The item was introduced by Nigel Minns, who reminded members that levelling up was a key national priority. Work was now underway to shape a countywide approach to Levelling Up, which would be presented to Cabinet for approval in July.
Nigel Minns told the Committee that the Levelling Up White Paper had four objectives: to boost productivity, pay and living standards by growing the private sector; improve public services and spread opportunities, particularly in places where they were weakest; restore a sense of community and local pride; and to empower local leaders and communities. Additionally there were 12 national missions to help achieve these objectives; one of these was devolution. There would be a national measurement and accountability framework to monitor achievement of the objectives. The notion of levelling up was a long-term aim towards 2030 and beyond. The emerging countywide approach envisaged a dual focus on specific communities of place and communities of interest (particular cohorts and groups of people where levelling up would be most relevant) for levelling up.
Members were told the national Levelling Up missions, and how they would shape the policy for Warwickshire, were; to share the Council’s commitment to Levelling up with its communities; to complement everyone’s organisational plans and strategies; to influence current and future strategies; to recognise and build on the power of Warwickshire’s communities, partnerships, networks, and forums; and to inform the future collective work on devolution. Nigel Minns said this would complement existing strategies and help influence future strategies. The approach has been shaped through engagement with key partner organisations, and would identify targeted places, cohorts and priorities for levelling up that affected the whole county or certain places, including those at a hyper-local level.
Of the 12 national missions, three had been identified as being particularly relevant to the scope of the Committee. These were to significantly increase the number of primary school children achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and maths; narrowing the gap in healthy life expectancy; and increasing the number of people to have completed high-quality skills training.
Members’ attention was drawn towards the various existing strategies and areas of work and how they would link in the Levelling Up programme, and what funding streams were available. Some of these were very specific, such as the Nuneaton Education Strategy and the Tackling Social Inequality Strategy.
Six principles for levelling up had been identified. The first of these was to take a holistic approach and involve partner organisations. Nigel Minns said this was about levelling up Warwickshire; it was not a project specific to Warwickshire County Council and partnership working would be important in shaping the Levelling Up programme. Some of these partners would be from outside the county. The second principle was to take a long-term approach and improve things for future generations. The third principle was to identify root causes of issues, particularly the complex ones that created longstanding inequalities within communities. Nigel Minns said it was acknowledged that had this project been run ... view the full minutes text for item 4