Appendix C – Draft Neighbourhood Portion CIL Governance Proposals
1.1 It is proposed that the following principles should be applied to the neighbourhood portion:
· The ward structure should be used as the spatial framework for decision making, due to the varied, patchwork mix of neighbourhood groups across different parts of the city
· This basis will also be sustainable as neighbourhood forums crystalise in the short to medium term, as they do not necessarily follow established boundaries, which could leave some parts of the city without a voice
· A comprehensive schedule of groups to be engaged with per ward will be developed and agreed with ward councillors, based on existing relationships and intelligence. Their role will be to feed their views on spending priorities that the neighbourhood CIL should be directed to in their ward to local councillors
· Initially, an annual call for bids for neighbourhood CIL will be issued within each ward that has funding available to spend over a threshold (probably £10k.) This will help manage expectation in wards where little/no funding is available and will help keep administrative costs in proportion.
· The frequency of bidding cycles can be increased, subject to the levels of CIL secured
· The same approach will be applied uniformly across the city to ensure that a consistent approach to decision making and timescales is maintained
1.2 Ward councillors will have a vital role to play given their democratic accountability and knowledge of local needs and circumstances. As the national guidance quoted earlier points out, they will also be able to help both the council and neighbourhoods ensure that the engagement process is comprehensive, effective and timely. Their role will be to:
· Ensure that lists of groups being consulted with are comprehensive, include their informal networks and are maintained up to date
· Promote the availability of neighbourhood CIL within their ward, the bidding cycle and advise on what types of bid can/cannot be supported
· If necessary, submit bids for funding if they have identified a particular issue and no community group has submitted a bid. Support from two councillors in the relevant ward(s) would be required in these circumstances.
· Review the long list of submitted bids for their ward and provide feedback on support for bids, priorities and any other useful background/information. It is recommended/encouraged that this would be on the basis that the support of at least two councillors from each ward affected would be required for a proposal to proceed, notwithstanding that the TECC Committee is the decision making body. This would help to ensure that the proposals coming forward have wide local support.
1.3 It will be important to be clear to our neighbourhoods and local communities about how the process for allocation of neighbourhood funding will work - its timing and the process for engagement and agreement of projects. Further information will be developed to help with this, but the following information will need to be communicated:
• As required by law, every CIL spending decision will be made by the council on its merits and in accordance with the legal requirements governing council decisions. There should not be an expectation that bids submitted by neighbourhoods will be automatically agreed;
• In the short to medium term, the amounts of Neighbourhood CIL are likely to be small as it will take some time for receipts to accrue. Even then, individual neighbourhood portions may not be large. This may well mean adjacent wards working with each other and with the council to mobilise sufficient resources to fund projects, and;
• In all cases the council will (in line with national guidance) expect there to be a link between its priorities and policies and those of the successful bids submitted through the neighbourhood bidding process as this will enable a properly structured approach taking account of both City-wide and local objectives.
1.4 The CIL Officer Working Group will prepare guidance setting these principles out and explaining the process that should be followed by neighbourhoods to make bids. Appropriate briefings, seminars and publicity will also be produced to explain the process to the neighbourhoods in advance of the first round of bids.
1.5 The guidance will also set the criteria against which neighbourhood proposals for CIL spending will be assessed (so providing a ‘checklist’ that neighbourhoods and others can use to identify things that it would be sensible to propose). In addition to the statutory test it is envisaged that these would include:
• Is the proposal supported by at least two of the councillors from each of the ward(s) concerned?
• Does it support delivery of a specific Corporate Plan commitment or objective?
• Is it identified in the City Plan or other strategic document or action plan?
• Can it be shown to support the growth plans for the city as a whole and for the neighbourhood in particular? Has there been engagement with adjoining wards or neighbourhoods?
• Can it be shown to have the support of local residents and businesses generally?
• Are there sufficient CIL funds available for the project? Would it involve a continuing revenue cost to the City Council?
• Is it shown to be value for money? Would CIL funding help lever in resources from other sources?
• Has it been shown that there are no other sources of funding for the proposal?
• Has a feasibility study been undertaken and is there evidence that the proposal could be started within twelve months of the decision to grant funding and be completed within a reasonable period?
A minimum financial threshold for the value of a proposal may also be set subject to the volume of bids coming forward and the level of funding available. This would ensure that the Neighbourhood CIL is allocated to projects of a kind and scale that will have appreciable benefits in terms of supporting growth and meeting the demands of development.
1.6 Where any single planning permission is likely to result in a Neighbourhood CIL receipt to the value of £150,000 or more, the Officer Working Group will provide a separate report to TECC committee recommending how the sum should be allocated. The report will reflect the views of the local and neighbouring ward councillors and consider the wider impact that the specific development is likely to have beyond the ward in which the development is based (e.g. more use of existing green and play space, greater demand for allotments, the need to extend an existing Controlled Parking Zone, the provision of more youth workers etc.)