Issue details

20/00086 - Investment of Getting Building Funding in Third-Party Projects (title corrected 28/9/20)

Proposed Decision:

 

The Leader of the Council is asked to:

 

·    Endorse the projects in Kent that the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategic Board has prioritised to receive Getting Building Funding (GBF) at its board meeting on 16 July 2020.

 

·    Agree that the County Council act as the accountable body for third-party projects within Kent’s geographical boundaries that are selected by the SELEP to receive GBF grant funding.

 

·    Delegate to the Section 151 Officer the authority to sign on KCC’s behalf a grant agreement or equivalent, where this is required to draw down funds following business case approval

 

Background:

 

On 10th June 2020, the Government made a call to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) for shovel-ready schemes that were able to spend in the next 18 months, as a way to stimulate economic recovery and help mitigate the impact that COVID-19 has had on employment levels.

Consequently, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (KMEP), via the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership (KMEP), wrote to local stakeholders (including KCC) asking for their shovel-ready scheme suggestions. All forthcoming proposals were then submitted to Government, via SELEP, on 18th June 2020. The accumulated total of these SELEP suggestions equalled £573m.

On 3rd July 2020, the Government informed the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) that it would receive £85million of ‘Getting Building Fund’ (GBF) to deliver ‘shovel-ready’ schemes. GBF is capital grant funding.

 

The Government asked SELEP to prioritise its original scheme suggestions for inclusion within the £85m funding envelope. The SELEP Strategic Board met on 16th July 2020 to make its decision.

 

The SELEP Strategic Board chose seven Kent projects to be included within the £85m ask of Government. Three of these projects are to be delivered directly by Kent County Council and are covered by Decision 20/00085.  Four projects are to be delivered by third-party promoters. These third-party schemes are:

 

Project Title

Project Promoter

GBF ask

First + Second Floors, Building 500, Discovery Park

Discovery Park Ltd

£2,500,000

The Meeting Place, Swanley

Sevenoaks District Council

£1,490,000

New Performing & Production Digital Arts Facility

North Kent College

£12,625,000

Romney Marsh Employment Hub

Folkestone & Hythe District Council

£3,536,466

 

The approval of Ministers to SELEP’s £85m list is awaited.

 

If Ministerial approval is granted, the business cases for these third-party projects will be presented to the SELEPAccountability Board in October or November 2020 for their approval of the funding award.

 

Subject to the necessary approvals being granted, SELEP will require Kent County Council to enter into a grant agreement with Essex County Council (which is SELEP’s accountable body) for all schemes awarded GBF by SELEP within KCC’s administrative boundary, whether the projects are Kent County Council projects, or alternatively projects promoted by a third party (e.g. a private sector business). For these projects, where Kent County Council is not the project promoter, Kent County Council is asked to enter a back-to-back grant agreement with the third party.

 

This key decision is therefore required to enable grant agreements to be entered into, so that funding may be secured for the Kent projects from the Getting Building Fund.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

If Kent County Council were to choose to not enter into a grant agreement for the GBF projects selected by the SELEP Strategic Board, the GBF funding could be either (i) retained by central government or (ii) reallocated by SELEP to another project(s). It is not clear at the time of writing if the project would be in Kent’s geographical area, or from another area of the SELEP.

 

Decision type: Key

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

Decision status: For Determination

Notice of proposed decision first published: 05/08/2020

Decision due: Not before 3rd Sep 2020 by Leader of the Council
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance to statutory requirements

Lead member: Leader of the Council

Lead director: David Smith, Barbara Cooper

Department: Growth, Environment & Transport

Contact: 03000 415 618.

Consultees

The proposed decision will be considered by the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee on 25 September 2020.

Financial implications: Kent County Council will enter into the following capital grant agreements for the amounts specified: Project Title, Project Promoter and GBF ask: First + Second Floors, Building 500, Discovery Park - Discovery Park Ltd - £2,500,000 The Meeting Place, Swanley - Sevenoaks District Council - £1,490,000 New Performing & Production Digital Arts Facility - North Kent College - £12,625,000 Romney Marsh Employment Hub - Folkestone & Hythe District Council - £3,536,466 The GBF capital grant funding is provided by the Government via SELEP. It is not KCC funding. The legal agreements will ensure that any potential claw back of GBF by the Government comes from the third-party project promoter, not from Kent County Council.

Legal implications: The grant agreements give Kent County Council the legal and financial responsibility for ensuring the proper use and administration of the funding in accordance with the terms and conditions.

Equalities implications: Equalities implications: The third-party promoters are required to write an EqIA as a condition of their business case receiving SELEP Accountability Board approval. Data Protection implications: DPIA is not required, as personal data is not included in the grant agreements or project business cases.

Agenda items

Documents