Agenda and draft minutes

Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal (Elevate Berkshire) Joint Committee - Tuesday, 10 November 2015 10.30 am

Venue: Green Park Conference Centre - 100 Longwater Avenue, Green Park, Reading RG2 6GP. View directions

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352044

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Substitute Members

To receive apologies for absence and to note the attendance of any substitute members.


The Committee noted that apologies had been received from Councillors Bicknell, Law and Lovelock.


Councillor Page was substituting for Councillor Lovelock.


Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.


There were no urgent items of business.


Minutes and Matters Arising from the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 17 July 2015 and receive updates on any issues not covered elsewhere on the agenda.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 17 July 2015 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


European Structural Investment Fund (EUSIF) pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To provide the Joint Committee with an update on next steps with regard to the EUSIF funding.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report on progress with the EUSIF application as well as practical considerations around the operational delivery of the EUSIF element of the wider Elevate Berkshire programme.  It also summarised compliance considerations and work undertaken to date to mitigate risks around non-compliance with EU regulations


The Committee noted that since submission n of the EUSIF application, the Department of Work and Pensions had asked for further information.  The Committee was advised that feedback had now been received from the DWP which had sought further information.  Responses to their questions were being prepared.


As the project was already up and running, the intention was to carry on with a start date of 1 November from which it was intended to be claiming the match retrospectively.  It would therefore be necessary to ensure compliance with EU requirements from that date.  In effect, an EU programme was running but without any formal agreement in place.  The lack of a funding agreement was causing an issue as it was not possible to firm up agreements with partners.  Whilst it had been a coup to get the Prince’s Trust to commit to partnering, they like the other partners were in limbo.  As an added concern, the response from the DWP seeking confirmation that the match could be claimed back to 1 November 2015 once the agreement had been completed had been ambiguous.  It had also become apparent that the operational programme had been revised but without any notification.  The new results and indicators were different to what had originally been expected requiring some further work.


Tim Smith added that the LEP Executive Board had had representatives from the ESIF Managing Authority and Cities & Local Growth Unit at its meeting to discuss its refreshed strategy.  Elevate was one of its key projects.  The deadline for a refreshed strategy had moved twice.  Currency exchange rates had had an impact reducing potential funding from £25m to £20m.  As such, the LEP wanted to see a point at which the uncertainty stopped and everyone knew exactly where they were.  The Science Park project was similarly in limbo.


Peter Kennedy of the DWP advised that the uncertainties were simply the nature of European funding.  There would always be a need to ensure that actual claimed costs were real.  He added that decisions on national funding allocations should be made by 17 November 2015 but the Berkshire allocation would follow sometime after that, probably within a month or so.  All of the LEPs in England were in the same position.  Whether there would be enough for everyone was in doubt.  It had however been confirmed that spend on the youth contract was eligible as part of the match funding.


There was concern about the present position and it was suggested that if everyone had known that the issues would still be outstanding at this point, some might not have signed up.  There remained disappointment that no-one could say if or when the funding would be confirmed, but the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.