Issue details

19/00093 - Kent County Council's engagement with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP)

Proposed decision:

 

·           Agree to Kent County Council remaining a partner in and member of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) after it becomes a company limited by guarantee in 2020.

 

·           Confirm that the Leader of the Council will be the KCC nomination for appointment as a Director of SELEP Ltd, as per the proposed SELEP Board Membership arrangements.

 

·           Confirm that the Leader of Kent County Council will be the formal voting representative of KCC at SELEP Strategic Board meetings of SELEP Ltd and at the SELEP Accountability Board, the latter to be governed by the updated Joint Committee Agreement; and

 

·           Delegate authority to Kent County Council’s Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Leader and the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment and Transport, to enter into relevant contracts, legal agreements and put appropriate arrangements in place required to implement this decision, including but not limited to, signing an updated Joint Committee Agreement governing the SELEP Accountability Board.

 

 

 

Background:

 

Kent County Council has been a member of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) since its inception in 2011, and the Leader of Kent County Council has been one of the twenty-eight SELEP Strategic Board Members.

 

The role of SELEP is to drive forward economic growth through strategy development, allocating funding, acting as an advocate for the area, and bringing together a range of stakeholders to co-ordinate action.

 

In July 2018, the Government published ‘Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships’, and in January 2019, published a new National Assurance Framework. These documents stipulate that all LEPs must become a Company Limited by Guarantee within a fixed deadline, and the Company must have no more than 20 Directors and 5 Co-opts. Failure to comply may result in the Government withholding funding to the LEPs (including Local Growth Funding).

 

To comply with Central Government’s rules, the SELEP Strategic Board has voted to become a Company Limited by Guarantee before 1 April 2020. It has agreed that Kent County Council will be invited to select a representative to become a SELEP Company Director; SELEP has stated the representative must be either the Leader of Kent County Council or a Cabinet Member.

 

More details are contained in the County Council report dated 12 September 2019: https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/documents/s92048/Item%208%20-%20SELEP.pdf

 

The options are as follows:

 

·         Agree to continue to participate in the South East Local Enterprise Partnership after it becomes a company limited by guarantee. SELEP invites Kent County Council to select a SELEP Company Director from its Cabinet. The chosen KCC Director on SELEP will be asked to formally agree the SELEP Ltd Articles of Association and its Framework Agreement (that are currently being drafted by SELEP’s Accountable Body (i.e. Essex County Council)). Agreed participation also necessitates that Kent County Council sign a refreshed Joint Committee Agreement, which gives legitimacy to the SELEP Accountability Board (the current Joint Committee Agreement was signed in 2015 by SELEP).

 

·         Decide to withdraw from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. If Kent County Council withdraws from SELEP, it significantly limits Kent County Council’s ability to prioritise its strategic aims within regional and national agendas. It removes its ability to influence the Local Industrial Strategy, and other regional strategic economic plans. It also places at risk the funding which is granted to Kent capital projects through SELEP (this includes the Local Growth Funding and Growing Places Funding). This funding is presently expected to be in excess of £150m between 2015 and 2021.

 

 

 

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: For Determination

Notice of proposed decision first published: 12/11/2019

Decision due: Not before 11th Dec 2019 by Leader of the Council
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be publsihed for a minimum of 28 days in accordance with statutory requirement

Lead member: Leader of the Council

Lead director: David Smith

Department: Growth, Environment & Transport

Contact: Sarah Nurden, Kent and Medway Economic Partnership's Strategic Programme Manager 03000 416518 Email: sarah.nurden@kent.gov.uk Tel: 03000 416 518.

Consultees

The proposed decision was considered and endorsed at the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee on 28 November 2019.

Financial implications: Central Government permits LEPs to bid for certain competitive funding pots, such as Local Growth Funding, which local authorities do not have direct access to. Kent County Council is anticipated to receive over £150m in capital funding from 2015 to 2021 for capital projects, and this central government funding is passported through SELEP. If Kent County Council withdraws from SELEP, these funds are placed at risk. Provide £ total for the overall cost to KCC (including capital and revenue across whole project or full lifetime of the contract if relevant)? The current cost to Kent County Council of participating in the South East LEP is £72,500 per annum. This comes from the KCC Economic Development budget. Participation in the LEP provides access for KCC to significant Local Growth Fund and other funding streams to support key projects.

Legal implications: Kent County Council will legally become a co-signatory of the Joint Committee Agreement, alongside Medway Council, East Sussex County Council, Thurrock Council, Southend-on-Sea Council, and Essex County Council. The Joint Committee Agreement sets out the activities and rules relating to the operation of the SELEP Accountability Board. For reference, the SELEP Accountability Board, whose voting members are the 6 county and unitary council leaders, must be confident that the capital projects which SELEP invests in demonstrate high certainty of delivering good value for money in a specified timescale. No funding can be drawn down without their approval. The Leader of Kent County Council formally is appointed a Company Director of SELEP Ltd, concurrent to his term in office. This decision enables the Leader of the Council to endorse the articles of association and framework agreement for SELEP Ltd, alongside the other SELEP Strategic Board Members.

Equalities implications: Equalities implications: No equality implications identified for the change in SELEP legal status and governance arrangements. Equality consideration as part of SELEP operational activity will continue as normal. Data Protection implications: The names of the Company Director will be published at Companies House by SELEP’s Accountable Body (i.e. Essex County Council). This decision does not require any changes to Kent County Council’s data recording and procedures.

Agenda items

Documents