Birmingham’s Regional Action Plan (RAP) was implemented as part of the PURE COSMOS project, it continues to support the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) Industrial Strategy and seeks to streamline processes for businesses to transact and do business with Birmingham City Council and the wider West Midlands Combined Authority.
Following engagement with stakeholders, four main actions were agreed and form part of the RAP, these are:
1. Enhancing regulatory support services
2. Business intelligence and data driven decision making
3. New approaches to innovative public sector procurement
4. Next Generation digital infrastructure and technologies.
It’s been a challenging time as we come out of the first year of the implementation phase of these actions, with lots of work being progressed by areas of the Council and its stakeholder partners. A lot of work has been taking place with regards to 5G technology deployment and we have worked closely with WM5GLimited supporting its delivery framework. Alongside this, the Council has been working with the Government on Barrier Busting Group to remove obstacles and issues that will slow down the 5G infrastructure build; working with LA’s to provide wayleaves more easily and providing access to public sector assets to support roll-out for infrastructure which has seen the recent installation of the 5G masts.
Action 3 has seen the Council continue to report annually on the social value outcomes achieved through its commissioning and procurement activities. All social value commitments are approved by Cabinet Members and become contractually bidding upon contract commencement. The Charter is now a Council-wide approach to ensure a consistent and efficient mechanism for the capture and reporting of social value data; and this was extended to include IT requirements with the transition of the IT contract from Capita back to BCC in 2019.
In parallel to this, the Council are a key stakeholder of the Project Delivery Framework group which continues to support and shape the development of the West Midlands Open Data Analytics supporting Action 2. Birmingham attends regular workshops and outcomes are monitored by dedicated stakeholders at TfWM.
Under Action 1, Birmingham City Council has implemented the Licensing Business Plan 2019–2023, one of its key initiatives is Improving Systems and Processes which includes the replacement of the licensing software system to improve efficiency; implementing Channel Shift – development and implementation of a new operating model reflecting changes brought about by channel shift; and online transactions - changing ways of interaction and providing greater flexibility for service users.
A new approach has also been defined and established by the Commonwealth Games 2022; with the creation of the Birmingham 2022 Portal: a one-stop shop for Games contracts and opportunities for Birmingham 2022 which is underpinned by Find It in Birmingham providing the digital tools to support and engage SMEs. Find it in Birmingham promotes local opportunities to local businesses transparently, working with global organisations to engage with the local supply chain.
Over the next year, the COSMOS project team will continue to work with its partners and monitor these actions and progress and continue to ensure the Regional Action Plan is aligned with the West Midlands Industrial Strategy.
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Thank you to all our partners & colleagues for their continued support in 2021.