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August 2020 HGB Meeting – Agenda Item 4

Published: 12 August 2020

Hertfordshire Growth Board (HGB) – Growth Board Programmes Update
Report Author: Patsy Dell, Hertfordshire Growth Board (Tel: 07949 887794)

1. Purpose of report

This report provides a short update on the overall progress of the key Growth Board programmes. More detailed updates also appear in other reports on this agenda as follows:

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Workstream – Submission of Growth and Recovery prospectus and delivery Plan (item 6 on this agenda);

2. Overall Growth Board Work Programme Update

By way of recap, the March HGB meeting agreed priority work for the next 6-9 months (at that time the period of focus for negotiations with HM Government) to cover and including:

Meeting the commitments set out in the letter to the Secretary of State from January 2020 on behalf of all Leaders;

Responding to the invitation from MHCLG to work with them to develop a proposition to secure HM Government support (including our level of ambition, what can be achieved in next five years (delivery and devolution new models);

An initial portfolio of prioritised corridor delivery projects known as ‘Wave 1’ including:

  • Where detailed Business Cases for infrastructure interventions could be developed in time for Spending Review (SR) 2020 (i.e. before summer recess);
  • Progress that can be made over the next 0 – 5, 6 – 10 years development and delivery window;
  • Projects which will contribute to accelerated outcomes and recovery: employment sites, jobs and housing delivery (with increased affordable housing availability).

3. Updates on Corridor Growth Delivery Programmes and workstreams

Further development work has been undertaken on the ‘Wave 1’ projects/programmes featuring in the prospectus to MHCLG, including; assessing for post Covid-19 contributions to economic recovery, tightening the delivery proposals and quantifying the initial investment asks. The detail of this background work in business case development is set out in the delivery plan attached to the Growth and Recovery prospectus. 

The two Growth Corridors have now established Programme Boards with a focus on overseeing the development of the Wave 1 projects into fully fledged delivery programmes, working to a set of key deliverables and milestones linked to the timetabling agreed with MHCLG. 

Project Management Office (PMO) supporting arrangements are now establishing a common suite of planning and reporting documents for use at the programme board and project team level. These are being tested and trialled within both East – West corridor boards to ensure that they provide a consistent, streamlined and fit for purpose level of accountability and milestone reporting from local project management levels through the corridor programme boards and into HGB.3.

The Southern East – West Growth Corridor Programme Board is now set up under the new arrangements and met for the second time on the 28 July 2020 to progress a forward programme and review further development work priorities to ensure each project is on track to meet MHCLG milestones over the coming year and into 2021/22. Initial gateway reviews on the current status of individual projects have been initiated with Lead Leader and Chief Executives. Those for Creative Industries, Harlow & Gilston, Resetting the South East Herts Economy and Watford Junction Quarter have been completed. Reviews for the other projects are underway.  

The North, East and Central Joint Planning work and Northern East-West Growth Corridor Programme Board met on 2 July and again on 30 July 2020. Work has been prioritised to fully scope out the suite of corridor delivery projects and to establish a clear forward work programme. This will include the development of supporting project management arrangements and identifying capacity to oversee further and more detailed development work, including gearing up to produce the fuller business cases needed to meet MHCLG milestones and timetabling. Initial gateway reviews are taking place on those projects that have reached that stage in their development.

4. Update on Place Narrative, Branding and Communications workstream

The last Growth Board received a presentation on the progress with implementing the new HGB branding and visual identity work as well as the new micro-site. The HGB Micro site was launched on 12 July 2020 and is now live at . 

Other communications activity in July included the first of a series of three webinars hosted by the Voice of Authority  and featuring the work of the Growth Board and its partners. Feedback from the participants polls in the first webinar was overwhelmingly positive on the work of Growth Boards and their potential contribution to delivering growth and infrastructure.

5. Update on Growth Board Accelerated Housing Delivery Programme

The team is now working directly with the virtual MHCLG/Homes England team that are reviewing the Hertfordshire data as part of the Growth Deal discussions.

6. Next Steps

Priorities for the coming month are to move forward on the MHCLG engagement and the corridor projects feeding into the prospectus work. Over the summer it is expected that there will be feedback from MHCLG and a process of check and challenge back to Hertfordshire on the details that are included within our deal proposals. 

Communicating this progress and next steps beyond the Growth Board will also be important. Briefing key stakeholders, and keeping other members and staff involved on the wider work in touch with what is happening will be needed. The communications workstream will be identifying actions to address that need. A set of common briefing slides and notes will also be made available as soon as possible after the August Growth Board meeting.

7. Recommendation

That Leaders note the overall progress across the Growth Board programme and individual workstreams since the last meeting.