pandemic. The Corporate Director noted that in terms of employment sites, the Bus Services Improvement Plan, with DCC and the other six NE Local Authorities had submitted to Government for additional funds for services to businesses.
That the report be noted.