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Decision details

Sheffield City Region - Low Carbon Business Support Project

Decision Maker: Co-operative Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Purpose:

This ERDF funded project will provide business support to SMEs across South Yorkshire helping to identify, fund and implement Low Carbon improvements. Support will include advice, energy audits and grants that will reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Decision:

8.1

Sheffield City Council has received approval from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to European Structural and Investment Funds, and to act as Accountable Body for the SCR Low Carbon Business Support project.

 

The report sought the approval for the Programmes and Accountable Body Team within City Growth to act as Accountable Body and to enter into the Funding Agreement with MHCLG for the above project and for the project to be delivered as outlined in the report.

 

 

8.2

RESOLVED: That Cooperative Executive:-

 

  1. Agrees that Sheffield City Council through the Programmes and Accountable Body Team will act as Accountable Body for the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Low Carbon Business Support project;

 

  1. Authorises the Council to enter into a funding agreement with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and to accept a grant of £1.383 million. Note that this will require delivery partners and the private sector to provide match funding of up to £0.922 million, giving a total project spend of up to £2.305 million from May 2021 to September 2023;

 

  1. Authorises Sheffield City Council to pay the relevant levels of grant to SME’s;

 

  1. To the extent not already delegated to them by the Leader’s Scheme of Delegation, delegates Authority to the Director of City Growth in consultation with the Director of Legal and Governance to:
    • agree the terms of and provide approval to enter into the Service Level Agreements with the Delivery Partners of the project.
    • to agree the terms of the offer letter that will be entered into with all successful business applicants of the grant scheme; and

 

  1. To the extent not already delegated to them by the Leader’s Scheme of Delegation, delegates Authority to the Director of City Growth in consultation with the Director of Finance and Resources and Director of Legal and Governance to:
    • agree the terms of and approve any variations to the ERDF funding agreement.
    • agree the terms of and approve any additional match funding that is secured to deliver the project.
    • take any further decisions necessary in order to meet the aims, objectives and outcomes of this report.

 

 

8.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

8.3.1

Approval of the recommendations will allow:-

 

Entering into the Funding Agreement:

 

·       Allow the provision of additional and specialist business support services in respect to low carbon across the region building upon the wider business support service already offered to SME’s across region. This additional support will address the climate change agenda and contribute to business productivity. 

·       Project delivery to commence immediately meaning that businesses can access support from this programme from as early as June 2021.

·       Assist 260 SME businesses across the City Region to deliver low carbon interventions and improve their productivity between June 2021 and the end of June 2023.

·       Provide 140 grants to SMEs that will secure nearly £1m of Private Sector Match funding.

·       Generate an estimated 843 Tonnes reduction in Green House Gas emissions.

 

SCC acting as Accountable Body:

 

·       Efficiencies to be gained from utilisation of the existing Programme and Accountable Body Team using existing systems, processes and people are already in place.

·       The potential for SCC to act as Accountable Body / Managing Agent for other SCR-wide schemes.

Ensures that the project is delivered in South Yorkshire securing over £1.3m ERDF and delivering the low carbon and economic benefits.

 

 

 

8.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

8.4.1

An initial proposal to develop and deliver the project was led by the Sheffield City Region Executive. However, this was not progressed given the SCR did not feel they had sufficient experience of European funding to deliver it on behalf of the South Yorkshire Local Authorities. In order to progress the bid Sheffield City Council offered to step in and act as Accountable Body to ensure the ERDF funding was not lost.

 

 

8.4.2

Consideration was given to running the proposal with business support only and without additional grant funding. Whilst of some benefit it would not assist SME’s implementing low carbon technology where the initial capital cost can often act as a deterrent to invest.

 

 

8.4.3

A ‘do-nothing option’ was considered but this would mean that no activity would be taking place with local businesses to deliver a number of Priorities within the Green City Strategy. It would also risk the ability to access more than £1m ERDF to support the local climate change policy.

 

8.5

Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted

 

None

 

8.6

Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration

 

None

 

8.7

Respective Director Responsible for Implementation

 

Executive Director, Place

 

8.8

Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In

 

Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

 

Publication date: 15/06/2021

Date of decision: 09/06/2021

Decided at meeting: 09/06/2021 - Co-operative Executive

Effective from: 22/06/2021

Accompanying Documents: