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Economy and Enterprise

Devon County Council

OPE Partnership Board Minutes – 19 July 2023


Last Updated


Melanie Sealey, Keir Duffin, Alison Hayward, Catherine Turner, David Boocock, Iyesha Conteh, David Halewood, Dominie Dunbrook, Ella Proudman, Iain Masters, Ian Collinson, Leroy Venn, Mathew Chetwynd, Mike Deaton, Paul Britton, Suzanne Bond, Romilly Beard, Rosa Payne, Sarah Jane Mackenzie-Shapland, Tim Child, Hannah Keyte (Minutes)


Adrian Welsh, Alan Denby, Andrew Collier, Andrew Wood, Chris Shears, Chris Watts, Claire Cushion, Dan Field, Dave Harwood, Jody James, Kevin Mills, Laura Haynes, Neil Blaney, Richard Marsh, Sean Kearney

1. Meeting date changes – Melanie Sealey

Meetings have been rescheduled to Wednesdays following feedback that Monday mornings caused multiple clashes for attendees. The OPE/ DPB shared agenda was piloted, and a form will be circulated in due course to obtain feedback for future meetings including frequency, content, etc.

2. OPE Update BLRF submissions / Public Sector Land Protocol – Keir Duffin

Not yet received feedback following BLRF Submission of bids from Torridge, Mid Devon, Torbay and Devon.

Keen to obtain responses from districts on Public Sector Land Protocol. ACTION: Keir Duffin to resend the protocol after this meeting and would welcome responses from everyone.

3. DCC Estates – Leroy Venn

Leroy Venn took a paper to DCC SLT last week outlining a proposal for properties going forward. A paper will be submitted to Cabinet in August seeking sign off on some of these property decisions. Prior to this, seeking to engage with districts to identify how we may be able to support each other with any properties, co-location opportunities etc.

Leroy invited all attendees to reach out if there are any opportunities they wish to discuss.

Currently piloting the use of PowerBI to plot assets. Happy to share data with colleagues but as the PowerBI report is still in development, this cannot be shared yet. Would welcome any data from districts to look at developing a shared PowerBI.

DCC has significant challenges with short term housing for clients within Social Services. If there are any opportunities for housing (short, medium or long term) please do let Leroy know.

ACTION: Leroy Venn to produce and circulate a high-level slide deck / brochure of sites for consideration. It was also requested that the DCC Asset Disposal Policy is shared.

Discussion around scheduling Estates as a standing item on the agenda or setting up a sub group to discuss in detail more regularly.

Previously e-PIMS was going to be used for knowledge / data sharing. ACTION: Tim Child and Leroy Venn to discuss opportunities in East Devon and sharing of information.

4. Homes England – Catherine Turner

Currently going through some staffing changes and at present there is no lead for Devon. Will update on this as and when a lead is confirmed.

Catherine Turner talked through a presentation on the Homes England Strategic Plan that was launched a couple of months ago, covering 2023-2028. The presentation covered the focus of the new strategic plan, the strategic objectives and how they will be delivered.

The focus includes regeneration and housing supply; place-based working with an emphasis on supporting local leaders to deliver in their towns, cities and rural communities; ambitious approach to partnership working across the public and private sector; and championing environmental sustainability design and beauty in the homes and places that we support. Pending announcement on Brownfield Land and Infrastructure Loan Fund. Process of continuous market engagement. ACTION: All to contact Rosa Payne asap if there are any projects that may benefit from infrastructure grant funding.

Discussion around the connectivity between Brownfield Land Infrastructure Programme and the Brownfield Land Renewal Fund (BLRF) with OPE. The difference is around the scale of these programmes however they can be used together as they have slightly different outputs.

Suzanne Bond asked what the metric is in terms of loan funding. Catherine Turner advised there is not a particular metric, every project will be reviewed and considered individually.

5. OPE Regional Update – Paul Britton

Paul Britton advised still pending ministerial sign off for the current round of BLRF.

Currently there are 22 projects in Devon, so please do keep Paul Britton appraised of what is working well and if there are any delays etc.

There are 8 active OPE Projects and Paul Britton requested updates on remaining spend. ACTION: Keir Duffin to co-ordinate information on remaining spend including any underspend for the 8 active projects and update Paul Britton.

Please do update Paul Britton either directly via email or through reporting to showcase how successful OPE has been.

Future Meeting Dates

Wednesday 8th November 2pm – 4pm