SOUTH WEST REGIONAL ASSEMBLY NOT

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               SOUTH WEST REGIONAL ASSEMBLY

          NOTES OF THE REGIONAL FUTURES GROUP

                       24th January 2006
           Old Pavilion, Somerset County Cricket Club
                            Taunton

Present:
Brian Clements           Borough of Poole
Ian Ducat                UNISON
Pat Hockey               South Gloucestershire Council
Cate Le Grice-Mack       Regional Environmental Network
Joanna Lewin-Harris      Taunton Deane Borough Council
Nicky Morrison           Great Western Enterprise
Heather Pencavel         SW Council of Faiths/SW Churches Regional Forum
Mark Robins              RSPB South West Region
Roy Slack                Exeter City Council
Chanel Stevens           North Somerset Council
Humphrey Temperley       Devon County Council
Alun Thomas              Bath Spa University College
Barrie Thompson          Swindon Borough Council
Ian West                 Wiltshire County Council
John Wilkinson           CBI – South West Region

Also in Attendance:
Nick Chase               South West Regional Assembly Secretariat
Hannah Hickman           South West Regional Assembly
Bryony Houlden           South West Regional Assembly
Jane Lavick              South West Regional Assembly
Nicky Robinson           South West Regional Assembly
Rachel Smith             South West Regional Assembly

1.    Apologies

1.1   Apologies were received from Jane Barrie, Ruth Coleman, Ruth Davis,
      Richard Eberlie, Terence Farmer and Rex Sadler.

2.    Declarations of Interest
2.1   Cate Le Grice-Mack, Chanel Stevens and Heather Pencavel declared
      connections with Fairtrade.
2.2   Bryony Houlden declared an interest as a Sustainability South West board
      member.

2.3   Mark Robins declared an interest in Natural England.
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2.4   Cate Le Grice-Mack declared a financial interest as she owns a farm open to
      the public.

3.    Notes of the last Meeting – Paper A

3.1   The notes of the last meeting on 2nd November 2005 were agreed and signed
      by the chair.

4.    Integrated Regional Strategy Delivery Plan - Update

4.1   Hannah Hickman introduced the paper updating on delivery plan work.

4.2   The following comments were made:

      •     It was noted that the delivery plan will be published in the consultation
            period for the RSS. Questions about the relationship between the IRS
            delivery plan and the RSS were therefore asked.
      •     Members were keen that the Regional Assembly should learn from
            others about the development of web based tools and raised the issue
            of how the delivery plan information would be kept up-to-date.
      •     Members undertook to ensure that the delivery plan work help ensure
            that integration is happening locally?
      •     Some unhappiness was expressed about the RDA leading on the ‘great
            debates’.

      NOTE         Members agreed to the change to the timetable and the proposal
                   of a sub-group.

      It was agreed on a sub-group for indicators being used to cross-check the
      wider work on the IRS delivery plan. Mark Robins, John Wilkinson, Nicky
      Morrison, Brian Clements, Humphrey Temperley and Joanna Lewin Harris
      noted their interest subject to timings of meetings and capacity.

      Development of IRS Indicators

4.3   Nick Chase advised that he had set up a small workshop with John Wilkinson
      and Mark Robins, to assess the approach to the identification of indicators.
      The next step is to look at the key indicators in more depth.

4.4   Members made the following comments:

      •     Concern was expressed about the danger of having too many
            indicators. There need to be ‘clever’ indicators which cover many
            areas, and measure across many areas. E.g. affordable housing
            indicator – there is a need to look at the environmental and economical
            performance of housing in conjunction with this indicator. It was
            suggested that approximately 20 indicators that are relevant and
            robust, sound, simple and multifunctional are needed. Healthy life
            expectancy was noted as being a smart indicator.
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      •     Members asked if it was possible to group the indicators under the
            aims of the IRS and for indicators to relate clearly to the outcomes of
            the IRS.
      •     There is a need to choose compatible indices with those who are
            delivering, e.g. through other regional strategies.
      •     Members were concerned to ensure that indicators selected are
            sufficiently integrated and are not so theme focussed.
      •     Members noted that the interpretation of statistics is the difficult bit
            and they must be interpreted properly. It’s not just what they are, but
            what they are used for.
      •     Members were interested in the Assembly conducting a further public
            opinion survey.

5.    Review of the Regional Sustainable Development Framework

5.1   Members supported the proposed ongoing relationship between the IRS and
      the RSDF. They wished to emphasise that any development of the RSDF into
      an appraisal tool needed to ensure that it was simple and easy to use.
      Members also noted that there are a number of pre-existing tools so the
      region should use its resources widely in developing another.

5.2   Members noted that this item provided a good opportunity to discuss the
      work and relationship of the Regional Assembly and Sustainability South
      West. Members felt that Sustainability South West has not taken, or been
      given, enough of a profile.

      Members noted the need to look at how Sustainability South West is funded
      in order that they can deliver more effectively.

      Members noted a recent report suggesting that secular bodies interested in
      sustainability should involve faith communities as they have a good record in
      relation to the sustainable development agenda.

      Members suggested that we need an information point for organisations to
      find out who they can make their companies more sustainable. It was
      suggested that it isn’t surprising that the private sector is more signed up to
      long term sustainability as this equals long term profitability.

      Members agreed that the region needs an action plan to see how many of the
      next steps in relation to sustainable development are happening. We also
      need to look at the role, funding and expectations of Sustainability South
      West, and to look at the individual advice tailored to organisations within the
      region.

6.    Potential for the South West to become a Fairtrade region

6.1   Rachel Smith advised that this Paper B was to find out how the South West
      can become a Fairtrade region, not a justification to become a Fairtrade
      region. The next steps are identified in Section 6.
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6.2   Chanel Stevens commended the report. He noted that, if we assume that
      there is widespread support, he would propose that under the next steps we
      adopt point 2 – to reach the Fairtrade criteria, and take this target. He also
      suggested that at point 3 we declare the South West as a Fairtrade region only
      once all the South West local authorities are signed up to Fairtrade.

6.3   Members disagreed with Chanel Stevens proposal to declare the South West
      as a Fairtrade region only once all 51 of the local authorities are signed up.
      This was considered an overambitious target and it was proposed the region
      declares once 2/3 or ¾ of the region are signed up.

6.5   Some Members commented that the Fairtrade label indicates a process for
      individual products and asked to what extent declaring the South West as a
      Fairtrade region would really be of benefit.

6.6   Members agreed with the recommendation that a South West Fairtrade
      Forum is set up to look at taking the work forward. Members suggested
      having an event during Fairtrade fortnight – 6th to 19th March 2006.

6.6   Bryony Houlden advised that the Regional Assembly uses Fairtrade produce
      at its offices, but it is not always possible to have Fairtrade products at all
      events as some venues have contracts. However, it may be possible to
      negotiate with venues and other authorities to use local providers and
      Fairtrade only.

7.    Update on Natural England and the review of Rural Development
      Regulations

7.1   The update was a request at the meeting of 2nd November 2005.

7.2   Members supported the recommendation that ERN develop a concordat with
      Natural England.

7.3   Members noted that, although there are regional voices in several areas, there
      is no regional voice for the environment. There are large public bodies
      working for the environment, but how the issue of how they are scrutinised
      was raised.

      Members raised the fact that the South West receives £35m from the
      government for SSSI management (which is more than pro-rata land cover).
      This spend has been slashed by the European government. They hoped that
      the Regional Assembly will be lobbying the South West’s interests to fill the
      40% gap.

7.4   It was agreed that the Secretariat would follow up detailed points with Cate Le
      Mack-Grice and Mark Robins.

8.    Regional Economic Strategy – verbal update

8.1   Members noted that the Executive will be asked to sign off the RES at its
      meeting on 10th February.
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       Final Regional Economic Strategy to be circulated to all Regional Futures
       Group Members once agreed by the Executive Committee.

9.     Any Other Business

9.1    Proposal for Energy Review
       Cate Le Grice-Mack reiterated the SEEPs proposal for an energy review. This
       has not yet happened – energy is under scrutiny, but it does not cover all the
       points.

       Members noted the underlying problem of staffing and budget, but advised of
       a need to persuade the Regional Development Agency and Government Office
       for the South West that it is an important project. The Regional Development
       Agency may have the funding to undertake this project.

9.2    Racial Equality Strategy/Tobacco Strategy
       Chanel Stevens raised the issue of the lack of a Racial Equality or Tobacco
       Strategy. Members agreed that these are important issues, but discussed
       whether regional strategies are necessarily a solution.

10.    Date of Next Meeting

10.1   The next meeting will take place on 21st March 2006.




Chair (signature)………………………………………….

Date …………………………………………………………….