Agenda and minutes

Culture and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Commission - Thursday, 25 April 2024 5:30 pm

Venue: Meeting Room G.01, Ground Floor, City Hall, 115 Charles Street, Leicester, LE1 1FZ

Contact: Edmund Brown Governance Officer, Email:  Katie Jordan, Governance Officer, tel: 0116 4542616, Email:

No. Item




There were no apologies for absence.





Members were asked to declare any interests they may have had in the business to be discussed.


There were no declarations of interest.




The minutes of The Culture and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Commission held on 29th January 2024 are attached and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record.


It was noted that the item ‘Minutes of the Previous Meeting’ erroneously referred to Children, Young People and Education Scrutiny Commission.  This would be corrected.

Other than the above it was


That the minutes of the meeting of the Culture and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Commission held on 29 January 2024 be confirmed as a correct record.





The Chair referred to the passing of Shaikh Adam Luna and thanked all Council teams and officers involved with the Funeral, noting that the occasion was well organised and went smoothly.



The Monitoring Officer to report on any questions, representations and statements of case received in accordance with Council procedures.


The Monitoring Officer reported that none had been received.



The Monitoring Officer to report on any petitions received in accordance with Council procedures.


The Monitoring Officer reported that none had been received.



The Director of Corporate Services submits a report to provide an overview of the advancements and future direction of the Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Engagement Strategy.

Additional documents:


The Director of Corporate Services submitted a report to provide an overview of the advancements and future direction of the Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Engagement Strategy.

Additionally, the report included a status update on the CrowdFund Leicester platform, highlighting its role in supporting community projects throughout the city, and updated the Commission on the arrangements in place for managing volunteering in the Council using the Assemble platform.

The Assistant City Mayor for Communities, Adult Learning, Jobs and Skills introduced the report and noted that in September 2023 a report had been brough t the Commission.  Since then, the first VCSE strategy was launched in November 2023 by the Council.  He further noted that it was most important that once the strategy was in place it was necessary to think about how it would be implemented and how various sectors would be worked with including business sector.  The action plan had been worked on and was now being brought to the Commission.

The Director of Corporate Services, the Executive Support Officer for Corporate Services, the Volunteer Coordinator for Arts & Museums (coordinating volunteers across Culture) and the VCSE Engagement Manager attended the meeting to assist with discussions.

The VCSE Engagement Manager highlighted some key points, including:

  • The VCSE Strategy had been launched on 28 November 2023 and valuable insights had been gained form sector members and partners.  The strategy spanned until 2027 and contained the six pledges as discussed at the Commission in September.  The strategy showed outcomes and acknowledged the need to be adaptable.
  • The internal delivery plan was developed to help with the effective execution of the strategy, such as actions and timelines, the responsibility of the engagement team, and the optimisation of resource allocation.
  • There was a commitment to transparency and engagement and work was being carried out both internally and externally to support the sector.
  • An inclusive approach was taken to deliver the strategy, such as reviewing the delivery plan, being involved in in Leicester City Council project forums, and fostering a sense of ownership and alignment with community needs and aspirations.
  • Efforts to explore joint working on funding bids were being monitored and were progressing.
  • The sector was being supported in the context of ongoing budget cuts such as the work with the Community Foundation, where the VCSE engagement team’s role focussed on enabling collaboration, providing infrastructure support and empowering self-sustainability within the VCSE sector, emphasising that adaptability and active listening to sector leaders, and initiatives to develop relationships between the VCSE and business sectors.
  • This included an event upcoming in June 2024 to help to build relationships between businesses and the VCSE and encouraging meaningful collaboration.
  • Engagement with ward councillors aimed to strengthen ties and understand local needs better. It also aimed to support for VCSE initiatives and promote effective local solutions tailored to each ward.
  • The CrowdFund Leicester update noted 32 different projects had been supported and over £430k had been raised with community backers.
  • 27 successful projects had reached their full target.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 59.



The Vice-Chair submits a report providing an overview of the Commission’s examination of Ward funding and how it is distributed.


Additional documents:


The Vice-Chair, as Chair of the informal scrutiny task group, submitted a report providing an overview of the Commissions examination of Ward Community Funding.

The Vice-Chair thanked the officers involved.

Key points included:

  • The allocation of ward funding had been considered with consideration to the proportionality of funding to ward size and whether it was a two- or three-member ward.
  • The criteria and priorities for ward funding had been considered by the group.
  • Implications around the potential for multi-ward applications were considered by the group.
  • The group had looked at whether there was sufficient information on the application process given the resources available to groups.
  • The conclusions were set out in the report.  Some key conclusions highlighted included:
    • It was good to put an emphasis on organisations that could provide match funding.
    • Language could be added to the policy around multiple applications.
    • Emphasis should be put on setting ward priorities at the beginning of the year.
    • More information could be provided for bids of over £500.
  • The Commission were directed to the recommendations in the report and asked to consider them.


The Committee were invited to ask questions and make comments. Key points included:

  • The report was welcomed as the benefits of ward funding helped smaller community organisations.
  • The group spent much time discussing what this money meant to smaller groups.
  • Wards should set priorities for funding and there should be a focus on value for money.
  • Larger groups had an advantage in resources, including having experts to fill in application forms.  As such this work aimed to benefit smaller organisations.
  • Consideration had been given to the issues surrounding having to wait for one of the three meetings in a year to apply for funding. One of the recommendations was for this to no longer be the case so that community organisations could have a smoother process for applications of over £500.  This was important as if an event fell between meetings, it may be that funding could not be applied for until after the event had passed.  Applications should be considered in good time and not retrospectively.
  • Councillors should be offered additional training on the consideration of applications and the awarding of ward funding.
  • Whilst the group had acknowledged the fact that wards received the same funding regardless of size, redistribution would be difficult without taking money from other wards.  Additionally, deprivation in wards would need to be considered as well as size.
  • With regard to larger organisations applying for funding, it was suggested that consideration be given to their accounts when considering the application.
  • Ward funding was greatly needed in terms of communities, and it was important to retain as some organisations could not function without it.
  • It was critical that Ward Councillors had control over this.  As such, a further meeting of the group was suggested to include Executive Members so that they could report progress to the group, for example, by suggesting what training opportunities could look like and how ward priorities could be set.  Additionally,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.



The Director of Tourism, Culture and Inward Investments submits a report to update the Commission Members on the progress to date made on the delivery of actions outlined in the Leicester Tourism Action Plan 2020-2025.

Additional documents:


The Director of Tourism, Culture and Inward Investments submitted a report to update the Commission Members on the progress to date made on the delivery of actions outlined in the Leicester Tourism Action Plan 2020-2025.

Slides were presented (attached).

Key points included:

  • The report showed the importance of tourism as a sector.
  • The UK tourism industry had shown a drop as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Domestic tourism had largely recovered, but overseas tourism had declined.
  • The number of nights spent from people visiting family and friends had increased.
  • Overall, the tourism sector was worth £74bn to the UK, which was 3.6% of the whole economy.  When the indirect impact of tourism, such as supply chain, was factored in, it was worth £134bn to the economy.
  • Performance indicators were taken from STEAM research on tourism impact modelling. This was a bottom-up approach that took data from businesses.  The percent changes needed to achieve the 2025 targets were shown on the slide (as attached).
  • The effects of the pandemic were still being felt, and as such it was uncertain whether the number of visitors target for 2025 would be met.
  • Jobs safeguarded in the tourism industry were down due to Brexit and people being more reluctant to work in the hospitality industry.
  • Trend data was shown (see attached slides) it showed the percentage change since 2011 was positive.  Three footfall counters in the city centre had shown recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, however, recovery had slowed at the beginning of 2024 due to the cost-of-living crisis and bad weather.
  • Challenges to the industry included:
    • Brexit.
    • The need for a travel authorisation card for travellers, even if in transit, dissuading people from coming through the UK.
    • Businesses taking on more debt.
    • Minimum wage increases and staff shortages.
    • The abandonment of the Youth Mobility Scheme.
    • The removal of tax-free shopping.
    • The falling perception of the UK as a tourist destination.
  • Tourism Trends were noted as set out in the report.
  • The plan had been developed closely in parallel with Tourism Growth Plan for Leicester and Leicestershire designed to complement each other.
  • There was support for a strong, distinctive and visible destination through the brand campaign, ‘Uncover the Story’.
  • Considerable progress had been made despite the challenges of Covid.   Product development had moved forwards and brand campaigns Uncover the Story, Fitcation and Taste the Place have been launched by the Place Marketing team.
  • The plan was organised around 4 themes – Product, Place, Positioning and People.
  • The ‘Product’ included tourist attractions such as Jewry Wall, Leicester Cathedral & Heritage and Learning Centre, the Great Central Railway the King Richard III Visitor Centre, The National Space Centre, The Phoenix, Leicester Market, the Curve, DeMontfort Hall, Mattioli Arena, Itineraries and Trails (including Heritage Panels and riverside and waterways), New leisure venues and new restaurants, as set out in the report.  Additionally, 5 new hotels had opened since 2020.
  • The ‘Place’ included:



The current version of the Work Programme is attached. Members of the Commission will be asked to forward any item they wish to consider on the work programme for the Commission to the Chair or the Governance Services Officer.


The work programme was noted. 




There being no further items of urgent business, the meeting finished at 19:36.