The Cabinet Member for Environment is asked to give approval for Kent County Council to deliver the Low Carbon Across the South and East (LoCASE) programme by accepting to act as the accountable body for the European Structural Investment Funding (ESIF) administered by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
Specifically, for the Cabinet Member to:
(i) Accept £14,748,886 European Structural Investment Funding administered by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
(ii) Give approval that KCC act as the Lead Partner (Accountable Body) for the partnership delivering across multiple Local Enterprise Partnership areas
(iii) Delegate authority to Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, entering into contracts and other legal agreements, as necessary to implement decisions to spend the grant.
A decision is being sought to approve the continued delivery of Low Carbon Across the South and East (LoCASE), which is an integrated programme of financial assistance and business support to increase demand for low carbon technology, increase efficiency and grow business in the low carbon environmental goods and services sector. This is an extension and expansion of the successfully established LoCASE project led by Kent County Council.
The programme has a budget that totals (£30,937,771) is part funded by the European Structural Investment Fund (£14,748,886), Private Sector (£13,950,000), Kent County Council (£107,827) and public sector contribution from 16 programme partners (£2,131,058).
This decision supports the continuation and expansion of the successfully established LoCASE project which ran from 29/2/2016 to 31/12/2020, and supported 1,278 small and medium sized enterprises, through £5,014,939 of grant funding, totalling investments of £12,537,348.
Encouraged by MHCLG after the demonstrated success of the LoCASE project, the additional funding is to continue and grow LoCASE to deliver a multi-LEP business support programme through a partnership made up of 16 public and private sector organisations across four Local Enterprise Partnerships (South East, Coast2Capital, Enterprise M3, and the Solent).
The programme activities will be undertaken by partners, and outputs delivered through a range of Partnership Agreements and contracts administered by Kent County Council in its role as Accountable Body.
LoCASE directly delivers elements of Themes 1 and 2 of the Kent Environment Strategy, Priority 9 of the Energy and Low Emissions Strategy, and greener recovery of the COVID-19 Economic Renewal and Resilience Plan.
LoCASE supports the following priority actions of Setting the Course – Kent County Council’s Interim Strategic Plan: Work with our partners to deliver essential support for local businesses; Champion the rural and green economy; and deliver net-zero for Kent by 2050 and promote climate resilience.
A full options analysis was carried out and is detailed in the LoCASE Application Forms and MHCLG assessments. It considered the alternative options below where Options A and B were rejected, and Option C was the preferred option:
Option (a): Do nothing – no ESIF investment, business support for energy efficiency and low carbon sector development ends, and no mechanism to achieve green recovery outcomes. This would limit the regions capacity for growth and competitiveness.
Option (b): Reduce the business support programme by limiting it to Steps to Environmental Management (STEM) only – no ESIF investment, limited support for business improvements in environmental management, development of the energy efficiency and low carbon sectors and achieving green recovery outcomes
Option (c): Continue and expand the LoCASE programme – additional ESIF investment required, more enhanced support for business improvements in environmental management and development of the energy efficiency and low carbon sectors and achieving green recovery outcomes; delivery mechanism to assist green recovery of the economy.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 11/03/2021
This decision will be taken under urgency procedures.
Reason for urgency:
semi-urgent and the decision is expected to be taken on 19 March before the commencement of the pre-election period
Decision due: 19 Mar 2021 by Cabinet Member for Environment
Reason: to be taken before the commencement of the pre-election period
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Environment
Lead director: Stephanie Holt-Castle
Department: Growth, Environment & Transport
Contact: Christine Wissink, Head of Sustainable Business and Communities 03000 413482 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
No public consultation is planned. It should be noted that the project has been discussed and appraised in detail by the LEP Investment Panel and MHCLG and meets the criteria laid down at a national level.
The proposed decision will be considered by the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on 18th March 2021
It is planned, upon approval of the bid by the ESIF committee, to circulate a paper to Members and Kent Leaders to provide an overview of what LoCASE will deliver for Kent and the wider South and East LEPs.
This programme is a continuation of work previously supported by Members and delivered following an earlier KCC key decision. Members have been engaged throughout the delivery of the initial 3-year programme leading into the application for further funding.
Financial implications: As part of the application for the ESIF funding, Kent County Council will contribute £107,827 in-kind match funding over the 2.5-year programme lifetime (to September 2023). This will be found from the existing Sustainable Business and Communities budget as staff time and contributions from partners direct to KCC through shared accountable body costs. The programme has a budget that totals (£30,937,771) is part funded by the European Structural Investment Fund (£14,748,886), Private Sector (£13,950,000), and Kent County Council (£107,827), as well as public sector contribution from 16 programme partners (£2,131,058).
Legal implications: To deliver the programme and receive the ESIF funds, the Council must sign a Funding Agreement with MHCLG setting out standard terms and conditions for the Council as Grant Recipient and Accountable Body and MHCLG as Managing Authority. The partners will also sign a Partnership Agreement. Drafts of these agreements have been already assessed by Invicta Law and successfully adhered to through clear governance and processes established under the initial LoCASE project. It is expected that KCC Legal Team will approve the signing of the final Funding Agreement as KCC has entered into many similar legal obligations in the past for other EU funded projects. The rationale being that KCC has a proven track record of successful delivery of these types of projects with processes and mechanisms to meet the compliance requirements and deliver funding of this nature.
Equalities implications: An Equalities Impact Assessment has been undertaken for the LoCASE programme as part of the application process. No significant negative impacts were identified. Data Protection implications A DPIA is currently being developed by the delivery team with support from colleagues in Strategic and Corporate Services and the DPO team.