Agenda item

Brexit Scenario Assessment

Minutes:

Director of Policy & Strategy introduced the report for the Members.  Some of the officers who had helped prepare the report were also in attendance to respond to questions. 

 

Bristol City Council is taking steps to ensure that it is prepared for Brexit. This report considers

the potential implications for the council of a ‘No Deal Brexit’ and some of the wider organisational consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Threats and opportunities are considered against seven work-streams.

 

It was explained that the report is not what officers think will happen but is a scenario assessment to help plan and scale back action and provide guidance for the Council, not the City as a whole.  There will also be a wider plan coming from the Bristol Brexit Group in due course.

 

The following points were discussed:

  • Members asked about the risk rating of the pressures on the workforce and supply chain in the social care sector and the likelihood of it leading to disruption given that there is already an 11% vacancy rate.  Officers said that this had been assessed through the risk matrix but that it may need to be scored again as it was possible that the assessment had been slightly optimistic.
  • A Member asked about the levels of EU trade is coming in through our water ports and if this would be affected. Officers said they were due to meet with the Port Company fairly soon where issues such as potential business disruption will be discussed
  • It was asked if this assessment was really rather late and what the potential for any civil unrest was.  Officers said that it was a fair point and it is later than they would have liked be flagging up uncertainty.  But that considerable planning has been going on.  In fact whilst compiling this report it had been understood just how much was actually going on.  It was said that the Risk Register the Commission had taken in a previous meeting had suggested a medium level risk when it should probably have been scored higher. 
  • It was asked whether or not any proper guidance had been received from central Government.  It was said that to date very little planning advice had been received. 
  • Members were keen to understand as much as they could about the potential for civil unrest.  Officers said that they were doing risk assessments on this which will be included in the next iteration of this report.
  • A Member highlighted the potential for increased levels of homelessness as an issue that need to be taken into account.  Officers agreed and said they would take this point back.
  • It was suggested that the Council should be scenario planning on two levels 1) for the actual date and what will happen at that point for example customs at the ports if things go wrong and model resilience for this 2) and longer-term if for example the pounds value reduces further and workers decide to leave the UK.
  • One Member said that he had been talking to local small businesses that aren’t in a position to plan the same level of contingencies and said they are very concerned about what might happen. It was asked if it was possible for the council to have some type of conversation with them because anything that can be said or done will be an improvement on the current situation.  Officers agreed about it being necessary to plan scenarios for the short, medium and long term.  It was highlighted that the council has its annual business plans and the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) but it was fair to say that some things may have been missed.  Also, that the suggestion about engaging with local businesses would be taken away as an action for the plan. ACTION: Officers to feedback if and when communication is had with local SMEs about this.
  • The Chair asked that this be a standing item for future meetings even if it is only possible to provide a verbal up-date ACTION: Officers to provide a further update at the next meeting. 

 

The Members thanks the officers for the report content and their time.

 

Supporting documents: