To consider the report of the Chief Executive of the Combined Authority.
The LCR Combined Authority considered a report of the Chief Executive which explained how the Combined Authority had recently been presented with new delivery and funding opportunities which were not known at the time of the budget setting process. Metro Mayor S Rotheram advised Members that this report proposed an approach to provide the appropriate resource to enable the new delivery and funding opportunities to be achieved.
Frank Rogers, Chief Executive, informed the Combined Authority that new funding streams had become available which were not known at the time of the budget setting process in February 2019. He advised Members that additional new investment would be available from Homes England, Access for All, the Local Industrial Strategy and Stronger Places funding and the appropriate capacity resources would be required to ensure that the Combined Authority could successful bid and secure the funding. In addition to this, Members were advised that the Local Growth Fund (LGF) also required new commitment to maintain the recent upturn in performance.
Frank Rogers, explained how increased capacity was required in policy commissioning, project development, management and investment to ensure the City Region could maximise these and future funding opportunities. Members were advised that to support this increased capacity it was proposed that £2.5 million of the £6.4million Strategic Investment Funding pre-development fund be allocated towards increasing capacity. Furthermore, that up to 100% of the £2.5million available from the Single Transport Budget be utilised to develop SIF transport programmes.
In conclusion, Frank Rogers, advised the LCR Combined Authority that there would be no impact on the precept and stressed that the biggest corporate risk facing the Combined Authority was not delivering on its priorities.
Mayor J Anderson OBE, recognised how crucial it was to implement the proposals contained in the report. He emphasised the importance of residents understanding the role the Combined Authority played in the region and this would be supported by schemes being translated into reality. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of ensuring that quality personnel were recruited to deliver the £5billion investment and suggested that capacity should have been strengthened earlier and requested that the LCR Combined Authority Chief Executive progress this as quickly as possible.
Metro Mayor S Rotheram referred to the significant reductions in budget the constituent Local Authorities had received from Central Government and how this had severely reduced their staffing levels and capacity to bid into the Strategic Investment Fund.
Councillor D Long, supported the approach outlined in the report. He stressed the importance of having the appropriate capacity with Officers who had the required level of experience to ensure that high quality and successful bids could be submitted and increase the Combined Authority’s ability to bid into other national funding pots.
In conclusion, Metro Mayor S Rotheram explained how the increased capacity could support bids to the governments Shared Prosperity Fund.
RESOLVED – That:-
(i) the opportunities arising and need for the Liverpool City Region to prepare for their associated resource requirement be noted;
(ii) authority be delegated to the Combined Authority Chief Executives to operationalise the proposal contained in Section 3.8 of the report (with due collaboration with local authority Chief Executives of the LCR Combined Authority’s six constituent Councils on point ‘C’ of Section 3.9); and
(iii) the use of SIF pre-development funding outside the guidelines approved by the Combined Authority in October 2018, but remains a valid use of the funding proposed and within the boundaries of the approved assurance framework be recognised.