To consider a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) (copy enclosed)
The Leader presented a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) which informed Cabinet that the Government published its ‘Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships’ report in July 2018. This report introduced a number of changes for the management and operation of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). The key changes were that LEPs were to:-
· become incorporated bodies, where they were not part of a combined authority;
· adopt Local Assurance Frameworks that were compliant with national guidance;
· have a single accountable body; and
· prepare Local Industrial Strategies for their area
As a result of this report, the LEP Board at its meeting on 28 September 2018 approved a revised Local Assurance Framework and new governance structure. Subsequent to this, the LEP Board agreed at its meeting on 23 November 2018 to the LEP becoming an incorporated body and to ask the County Council to be its single accountable body. This report sought approval to the changes being introduced and for the Council to act as the LEP’s single accountable body.
The role of accountable body for the LEP had been undertaken by the County Council since the LEPs inception, however, this had been considered on a programme by programme basis. Government was now requiring LEPs ‘to identify a single accountable body within each area that was responsible for all Local Enterprise Partnership funding.’ Government advised that LEPs would ‘continue to be individually accountable for the allocation of funding and the delivery and evaluation of projects, with Section 151 Officers maintaining accountability for the proper conduct of financial affairs’ within the LEP.
The LEP asked all local authorities within Cumbria if they wanted to undertake the role of the LEP’s single accountable body. The County Council was the only organisation that responded to the LEP. The Council offered to be the LEP’s accountable body on the basis that a number of conditions would be met. This was considered by the LEP Board on 23 November and the LEP agreed to ask the Council to be its accountable body. A subsequent letter from the LEP CEO dated 3 December set out the following conditions:
(i) The County Council will hold the Vice-Chair (public sector) as the Accountable Body.
(ii) A management fee of £150,000 to be paid to the County Council each year as partial recovery of the costs associated with the Accountable Body role (to be reviewed annually). This would be distinct and separate from the costs associated with the provision of data intelligence services and IT provision, assumed to be £45,000 and £15,000 respectively.
(iii) The in-kind contribution from the Council is recognised as being in the order of £250,000.
(iv) The County Council will release £336,000 of CIF revenue funding to provide the necessary reserves to allow CLEP to operate as a going concern at the point of incorporation and to provide for any extraordinary expenditure, for example staff redundancies.
(v) Future interest received on Growth Deal and CIF will be released to the LEP.
(vi) The parties would explore ... view the full minutes text for item 76