COUNCIL26/2/2013 – FOR INFORMATION AGENDA ITEM16
BOROUGH OF POOLE
ECONOMY OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
7 FEBRUARY 2013
DEVOLVING LOCAL MAJOR TRANSPORT SCHEMES –
DORSET LOCAL TRANSPORT BODY ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK
PART OF THE PUBLISHED FORWARD PLAN: YES
- POLICY CONTEXT
1.1 The Department for Transport (DfT) intends to implement a new system for prioritising and funding transport major schemes from 2015 which devolves capital funding to democratically accountable local transport bodies (LTBs). LTB membership will be based on Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) geography. DfT has been advised that Dorset’s LTB (DLTB) geography will be based on the boundaries of DLEP, encompassing the local highway authorities of Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole and that £18.3m (indicative) would be made available up to 2019.
1.2 Government has now asked that, by 28 February 2013, Local Transport Authorities submit proposals for the way in which their LTB will provide Government with assurance on effective governance, financial management, accountability, and achieving value for money (the assurance framework). A draft DLTB assurance framework has been prepared for submission. Two key questions remain to be resolved by the constituent authorities: DCC’s representation on the Joint Committee and which of the authorities will act as the accountable body.
2.1 It is recommended that:
- The Cabinet approves the draft DLTB assurance framework for submission to DfT, subject to the approval of Bournemouth Borough Council, Dorset County Council and the DLEP Board.
- Resolution of BoP representation on the DLTB is delegated to the Strategic Director,in consultation with Portfolio Holder/ Leader and for the Borough of Poole.
- Agreement on the authority that is to act as the DLTB accountable body is delegated to the Strategic Director,in consultation with Portfolio Holder/ Leader for the Borough of Poole to agree with their opposites at Bournemouth Borough Council and Dorset County Council.
3.1 The Department for Transport (DfT) consultation paper Devolving local major transport schemes ( 04/) was published on 31 January 2012. The consultation document set out how the devolution process could work, the governance necessary, and the assurances required to ensure that investment returns are maximised.
3.2 Through the consultation the Government proposed that from 2015 local transport bodies (LTBs) would decide on priorities for major scheme funding. LTBs would be set up to match Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) boundaries and would comprise LEPs and all constituent local authorities. Funding would be allocated according to LEP geographies.
3.3 A response submitted jointly with Bournemouth Borough Council and Dorset County Council, and endorsed by the Dorset LEP was returned to the DfT in April 2012.
3.4 DfT wrote to authorities in August 2012 advising that further guidance was being prepared and asking for confirmation of LTB geographies. The Cabinet resolved at its meeting of 4th September 2012 that DfT be advised that Dorset’s LTB geography will be based on the boundaries of DLEP, encompassing the local highway authorities of Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.
DLTB Assurance Framework
3.5The DfT has published Local Frameworks For Funding Major Transport Schemes: Guidance For Local Transport Bodies and has requested that by the end of February 2013, LTAs and LEPs submit proposals for the way in which their LTB will provide Government with assurance on effective governance, financial management, accountability, and achieving value for money (the assurance framework). A draft DLTB assurance framework (Appendix 1) has been prepared for submission by a working party comprising DCC officers working jointly with officers of Bournemouth Borough Council, the Borough of Poole, and members of the LEP Connected Dorset theme group. It is expected that DfT will respond to the draft proposals for the LTB following which the LTB will be formally established.
3.6 DLTB will manage the devolved funding and prioritise investment in Transport Major Schemes. It is not currently proposed that the Local Transport Body would have a role beyond the Major Transport Schemes Programme. Scheme delivery will remain the responsibility of the LTAs, as Scheme promoters, under the direction of the LTB, which will be established as a Joint Committee of the three authorities.
3.7 The role of the LTB will be to:
- Identify a prioritised list of investments within the available devolved major schemes budget.
- Make decisions on individual scheme approval, investment decision making and release of funding, including scrutiny of individual scheme business cases.
- Be responsible for ensuring that the schemes which come forward deliver value for money.
- Monitor progress of scheme delivery and spend.
- Actively manage the devolved budget and programme to respond to changed circumstance.
3.8 Membership: DLTB will comprise the Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) of Bournemouth Borough Council, Dorset County Council and the Borough of Poole as full voting members. The Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (DLEP) will perform a vital role in the body expressing the views of the business sector on infrastructure priorities.
3.9Representation: DLTB will comprise an Executive Member of each of the LTAs. DCC proposes that a second Executive Member of the County Council will attend the Committee in recognition of the greater population residing in Dorset. Distribution of LTB funds is based on population. The population of DCC Dorset exceeds that of Bournemouth and Poole combined. DCCs representation on the Joint Committee has yet to be agreed.
3.10DLTB Accountable Body: One of the three LTAs must undertake the role of accountable body. The accountable body will provide a conduit for the receipt and dispersal of funds to the delivery authority, ensure that the funds are used appropriately, that the decisions and activities of the LTB conform with legal requirements and the DLTB assurance framework, maintaining the official record of LTB proceedings and holding all LTB documents. It is understood that both Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole have indicated willingness to undertake this role, however, which of the authorities will act as the accountable body is yet to be agreed.
3.11A formal legal agreement between the three LTAs will be put in place to underpin the working of the DLTB and define the responsibilities that partners have to one another.
- FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
4.1 In ‘Devolving local major transport schemes: Next steps’ published in September 2012, DfT confirmed that population will be the basis for allocations. In terms of the quantum of the funding available, authorities are advised to work on the assumption of £1.1bn being available nationally for the next four year CSR period. On the basis of population this equates to some £18m for the Dorset LEP area, which has now been confirmed by the DfT (£18.3m indicative).
4.2Any additional funding approvals would be prioritised to the major schemes identified within the Local Transport Plan’s Implementation programme and would be subject to the normal approval process and project controls.
4.3The three Dorset Authorities already have effective transport partnership arrangements and an up to date transport strategy developed from the earlier South East Dorset Transport Study and the development of the associated multi modal transport model. Government has also indicated that they will provide additional funds to assist Local Authorities with the additional scheme analysis which is to be devolved from the Department of Transport. It also believed that any additional costs of including the LEP Board within the governance arrangements would be minimal and have little impact on Revenue Budgets.
- LEGAL IMPLICATIONS
5.1There is a need to decide between parties which authority would act as the accountable body to the DLTB. The primary role of the accountable body will be to hold the devolved major scheme funding and make payments to delivery bodies (constituent Local Transport Authorities). The accountable body would account for these funds in such a way that they are separately identifiable from the accountable body’s own funds, and provide financial statements to the LTB as required. The accountable body will ensure that it exercises complete impartiality in respect of schemes and scheme promoters.
5.2 As the accountable body, the lead authority would also take responsibility forthe following:
- ensuring that the decisions and activities of the LTB conform with legal requirements with regard to equalities, environmental, EU issues etc.
- ensuring (through the Section 151 Officer) that the funds are used appropriately
- ensuring that the LTB assurance framework as approved by DfT is being adhered to.
- maintaining the official record of LTB proceedings and holding all LTB documents
- the decisions of the LTB in approving schemes (for example if subjected to legal challenge).
5.3 A formal legal agreement between the three LTAs would need to be put in place to underpin the working of the DLTB and define the responsibilities that partners have to one another, to include back to back assurances for the accountable body from Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole in order that the accountable body can assume the above responsibilities.
5.4 The Section 151 Officer has already been asked to consider whether Poole would wish to take on the role of Accountable Body given that DCC are doing so on Growing Places Fund and BBC on the major LSTF Project. The task is onerous, and until DfT confirm the detail the funding for this role is not confirmed. i.e. if allowed to draw from the Devolved funds towards its administration. It is likely that a lead role would be something that each of the three authorities may be interested in undertaking given that it assists the LTB on priority of spend.
- RISK MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS
6.1A Risk Assessment has been undertaken but does not indicate any High Risks. No commitment will be made to implementing any associated schemes until the funds are confirmed by the Department for Transport. Funding will be controlled through the proposed governance arrangements and the Council’s project monitoring controls. Advice may be needed from the Head of Legal Services on whether any adjustment to the BoP Constitution would be required if the joint committee were to be renamed or whether the LTB would need to be recognised in addition.
- EQUALITIES IMPLICATIONS
7.1An Equalities Impact Needs Assessment showed no significant impacts although disabled and low socio-economic groups will potentially benefit from the proposed change to the funding process.
8.1A draft DLTB assurance framework has been prepared for submission to DfT by the deadline of 28February 2013n (see Appendix 1), subject to the approval of Bournemouth Borough Council, Dorset County Council, and the DLEP Board. It is expected that DfT will respond to the draft proposals following which the LTB will be formally established. The Cabinet is asked to approve the assurance framework.
8.2 Representation for DCC on the DLTB must be agreed between the three authorities and DLEP and is yet to be resolved. The Cabinet is asked that this issue be delegated to the Leader and Strategic Director to agree with their opposites at Bournemouth Borough Council and Dorset County Council.
8.3 Both Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole have indicated willingness to undertake the role of accountable body. The Cabinet is asked that this issue be delegated to the Leader and Strategic Director to agree with their opposites at Bournemouth Borough Council and Dorset County Council.
Head of Transportation Services
- Draft DLTB Assurance Framework , January 2013
- Department for Transport Consultation Paper: Devolving local major transport schemes – Next Steps, August 2012
- Local frameworks for funding major transport schemes: Guidance for local transport bodies, DfT, November 2012
- Cabinet Report - 4th September on confirmation of LTB geography
- Initial joint authority response to consultation to DfT in April 2012.