Open call for projects

Development of SELEP’s Local Growth Fund pipeline

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) is seeking proposals from local areas for projects to drive economic growth.

At its Board meeting in June 2018, SELEP set out its intention to review its investment priorities to ensure they remain up to date and are aligned with its areas of focus.

SELEP is now issuing an open call for projects which support its strategic objectives, and which can form a strong pipeline of priority investments.

There is at least £8.3 million of capital grant funding available to support projects across Kent, Medway, Essex and East Sussex.

SELEP is seeking proposals for capital investment that deliver clear benefits in supporting economic growth, new jobs, homes and skills. This invitation is focussed on short term projects which will see funds spent by March 2021.

Background

SELEP has secured a total of £570m Local Growth Funding (LGF) from Central Government through the three rounds of LGF to date. This funding was allocated to SELEP through a six year Growth Deal (from 1st April 2015 to the 31st March 2021).

To maximise SELEPs investment potential to the end of the Growth Deal period SELEP has agreed to establish and maintain a single pipeline of priority projects.

In the first instance, the development of a new SELEP pipeline is intended to identify short-term priorities for an unallocated LGF or LGF underspends which may become available – by considering SELEPs short term priorities to 31st March 2021.

The longer term aspiration will be to apply the prioritisation approach to develop a medium- long term pipeline of projects which will serve as a basis to inform priorities for future funding sources. The development of this medium to longer term pipeline will follow the development of the SELEP Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) expected to be launched in Autumn 2018.

£8.3m unallocated

The total amount of funding provisionally allocated to SELEP by Central Government totals £570m.

Of this amount £561.6m has been allocated to a total of 97 LGF projects, with £8.3m LGF remaining unallocated.

Funding proposals will be evaluated through a three stage process:

  • Stage 1 – Expressions of Interest
  • Stage 2 – Scheme prioritisation
  • Stage 3 – SELEP Accountability Board funding decision

SELEP is seeking Expressions of interests by 5.30pm on Friday 31st August 2018.

Criteria

The criteria for funding are as follows:

  • The project aligns with SELEP’s objectives to support economic growth
  • The project seeks between £250k and £8million in capital investment
  • The project can be delivered in line with legal requirements on the use of public funds (e.g. state aid rules)
  • The project will spend the capital investment by 31st March 2021
  • The project is deliverable and will realise benefits such as deliver jobs, homes, learners, etc;
  • The project provides high value for money
  • The project has evidence of public support, and is supported by SELEP Federated Boards and by a relevant County or Unitary authority in the SELEP area
  • There is a good rationale for the funding request
  • The project has a comprehensive risk register and risk management in place.

How to apply

Interested applicants should ready the guidance note and complete the LGF Expression of Interest (EoI) form [PDF version] [DOC version]

All Expressions of Interest should be sent to hello@southeastlep.com and the relevant Federated Area contact by 5.30pm on Friday 31st August 2018.

Those interested in discussing a proposal and seeking advice should contact the local area representative as shown below or email hello@southeastlep.com and the most suitable contact will respond.

SELEP federal area contacts:

Essex Business Board

Helen Code – helen.code@essex.gov.uk

Kent & Medway Economic Partnership

Sarah Nurden - sarah.nurden@kent.gov.uk

Website - kmep.org.uk

Team East Sussex

Dave Evans - dave.evans@eastsussex.gov.uk

Website - www.eastsussex.gov.uk/business/eastsussex/selep/tes/

Opportunity South Essex

Ian Lewis - ilewis@castlepoint.gov.uk

Timescales

Table 1 – Timescales
Milestones Timescales
Open Call for Projects (Completion of EoI) 31st August 2018
Assessment and consideration of EoI by Federated Areas End of September 2018
Submission of Strategic Outline Business Cases to SELEP, for projects which successfully pass the Stage 1 assessment 26th October 2018
SELEP Independent TechnicalEvaluator assessment of SOBC complete 16th November 2018
SELEP InvestmentPanel considers projects for investment based on the submitted business cases 7th December 2018

Application process

This is an open call for submissions to identify potential projects.

For all projects identified, the scheme promoter is required to complete an LGF Expression of Interest (EoI) form [PDF version] [DOC version]

The local area Federal Board for the South East LEP will then review and sift EoIs using the eligibility criteria set out in Table 3 below. Projects which fail to meet the key criteria will be discarded.

Those projects which pass the initial sift against the eligibility criteria will then be considered and assessed based on the criteria set out in Table 4 below.

Table 2 Project eligibility criteria
Criteria Evidence Sought Scoring Guide
Align with SELEP’s objectives to support economic growth Evidence provided that the scheme contributes to SELEP’s economic growth objectives. Pass/fail
Requires capital investment LGF can only be used for capital investment and cannot be used as revenue Pass/fail
Demonstrate an ability to deliver the project following the legal requirements for investment of public funds This includes consideration for the requirement to follow public procurement regulations to the extent which is applicable and demonstrate that the investment does not constitute as State Aid Pass/fail
Must be able to spend the LGF by 31st March 2021 The LGF will predominately be available in 2020/21. However, there may be the potential to accelerate the LGF spend in 2018/19 and 2019/20. Evidence is to be provided to demonstrate that LGF will be spent by 31st March 2021 Pass/fail


Table 3 – Assessment Criteria
Criteria Evidence Sought Scoring Guide
Support from relevant Federated Board The Project must be supported be supported by the relevant Federated Board. This should be evidenced through Federated Board meeting minutes. Pass/fail
Support from the relevant Upper Tier Authority Each funding bid must secure sign off from the S151 officer of the relevant Upper Tier Authority. Pass/fail
Strategic fit Evidence of a strategic fit with SELEP objectives to deliver economic growth, and evidence that the benefits will be delivered within the SELEP area. Red/Amber/Green
Option generation and sifting (including evidence of stakeholder support) Evidence that a broad option generation and sifting has been undertaken with evidence of stakeholder involvement and/or wider public consultation/support Red/Amber/Green
Rationale for funding request Clear articulation of the rationale for requesting LGF funding including evidence that funding through the LGF is the most suitable available alternative. Red/Amber/Green
Deliverability and benefit realisation Evidence regarding the projects deliverability and its readiness to move to delivery and benefit realisation stage within the timescales of the funding stream (including consideration of project design stage, planning consents, land acquisitions, relevant powers). Red/Amber/Green
Value for money Evidence of the value for money potential and project benefits relative to the amount of LGF sought. Red/Amber/Green
Additional funding sources Clear delivery schedule including evidence there is a comprehensive risk register and risk management plan in place. Red/Amber/Green
Programme and risk management Clear delivery schedule including evidence there is a comprehensive risk register and risk management plan in place. Red/Amber/Green