Sean Pearce and Sukhy Dhanoa presented a report on a proposed method of prioritising schemes for the Investment programme using the prioritisation criteria agreed by WMCA Senior Management Team. The report detailed the process for developing and implementing the prioritisation model.
The Chair advised of comments from Nick Abell which had been forwarded to him in relation to the proposed scoring system. The comment questioned whether it was appropriate for the Investment Board to determine the system or whether this should fall to the WMCA Board. Sean Pearce reminded the Board that the proposed prioritisation model had been considered at the last meeting and that the minutes of this meeting, including recommendations, would be presented to the WMCA Board in due course for approval. Tim Martin confirmed this to be the case albeit that a separate report addressing this issue could be prepared and presented to the WMCA Board if that was considered to be preferable.
In response to a question from Councillor Jim O’Boyle as to the purpose of the report and the difficulties with using the existing criteria, the Chair explained that the proposals related to the ‘Change Control’ process where no criteria existed currently. Sean Pearce reminded the Board that the need for a ‘Change Control’ process to be introduced had been considered at the last meeting of the Board when the draft proposals had been approved. Councillor Jim O’Boyle sought confirmation that the intention was that all projects were to be considered on a fair and equitable basis and whether the respective Local Enterprise Partnerships operated a similar scoring system. Sukhy Dhanoa confirmed this to be the case and that examples of similar systems operated by other Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships had been considered. The proposed model was, however, based on that used by HM Government Treasury.
Councillor Kurshid Ahmed referred to paragraph 3.22 of the report which detailed key West Midlands initiatives including HS2, Commonwealth Games and Coventry City of Culture and expressed concern that the Black Country Authorities would be disadvantaged as they would not receive direct benefits in terms of Inclusive Growth from these particular initiatives. He requested that this be addressed in the proposed criteria. The Chair advised that in terms of HS2 this related to the Connectivity Package and associated infrastructure from which the Black Country would benefit.
Henry Kippin reported on work that his team were undertaking to understand and apply Inclusive Growth across the CA policy agenda - including an inclusive growth framework which was agreed by the WMCA board at its September 2018 meeting, and a toolkit to support its application into practice. He agreed to work with officers to ensure this is reflected within criteria 1.
1. That the proposed prioritisation criteria and the scoring mechanism as detailed in the report be approved and the Programme Management Office be tasked to progress the prioritisation exercise as set out in section 4 of the report;
2. That the reference to ‘HS2’ in paragraph 3.22 of the report be amended to ‘HS2 Connectivity Package’;
3. Henry Kippin would work with officers to ensure Inclusive Growth is reflected within criteria 1.