Issue details

20/00033 - Inward Investment Services

Proposed Decision:

 

The Cabinet Member for Economic Development to agree to entering into a contract with the successful bidder once the selection process is completed.

 

Background:

 

Kent County Council is seeking to procure Inward Investment Services for the period August 2020 to March 2025. This will replace the existing inward investment services contract with Locate in Kent, which commenced in August 2016 and runs until the end of July 2020.

 

The Inward Investment Service will deliver, alongside Kent County Council and Medway Council, specific outcomes that contribute to economic development in Kent and Medway. These are:

 

           More investment opportunities from overseas markets

           Increased supply chain benefits for local businesses

           More inward investment in Kent and Medway

           Raised profile as a destination for inward and foreign direct investment. 

 

The Inward Investment Service will be contracted to a supplier for the period August 2020 to March 2025 on a 2yrs 8mths+2 years basis, the final 2 years subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funding. The purpose of the service will be to promote and raise the profile of Kent and Medway as an attractive business investment location for UK and foreign-owned businesses relocating and expanding within and into the county, and to create jobs from successful company investments.

 

The new inward investment services contract would be up to 4 years 8 months from August 2020 to March 2025 and would cost £3,986,667. The contract will be funded by KCC, Medway Council (confirmed) and the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) Growth Programme. The ESIF funding will be subject to a Grant Funding Agreement between KCC and MHCLG. 

 

The service will aim to promote and raise the profile of Kent and Medway as a business location with the aim of attracting new investment from Kent, UK and overseas businesses, creating jobs and economic prosperity. Contracted outputs over the contract period will be 4,200 new jobs from SMEs and non-SMEs and 150 successful projects. There will be specific outputs for the ESIF-funded part of the project to provide consultancy support to SMEs and to create new jobs which are included within the overall 4,200 target. 

 

Options:

 

Four options were considered in addition to a Do Nothing option:

 

Doing nothing. This would mean having no further external service commission after the cessation of the current contract with Locate in Kent, and no in-house provision within KCC. This would provide significant financial savings to KCC. However, because there is currently no comparable business support service in Kent and Medway, this would result in a failure to capitalise on opportunities for growth in the local economy and job creation.

 

Option 1 – Do minimum. This would mean establishing for the first time a bespoke, outward-facing business support service based in KCC. Although currently KCC does not have the expertise in-house to provide the specialised, face-to-face support that businesses want, this would potentially deliver cost savings to the County Council. However, it is unlikely to attract financial support from Medway Council, the ESIF programme and the private sector. There would also be TUPE implications of transferring staff from the current supplier to KCC.

 

Option 2 – Less ambitious. This would mean an external supplier providing a less ambitious service at a lower price than currently. This would deliver financial savings to KCC and other potential funders, and would maintain some specialised inward investment services in a post Brexit economy. However, it could result in a reduction in the county’s ability to compete for domestic and foreign inward investment, and it is uncertain whether financial support would be forthcoming from Medway Council. Under this option there would be possible TUPE implications of transferring staff from Locate in Kent to another supplier.

 

Option 3 – Preferred option. This would involve delivering a targeted approach to attracting more domestic and foreign business investment to Kent and Medway, focusing specifically on the opportunities and challenges in a post-Brexit economy. This is the preferred option and is supported by the proposed funding partners, who will provide financial support for the first three years of the proposed commission. Under this option there would be possible TUPE implications of transferring staff from Locate in Kent to another supplier.

 

Option 4 – Most ambitious/more ambitious than preferred. This would be expected to cover all sectors across Kent and would thus increase targets and outputs. Although there would be higher targets and more business beneficiaries, with the potential to create more jobs, this option would be too costly and therefore unaffordable. Under this option there would be possible TUPE implications of transferring staff from Locate in Kent to another supplier.

 

The preferred option will deliver an improved service and a more targeted approach to attracting domestic and foreign investment in a post-Brexit economy.

Decision type: Key

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

Decision status: For Determination

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 01/04/2020

Decision due: Not before 30th Jun 2020 by Cabinet Member for Economic Development
Reason: In order for the proposed decision to be published for a minimum of 28 days in accordance to statutory requirements

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Economic Development

Lead director: David Smith

Department: Growth, Environment & Transport

Contact: Dave Hughes, Head of Business Engagement and Economic Development 03000 417099 Email: dave.hughes@kent.gov.uk.

Consultees

The proposed contract was considered by Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee on 13 September 2019.

 

The proposed decision will be considered by the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee on 7 May 2020.

 

Financial implications: The expected total revenue cost of the contract from August 2020 to March 2023 is £3,986,667. There are no capital costs.

Legal implications: The new contract from August 2020 will be extendable by up to 2 years to March 2025, subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funding.

Equalities implications: Equalities implications: An Equalities Impact Assessment has been undertaken for the service. No issues have been identified. Data Protection implications: An early stage Data Protection Impact Assessment has been undertaken for the service. No issues have been identified although this will be kept under review as the project continues.