To agree to accept the DfT BSIP offer of £18,985,735, for delivery of agreed initiatives, in the year 23/24. The funding is split, £12,454,840 capital and £6,530,895 revenue.
Reason for the decision
Following negotiations with DfT in respect to the BSIP indicative funding, DfT confirmed that they could provide years 1 & 2 of this indicative funding, on the proviso that it was delivered in 23/24. Following submission of revised initiatives that can be delivered in a 12-month period, DfT have confirmed a funding offer of £18,985,735, which is split as £12,454,840 capital and £6,530,895 revenue. The decision is to enable the acceptance of this offer and for the funds to be released by DfT to KCC.
Department for Transport (DfT) had awarded KCC an indicative funding allocation of (circa.) £35m payable over a three-year period commencing April 2022 for its Bus Service Improvement Plan. DfT remain supportive of the full BSIP funding but due to a protracted clarification process and a review by DfT of their short and medium-term spending commitments, this allocation has not been formally confirmed. However, DfT has confirmed there is an opportunity to receive the first two years funding, subject to KCC agreeing to certain conditions which are being developed. KCC has therefore worked with the DfT to identify a range of initiatives that could be delivered within a curtailed, 12-month period which would require £18.9m This decision covers this funding allocation.
Options (other options considered but discarded)
To forego the funding award. This is rejected as the funding still represents a significant investment into public transport services to build a more sustainable future service.
How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026:
The decision supports Priority 2: Infrastructure for communities and the specific commitment Work with our partners through the Kent Enhanced Bus Partnership and with Government to explore sustainable and commercially viable options for providing bus transport to meet people’s needs, making the best use of Bus Service Improvement Plan funding.
Data Protection implications
An overarching Data Protection Impact assessment will be undertaken on the acceptance of the grant funding and for each project.
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: 07/03/2023
This decision will be taken under urgency procedures.
Reason for urgency:
The notification of the award confirmation was issued 3 March. KCC had to accept the funding by 31
Decision due: Not before 23rd Mar 2023 by Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Reason: Use of General Exception rule for urgency
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Department: Growth, Environment & Transport
The formation of the Kent Bus Service Improvement Plan and the development of initiatives forming KCC’s initial application was formed following public consultation and stakeholder engagement. Some individual projects will require public consultation and this will be timetabled into the detailed project delivery plan.
An All-Member Briefing was held on Friday 17 March 2023.
Financial implications: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) accompanies the funding, and this requires that KCC maintains, during 23/24, the funding from all sources to bus services. Should KCC fail to deliver the work programme associated to the provided funding within the prescribed timescale then part or all the funding allocation may be refundable to DfT. A revised Enhanced Partnership has been drawn up and agreed and this reflects the revised initiatives and confirms the funding allocated.
Legal implications: The funding package provided by DfT is governed by an MoU. It states clearly within the MoU that it is not legally enforceable. However, the MoU does place significant delivery obligations upon KCC which places significant financial claw back liabilities as well as reputational risk upon the authority. The MoU contains a clause that states. Should delivery not progress as agreed in the funding submission or subsequent Project Adjustment Request, or the conditions of this MOU not be met, the Department will review whether it is appropriate to, by notification in writing to the authority, require the repayment of the whole or any part of the grant and/or reduce, suspend or withhold future grant payments. The Department also reserves the right to:i. Reduce, suspend or withhold BSIP grant funding should delivery not progress as agreed in documentation relating to other grants provisionally awarded by the Department to the Authority ii. Reduce, suspend or withhold grant funding from
Equalities implications: An initial EqIA was completed for the original BSIP submission in October 2021, and this did not identify any negative implications for any group with a protected characteristic. For a number of the initiatives forming part of the revised package, individual EqIA will be completed as part of the project implementation process.