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Agenda item

Decision to Approve the Second Round of the Economic Recovery Fund

Report of the Director of Economic Development, Skills and Culture.

Decision:

 

The report provided a set of proposals for how the Economic Recovery Fund round 2 will be structured and operate. These proposals have been developed taking into account an in-depth evaluation study, workshops held with the ERF Steering Group and incorporating the views of the Committee. The report provides an overview of the evaluation findings and sets out for ERF round 2:

 

1. Updated objectives

2. A new budget structure

3. Amended processes

4. Strengthened governance and management

5. A delivery timescale from establishment to delivery end point.

 

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Economic Development and Skills Policy Committee Policy Committee:-

 

 

1.    Welcomes and notes the findings of the ERF evaluation;

 

2.    Supports the Establishment of Economic Recovery Fund Round 2 as proposed in this report (sections 1.13. – 1.44.); and

 

3.    Notes that decisions on funding approvals over £50,000 will need to be taken by the Strategy and Resources Committee. Those under £50,000 will be taken, in line with existing delegated authority, by the Director for Economic Development, Culture and Skills in consultation with the Economic Recovery Fund Steering Group.

 

 

Reasons for Decision

 

 

 

The report makes these recommendations to support delivery against the Council’s priorities, as set out in the Business Response Plan and One Year Plan (see section 2). It will enable the Economic Recovery Fund to deliver a new phase of the scheme, having built on the success of and learned from a first year of delivery. In doing so the Fund will continue supporting district and local centres and building relationships with business communities across the city.

 

 

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

 

Option 1: Using Indices of Multiple Deprivation as one of the criteria to allocate funding

 

This was discounted as being a primary criteria to allocate money as it was felt this does not work within the spirit of the ERF, in terms of being a competitive process and established to support high street businesses. While helpful for identifying the most deprived small areas, IMDs do not take account of economic activity, business density, empty unit rates and so forth – they are primarily social not economic measures. It was felt that using a mixture of these social and economic measures would be more useful in guiding Steering Group as to which areas might need more support and assistance in becoming aware of and accessing the Fund, but not as a strict measure to allocate funding.

 

 

 

Option 2: Allocating amounts to each LAC area based on previous ERF investment

 

It was felt that allocating funding in this way would be overly complicated and might make communicating about the new round of ERF more difficult. It was decided that areas that received large grants previously would not be eligible to receive large grants in ERF round 2, though they would be eligible to access the Flexible fund for a small grant.

 

 

 

Option 3: Aligning ERF activity with the Cost of Living Action Plan

 

This work has been focused very much on individuals and individual households rather than businesses or district centres. Business support around this crisis is being led by Business Sheffield and intelligence is building through a number of different sources about the issues that local businesses are facing. However, in the same way that ERF could not answer individual business need resulting from the impacts of Covid lockdowns, it cannot also answer cost of living issues for individual businesses. The collaborative, broader view that ERF has taken means that we will still be seeking ideas that benefit the high street as a whole. Creative ideas that address the impacts of the cost of living crisis at that level will be welcomed.

 

Minutes:

6.1

The report provided a set of proposals for how the Economic Recovery Fund round 2 will be structured and operate. These proposals had been developed taking into account an in-depth evaluation study, workshops held with the ERF Steering Group and incorporating the views of the Committee. The report also provided an overview of the evaluation findings and sets out for ERF round 2:

 

1. Updated objectives

2. A new budget structure

3. Amended processes

4. Strengthened governance and management

5. A delivery timescale from establishment to delivery end point.

 

Representatives from Kada gave a presentation on the evaluation carried out on round 1 and officers gave a presentation which focussed on the proposals for round 2.

 

6.2

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Economic Development and Skills Policy Committee Policy Committee:-

 

 

1.    Welcomes and notes the findings of the ERF evaluation;

 

2.    Supports the Establishment of Economic Recovery Fund Round 2 as proposed in this report (sections 1.13. – 1.44.); and

 

3.    Notes that decisions on funding approvals over £50,000 will need to be taken by the Strategy and Resources Committee. Those under £50,000 will be taken, in line with existing delegated authority, by the Director for Economic Development, Culture and Skills in consultation with the Economic Recovery Fund Steering Group.

 

 

6.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

6.3.1

The report makes these recommendations to support delivery against the Council’s priorities, as set out in the Business Response Plan and One Year Plan (see section 2). It will enable the Economic Recovery Fund to deliver a new phase of the scheme, having built on the success of and learned from a first year of delivery. In doing so the Fund will continue supporting district and local centres and building relationships with business communities across the city.

 

 

6.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

6.4.1

Option 1: Using Indices of Multiple Deprivation as one of the criteria to allocate funding

 

This was discounted as being a primary criteria to allocate money as it was felt this does not work within the spirit of the ERF, in terms of being a competitive process and established to support high street businesses. While helpful for identifying the most deprived small areas, IMDs do not take account of economic activity, business density, empty unit rates and so forth – they are primarily social not economic measures. It was felt that using a mixture of these social and economic measures would be more useful in guiding Steering Group as to which areas might need more support and assistance in becoming aware of and accessing the Fund, but not as a strict measure to allocate funding.

 

 

6.4.2

Option 2: Allocating amounts to each LAC area based on previous ERF investment

 

It was felt that allocating funding in this way would be overly complicated and might make communicating about the new round of ERF more difficult. It was decided that areas that received large grants previously would not be eligible to receive large grants in ERF round 2, though they would be eligible to access the Flexible fund for a small grant.

 

 

6.4.3

Option 3: Aligning ERF activity with the Cost of Living Action Plan

 

This work has been focused very much on individuals and individual households rather than businesses or district centres. Business support around this crisis is being led by Business Sheffield and intelligence is building through a number of different sources about the issues that local businesses are facing. However, in the same way that ERF could not answer individual business need resulting from the impacts of Covid lockdowns, it cannot also answer cost of living issues for individual businesses. The collaborative, broader view that ERF has taken means that we will still be seeking ideas that benefit the high street as a whole. Creative ideas that address the impacts of the cost of living crisis at that level will be welcomed.

 

Supporting documents: