Report of the Service Director, Legal and Governance, requesting that the Panel consider the comments made by the invited guests and use the information provided as evidence in the review.
The Panel considered the report of the Director of Legal and Governance regarding the policy framework supporting the growth of the AI and data driven economy.
Following discussions with invited representatives the following information was received:
Interim Service Director for Growth, Southampton City Council – Denise Edgehill
· Informed the Panel that the Industrial Strategy had received widespread support from across business, local government, trade bodies and academia since its publication in November 2017.
· The strategy sets out proposals to boost productivity by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.
· Outlined the determination across the city to take advantage of the opportunities presented through the AI Grand Challenge and the connections through the Web Science Institute to Government.
Chief Executive of Solent Local Enterprise Partnership - Anne-Marie Mountifield
· Outlined how the Solent LEP was planning to deliver locally the objectives outlined in the national Industrial Strategy.
· Recognised that, despite the assets in the region, productivity in the Solent area was below the national and regional average (- 8%) and the skills profile of the population needed to improve if the area was to take full advantage of the forthcoming opportunities and the growth potential in the region.
· Skills and connectivity were big challenges in the Solent area.
· The Solent LEP had invested significant resources to help unlock transformational growth in the region, invest in start-up businesses and bring industry together with skills. Including the Careers Enterprise Advisory Network where advisors were linked to each secondary school helping to build bridges with industry.
· Solent LEP was working with the Web Science Institute and other areas within the University of Southampton to look at opportunities to work in different, creative ways and equipping individuals to embrace new ways of working.
· Government had tasked LEP’s to develop Local Industrial Strategies that align with UK priorities. Government would aim to agree all places’ Local Industrial Strategies in England by early 2020.
· Agreeing a Local Industrial Strategy with Government would be a necessary condition for Local Enterprise Partnerships to draw down any future local growth funding.
· Opportunity for this inquiry to help inform the Solent Industrial Strategy.
Chair of the University of Southampton’s Web Science Institute Advisory Board – Tom Barnett & Service Lead for Policy, Partnerships and Strategic Planning in Southampton City Council – Felicity Ridgway
· Provided an explanation of the new inter-disciplinary academic field of Web Science. Web Science studies the interaction between technology and human behaviour. The University of Southampton’s Web Science Institute was a leading centre in the field of Web Sciences.
· Tom had helped to establish a fund with the Solent LEP and the University of Southampton called Z21. The mission of the fund was to accelerate University of Southampton Web startups towards investment and rapid growth and create high-tech jobs in the Solent region.
· Felicity and Tom provided the Panel with an oversight of an innovative ‘Smart City’ development project between Southampton Connect and the Web Science Institute of the University of Southampton.
· Details of the collaborative project could be found here (Southampton Connect and WSI collaboration):
· The £100k fund was to be used as leverage to attract additional funding. The concept was based on the opportunity to utilise data held across the city to help address some of the problems and challenges in Southampton.
· The first challenge that they were looking to address related to Virtual Infrastructure.
RESOLVED that the comments made by representatives from Denise Edghill, Interim Director of Growth, Southampton City Council, Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Executive of Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, Tom Barnett, Chair of the University of Southampton’s Web Science Institute Advisory Board and Felicity Ridgway, Service Lead for Policy, Partnerships and Strategic Planning, Southampton City Council be noted and used as evidence in the review.