Another day, another Leader’s board – and one more strategic narrative

The inaugural meeting of the Cornwall Leadership Board takes place tomorrow (Friday) at New County Hall, Truro.

Chaired by the Leader of the Council, Adam Paynter, the board is designed to show a  cross-party united front of Cornwall when dealing with Westminster and other external bodies.

Membership of the board, and it’s advisers, is a who’s who of Cornish Politics. The board is made up of 13 members – 9 democratically elected  (MPs & Councillors) and 4 non elected persons  (eg Chair of the CIOS Nature Patnership)

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However, the board will not have any powers as such and only has advisory status. Decisions will, wherever possible, be via consensus rather than a formal vote.

There has already been an informal pre-meeting of the board a couple of weeks back. It makes you wonder if this is just a public airing to tick a few boxes to make it look open and transparent whilst the real talking will go on behind closed doors. The public are welcome to attend tomorrow and it will also be webcast on the council web page.

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But Council leaders have rejected the idea that this is just another expensive talking shop, saying that the Leadership Board will replace the old ‘Devolution Monitoring Board’ and in fact should cost less to run than the old board as the CLB Leadership Board will meet less often.

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Tomorrow’s meeting will mostly be about the formalities and how the Board will operate in the future. A work programme for the Board will be agreed that sets out key areas of focus for the Board over the next 12 months.

 Leader of Cornwall Council *
 Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council *
 Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly *
 Vice-Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly*
 Leader of the largest opposition group on Cornwall Council *
 Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner *
 Representation of Cornwall’s Members of Parliament (x 1) *
 Chair of Cornwall Association of Local Councils *
 Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership
 Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership
 Cornwall Council Portfolio holder for Adults as the representative of the
Cornwall Health and Wellbeing Board * (noting that the chair of the HWB is
the Leader of Cornwall Council)
 Chair of Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group (signature to the Cornwall
 President of the Chamber of Commerce
* Democratically elected

Also attending will be a room full of council officials and others.

The MP’s have agreed amongst themselves that Steve Double will attend most meetings unless there is an occasion when something is being discussed where one of the other MP’s particularly wants to attend.

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The Board may invite persons other than Board members to attend its meetings, to address the meeting, discuss issues and answer questions relevant to its agenda.

The board joins other bodies giving ‘strategic oversight’ in Cornwall, including Council Cabinet, ITI Board, Cornwall Executive Group etc.

It’s aims include

  • To provide strong and visible collective leadership of Cornwall and the Isles
    of Scilly to realise the full economic, social and environmental potential of the
  • To develop a single, unified strategic vision and shared outcome framework
    for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
  • To ensure alignment of the strategic vision and shared outcomes framework
    across constituent organisations’ strategic plans and partnership plans.


A standing item of the agenda of every meeting will be monitoring performance of the Cornwall Devolution Deal.

Cornwall’s Devolution Deal included a clear statement that any future deals with the Government to change the way Cornwall is run will be predicated on a strengthening of local governance. It needs to meet the Government’s ambition for visible and accountable leadership that “enables residents to understand who is taking local decisions” – a key finding of the GREG report into Cornwall’s governance.

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The board will contribute to the publication of something called the “Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Strategic Narrative” expected in January 2018.

“With Council having endorsed the GREG recommendations, we are developing a compelling, forward looking narrative for the place which attracts the energy and investment that will be needed to address our economic, social and environmental imperatives” says the council blurb. “The Narrative will speak to the audiences we need to help shape the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly of tomorrow: government, potential investors, export markets, visitors, and those considering living and working here”

The council have employed commissioned an independent company based in Preston, Lancashire, called thinkingplace,  who have completed a ‘comprehensive engagement programme’ that will feed the ‘Narrative’. It asked for views about the future of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly from a range of people and organisations both inside and outside the Duchy.  thinkingplace will make a presentation of their findings at Friday’s meeting.

Their over-arching ‘big idea’ is – “Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly: embrace our ecosystem” with four underpinning themes :
Theme 1 – living land and sea
Theme 2 – energising entrepreneurship: thinking space
Theme 3 – tourism: catalyst for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
Theme 4 – place of taste
Drawing on their experience from elsewhere, thinkingplace has proposed a number of ideas and options to ensure the strategic narrative is delivered. these include funding a ‘Strategic Place Manager’ who would set up and oversee a private sector led “place board” to be ‘guardians of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly story and brand and to provide a strategic place led view and leadership for the promotion and development of the place regionally, nationally and internationally”


Back at the end of June we asked Adam Paynter “What’s the point of the new Leadership Board” :


 “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

Scrutiny and oversight of the Leadership  Board is provided by Cornwall Council’s Customer and Support Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, supported where possible, by the co-option of representatives from organisations on the Board.