SOUTH WEST REGIONAL ASSEMBLY
NOTES OF THE REGIONAL FUTURES GROUP
24th January 2006
Old Pavilion, Somerset County Cricket Club
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
1.1 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
2.3 Mark Robins declared an interest in Natural England.
2.4 Cate Le Grice-Mack declared a financial interest as she owns a farm open to
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
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.
• 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
• 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
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
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.
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
7. Update on Natural England and the review of Rural Development
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
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
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
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.
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
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.