Agenda item

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Funding update Simplification Pathfinder Pilot


Louise Askew introduced the report making the following key points: 


• The council had been lobbying central government in order to simplify the  process around the three capital programmes: the future high street fund, town  deal and the levelling up fund. 

• The council had been successfully awarded over £50m of capital funding for  projects across Ramsgate and Margate. 

• Thanet District Council was one of ten authorities to be part of the simplification  pathfinder pilot. 

• It was of importance to note that this pilot was about governance and managing  reporting back to central government. 

• The projects had been agreed and had been through the formal government  approvals. 

• There would be one single allocation across the portfolio. However, on a project  by project basis there was individual budget sheets, and projects would be  checked against these sheets. 

• There was a set of outcomes and outputs. The projects had been profiled across  the new intervention themes. Most notably: connectivity, unlocking industrial and  commercial development, strengthening the visitor and local service economy  and improving quality of life for residents. 

• Reporting would happen once every three monthly, under a red, amber and  green scheme focussing on spend and progress. There would also be one six  monthly robust report with more narrative around the projects delivery.

• Any changes over £5M within the programme would go back to central  government for approval. However, anything under this sum would be approved  through the local authority as the accountable body. 

• Central government required the council, as the accountable body for the  funding, to establish a consolidated governance structure. This would be a  strategic oversight board. There was a requirement to have certain people on this  board. This would include all levels of government including MP’s, county, district  and town councils where applicable. Furthermore this included businesses,  investors and representatives from the community. 


Speaking under Council Procedure Rule 20.1 a Member asked questions and made a comment as follows: 


• What would the process be in regards to individual ward councillors to  scrutinise the delivery of projects? 

• How frequently and how would councillors be updated, was this in line with  the quarterly and six monthly reporting schedules? 

• There was concern around the light of cost inflation that money may be  moved from one project to another. 


Louise Askew responded with the following points: 


• There were future events being planned, whereby ward councillors and the  broader community could attend and find out about the deliveries of the projects. 

• All the procurement projects would be coming to cabinet in terms of the approval  process. 

• The website was frequently updated, and further information was provided into  the loop and Colin Carmichael’s fortnightly email to members. 

• If there was anything specific to a ward councillor, they would be invited through  the normal process to find out. 


Panel Members made comments and asked questions as follows: 


• Congratulations were given for the successful pilot. 

• The red, amber, green scheme was considered a positive. 

• Questioning regarding how would members of the public and businesses would  get involved in the governance structure was raised. 

• Had it been considered to have two boards rather than one? 

• The new arrangement was considered a positive step and would make the  administration of the three schemes more straightforward. 

• If funds were reallocated away from Smack Boys, can it be guaranteed that the  fabric of the building would be protected? 

• The board was an excellent idea, however was it intended to supplement the  role of the panel? 


Louise Askew responded with the following points: 


• The board was not considered a decision making board. The board would not be  too large so that discussions are hard to be had. The board would be a way to  understand the large sums of money and easily participate in discussions around  managing the funding. 

• The two highway schemes would now be brought together. 

• The council was following the guidance to have one board rather than two. The  board was focussed around the governance arrangements. Although the projects  were considered specific to towns, the delivery mechanisms were at a strategic  level.

• If funding was reallocated the outputs and outcomes still have to be delivered.  Opportunities for the Smack Boys building were being looked into. 

• The council would remain the accountable body, cabinet would remain the  decision maker. 


Members noted the report.


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