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A summary of the Tech Valleys Strategic Advisory Group's purpose.

Purpose

The group provides strategic advice to the Tech Valleys Sponsor Group (Welsh Government senior officials) on strategic objectives, priorities and delivery related to Tech Valleys.

Vision for Tech Valleys:

In 2027 the south Wales valleys, and Blaenau Gwent in particular, will be a globally recognised centre for the development of new technologies, to support cutting edge industry.

The vision reflects Welsh Government ambitions for economic growth, as outlined in the economic strategy Prosperity for All and supporting the Economic Action Plan.

Roles and responsibilities

The advisory group will:

  • provide advice to the Tech Valleys Sponsor Group (Welsh Government senior officials) on the strategic objectives and priorities of the Tech Valleys programme, drawing on experience and best practice and learning identified in other regions of the UK and internationally
  • monitor the ongoing progress of the Tech Valleys programme, providing a sounding board for the discussion of current issues and identifying potential opportunities for economic investment and the development of future skills within the region
  • network with contacts in business and industry, further and higher education and the public sector to facilitate greater awareness of the Tech Valleys programme, the funding process and the projects it supports, as well as promoting opportunities to support the programme and invest in the region

The advisory group will not have responsibility for approving requests for funding.

Budget

The group does not hold a budget.

Members of the group are not remunerated. Travel and subsistence expenses incurred in attending group meetings or on visits on behalf of the group will be reimbursed by the Welsh Government at the rate currently applying to members of Government Committees.

Membership

Membership of the group is open to highly experienced technology-based professionals from business and academia. It will reflect and represent industry, SMEs, entrepreneurs, local government, specialist project expertise, finance, Further and Higher Education institutions. One seat will be taken by an official from Blaenau Gwent county borough council, and at least one from a business representative.

The membership is not anticipated to exceed 13 including the chair. A single term of appointment is three years but a former member may apply to sit for up to three terms and will be considered alongside all other applications at that time. There is no exclusion on members sitting on other advisory groups at the same time.

The group will exist until September 2028.

From time to time officials from Welsh Government, seconded and additional specialist expertise may attend the group to provide advice or comment on progress with other projects. They will not become members of the group.

Recruitment to the group does not come within the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Appointments are made using a light touch process which takes into account the Nolan Principles with the appointment being made on merit following an open and transparent process.

Appointments will be made on the basis of written applications, CV and interview.

Meetings

Chair

A chair and vice chair will be appointed. Should the chair and vice chair be unavailable, group members will agree a temporary alternative for that meeting.

Frequency of meetings

The group will meet on a monthly basis, with the option to meet additionally as required. The anticipated time commitment should not exceed 18 days per year.

Attendance at meetings

Members are expected to attend meetings regularly. Appointments may be terminated, without notice, if attendance is not possible for three consecutive meetings without prior agreement with the chair.  

In addition to members of the group, meetings will routinely be attended by Welsh Government officials: the chief region officer: south, the head of strategy, operations and engagements, the programme manager and secretariat.

Quorum

The meeting must reach a quorum to proceed. A quorum shall be reached when more than 50% of members are in attendance.

Ways of working/secretariat

Meetings will normally be held virtually. Should face to face meetings be required, the general office, Ebbw Vale will be made available. The group will be guided by a work programme determined by the Tech Valleys Sponsor Group and reflect input from members of the advisory group.  

To facilitate openness, the contents of documents and discussions during group meetings must be treated in confidence. Documentation and other information provided to the group should remain confidential, and should not be disclosed unless Welsh Government has given prior written consent to the release of information.  

Documentation, including meeting notes, may be subject to access to information requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Where such requests are received, Welsh Government's standard Freedom of Information procedures will be followed. 

Timing

The group will exist between April 2020 and August 2028. Membership will be reviewed and refreshed every three years. One month’s notice of dissolution of the group may be given by Welsh Government at any time.

Appointments to the group can be terminated by either party by giving one month’s notice in writing to the chair and copied to the senior responsible officer of Tech Valleys Sponsor Group.  The chair would, in addition, give one month’s notice in writing to the chief regional officer: south.

Voting

Members of the group must exercise their best endeavours to reach a consensus on decisions. The sponsor group will be advised on decisions where there is no agreed consensus.

Disclaimer

Welsh Government reserves the right not to act on any recommendation made by the group if doing so is considered to be inappropriate.  

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