Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Board (Infrastructure, Investment & Inclusive Growth) - Friday, 8th December, 2023 10.30 am

Venue: Civic Hall, 1st Floor West,LS1 1UR

Contact: Becky Atherton (0113 37 88642)  Email:

Link: to View Meeting Recording

No. Item



To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 25 of the Access to Information Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded)


There were no appeals against refusals of inspection documents.


Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public

1  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.


2  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.


3  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-


  RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:-




There were no items excluded from the public domain.


Late Items

To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.


(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)


There were no late items.


Declarations of Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any interests in accordance with Leeds City Council’s ‘Councillor Code of Conduct’.


There were no declarations of interest.


Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.



Apologies were received from: Cllr M Foster (Cllr S Firth attended as a substitute), Cllr M Millar (Cllr A Rontree attended as a substitute), Cllr A Hussain (Cllr E Thomson attended as a substitute).


Cllr D Coupar also requested that her apologies be noted.



Minutes - 1 November 2023 pdf icon PDF 152 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the minutes of the meeting held on 1 November 2023.



The minutes of the 1 November 2023 were approved as a correct record.


Locality Building Review pdf icon PDF 678 KB

To receive an update from the Director of City Development on the current review of the Council’s estate.


The Chair introduced the item noting that the report in front of members provided an update on the locality building review, set in the context of the recommendations of the 2023 LGA Peer Review and the Council’s current financial challenge.


Those in attendance for this item were:


-  Cllr J Pryor (Executive Member substituting for Cllr D Coupar)

-  Angela Barnicle (Chief Officer, Asset Management & Regeneration)

-  Lee Hemsworth (Chief Officer, Community Hubs, Welfare & Business Support)

-  Mark Mills (Head of Asset Management)

-  Eve Roodhouse (Chief Officer, Culture and Economy)


Angela Barnicle outlined the progress of the Council’s estate rationalisation over the last 11 years, highlighting the focus to date on buildings which have provided office accommodation for staff.


Over that period, the programme has reduced the Council’s estate by over 125 buildings, delivered over £8m of revenue savings and generated over £25m of capital receipts through asset disposals.


Members were informed that the Council’s estate remains substantial with over 900 individually listed assets, which vary significantly in size, nature and use. The associated cost pressures linked to the maintenance of these buildings is unaffordable.


A review of the Council’s current estate is therefore underway and aims to make sure the Council’s estate better reflects the size of its services and the required use of buildings.


Members were provided with a summary of the distribution of assets across the city, categories of buildings and patterns of use. It was noted that locality buildings are often utilised for 30-50% of their capacity during opening hours whereas the target for office space utilisation is 80%. There is an ambition to improve ‘out of hours’ usage for many locality-based assets.


In response to member concern, officers confirmed that further due diligence will be required to determine whether individual buildings have any title restrictions preventing disposals or have received grant funded investment, which would include clawback provisions.


The review of locality buildings is being carried out in parallel to a separate review of how the Council delivers services in its localities, which is being led by the Director for Communities, Housing and Environment.


The Scrutiny Board was informed that the locality buildings review is being carried out in two phases. Phase 1 is focusing on data gathering to assess the number of buildings, their condition and approximate usage. This phase will also include the identification of any potential ‘quick wins’ where services can be relocated into alternative, appropriate buildings to release a community building for disposal.


Members were advised that phase 2 will see further building releases but these will be identified through the locality service transformation programme. Members were informed that this parallel review will include consideration of how to better embed multi-disciplinary teams in localities, improve the use of public facing Council owned buildings and make better use of other non-Council owned assets in communities. 


Officers provided an overview of the principles guiding their work, including aiming for a utilisation rate of at least 80% in retained building and providing a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.


Business Support In Leeds pdf icon PDF 849 KB

To receive an update from the Director of City Development in relation to the Council’s support to businesses in Leeds.


The Chair began by thanking Eve Roodhouse and her team for her recent member briefing on employment data, which was well received by members.


Cllr Marshall-Katung went on to introduce the item on business support in Leeds, noting the importance of encouraging productivity in the context of the ambitions of the Inclusive Growth Strategy.


Those in attendance for this item were:



Cllr Jonathan Pryor (Executive Member for Culture, Economy & Education)

Eve Roodhouse (Chief Officer, Culture & Economy)

Phil Cole (Head of Funding Programme and Business Support)


Members were provided with an overview of private sector businesses in Leeds, including the challenges and opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises.


Eve Roodhouse reiterated the ambitions of the relaunched Inclusive Growth Strategy and stressed the importance of helping to create local conditions that enable businesses to thrive, which in turn creates and retains good jobs in the city.


Phil Cole outlined the work of the Business Growth Service with SMEs and the role of the Key Account Management service for larger businesses. He went on to summarise activity linked to key growth and grant programmes including Ad:venture, Digital Enterprise, and Inclusive Growth Rates Relief.


Members considered the role of the employment and skills service, particularly in relation to recruitment and retention, and the ‘no wrong door’ approach to supporting businesses in Leeds.


Phil Cole highlighted the impact of the Council’s various business support programmes in terms of new jobs created, addition to Gross Value Added for the city and region, and return on investment.


Members considered the funding arrangements for this service, noting the high proportion of external funds secured by the team. Concern was raised about a planned reduction of 11% in the LCC budget for 2024/25. Members were reassured that the role that is being deleted from the Council budget is now being funded through an external source.


Members were advised that it is difficult to provide direct comparisons with performance across other cities due to differences in boundaries and populations. However, the latest data for Leeds relating to indicators such as business start ups will be provided to the Scrutiny Board as part of regular performance reporting in January.


Phil acknowledged it has been a challenging few years for many businesses. He reassured members that business stock in Leeds has, however, remained healthy and there has been 9% growth in the digital sector during a period in which other areas have seen a reduction in growth within the sector.


The Scrutiny Board welcomed the “engaged, thoughtful approach” of the Business Support Team.


Matters considered by members included:


-  Ways in which the awareness of the availability of the business support service could be evaluated.

-  The proportion of grant funding available for ‘business to business’ organisations as compared to ‘business to consumer’ organisations.

-  Incentives to encourage landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. Officers shared the example of the refurbishment of the Leeds media centre while considering the challenge and investment required to meet energy efficiency  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.


Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 330 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2023/24 municipal year.


Additional documents:


Members considered the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2023/24 municipal year and noted that a remote working group would be taking place at 9.30am on Thursday 14 December to discuss the initial budget proposals so far as they relate to the remit of the Scrutiny Board.



Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next public meeting of the Scrutiny Board (Infrastructure, Investment and Inclusive Growth) will take place on 10 January 2024 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for all Board Members at 10.15am.


The next meeting of the Scrutiny Board will take place on 10 January 2024 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for all Scrutiny Board members at 10.15am.





The meeting ended at 12.48pm.