13 September, 2023

Thanet selected for pilot programme to streamline management of district’s key capital projects

The council has been approached by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to be part of a Simplification Pathfinder Pilot. Thanet is one of 10 local authorities with multiple capital funding programmes which have been invited to participate.

The pilot will trial a new way for the council to report back to government on three capital programmes funded by DLUHC. The programmes are the Future High Street Fund, Town Deal and the Levelling Up Fund.

The government is keen to work with local authorities, like Thanet District Council, to reduce the administrative burdens that both the council and central government face in managing these funds.

Thanet District Council has been allocated £51m from the government across the three programmes since 2019. They all focus on long-term regeneration and growth projects for the district. Some of the projects will be delivered by Thanet District Council and others by local project partners. The council is the accountable body for all the programmes and ultimately responsible for their funding and overall management.

The Simplification Pathfinder Pilot sets out a new streamlined approach for accountable bodies, like Thanet District Council. It looks at the way that payments are made as well as the governance and oversight arrangements. The pilot also simplifies how monitoring and evaluation returns are sent to central government.

A report setting out the details will go to the next Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting taking place on Tuesday 19 September. It will then go to the Cabinet meeting on Thursday 21 September for consideration.

This pilot will mean a number of changes to the existing governance arrangements and to the way in which the council is required to monitor and report progress however, it will not make a difference in the projects that are being delivered. The project funds specifically allocated to each town also remain unchanged.

One of the changes will be the creation of a new single Partnership Board, which will oversee all three of the schemes. This would replace the existing Margate Town Deal Board.

Council Leader, Cllr Rick Everitt said: “Bringing the administration of the three government funded schemes into one simplified approach is a logical step. Creating a more streamlined process will allow more time to focus on the delivery of these multi-million pound programmes.

“The Simplification Pathfinder Pilot does not mean that Thanet is starting again in terms of the projects that we’ll be working on. It is a change to the way in which the council and relevant governance arrangements will report back to the government, through a revised monitoring and evaluation framework and revised payment mechanisms.

“I am clear that under the new arrangements, while there will be one Partnership Board for both towns, we should not be transferring the funds awarded between Margate and Ramsgate.”

“Councillors will have an opportunity to review and comment on the proposals as they make their way through the Overview and Scrutiny Panel and Cabinet meetings later this month.”

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