Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Simplification Pathfinder Pilot Investment Plan
Decision Maker: Director of Regeneration and Place
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
The purpose of this report is to enable consideration to be given Council’s Investment Plan to be submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DHLUC) on 27 October 2023. Participation in the DLUHC Simplification Pilot is conditional upon the receipt of a satisfactory Investment Plan to be appraised by DLUHC.
This proposal directly supports the following key themes in the Wirral Plan 2021-26:
• A prosperous, inclusive economy where local people can get good jobs and achieve their aspirations;
• A cleaner, greener borough which celebrates, protects and improves our environment and urgently tackles the environmental emergency; and
• Safe, vibrant communities where people want to live and raise their families.
This is a key decision due to the value of the combined funding allocations covering 2 or more wards.
The report primarily impacts on the Birkenhead and Tranmere, Bromborough, and Seacombe Wards.
Appendix 2 of this report contain exempt information as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. It is in the public interest to exclude the press and public during considerations of these items under Paragraph 3 ‘Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding the information)’.
The Director of Regeneration and Place has agreed:
1. To submit the Simplification Pathfinder Pilot Investment Plan to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) on 27 October 2023 as set out in Appendix 1 of this report;
2. The principles of the governance of the Simplification Pilot as set out in paragraph 3.15 of this report; and
3. That the above decisions are not subject to removal of delegation and reconsideration as any delay likely to be caused by the process for removal of delegation and reconsideration would seriously prejudice the Council’s interests by given that such process would render the Council unable to comply with DLUHC’s deadline for the submission of the Investment Plan.
Reasons for the decision:
To enable the submission of an Investment Plan to secure the Council’s participation in the DLUHC Simplification Pilot programme. The benefits of the pilot to the Council over the current, separate funding arrangements are important and bring multiple benefits. These include greater levels of flexibility, reducing the administrative burden of delivering three parallel programmes, as well as extending the completion date for all three funds to 31 March 2026. It will also simplify the change control process and increase the level of local decision making.
The Policy and Resources Committee on 4 October 2023 delegated the decision to the Director of Regeneration and Place in consultation with Group Leaders. This Officer Decision Notice will be brought back to a future meeting of Policy and Resources Committee for information.
Alternative options considered:
The Council has been invited to join the Simplification Pilot and Policy and Resources Committee has already approved this approach at its meeting of 13 September 2023. The Council could take the option of withdrawing its participation, but this would result in significant pressure to spend the Future High Street Fund grant by March 2024 and risk clawback, withheld funds or reputational damage if some funding remains unspent. Furthermore, on 4 October 2023, Policy and Resources Committee authorised the Director of Regeneration and Place to submit the Investment Plan.
Please note, an updated version of Appendix 1 has been published to address previous formatting issues.
Publication date: 27/10/2023
Date of decision: 27/10/2023