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July 2020 HGB Meeting – Agenda item 3

Published: 5 July 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 an 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 (item 4 on this agenda);
  • Communications Workstream update (item 6 on this agenda);
  • Growth Board Growth Fund budget update (item 7 on this agenda);

2. Overall Growth Board Work Programme Update

By way of recap, the March HGB meeting agreed priority work for the next six – nine months (at that time the period of focus for negotiations with HM Government) 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).

As set out previously, these agreed priority programmes and projects are now also being gateway reviewed for their contribution to Covid-19 recovery.

3. Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Workstream

Leaders will be aware of the productive engagement we have had with Government throughout Winter 2019 and Spring 2020. MHCLG have continued to encourage Hertfordshire to develop their proposition and a timetable to develop / agree the proposals is being worked to. Through the on-going contact with MHCLG we have been encouraged not to lose pace on the work on our growth deal proposition and in developing Hertfordshire’s contribution to national and local economic recovery. 

Since the last update, work has been focussed on further developing the Growth and Recovery prospectus and reviewing the governance and delivery arrangements that the Growth Board wants to put forward in the asks/offers to government.  A workshop was held with all Leaders and Chief Executives on 25 June 2020 to work through potential governance and delivery models and clarity about the preference at this stage was established. Our draft prospectus now identifies nearly £2bn investment sought from Government.

A meeting with MHCLG Deputy Director John McManus is taking place on 1 July 2020. This will review progress with the development of the draft prospectus document, the components of the Hertfordshire offers and asks, and the timeline as currently understood for the autumn fiscal event. Leaders will be updated on the outcome of that meeting ahead of the next Growth Board.  The latest draft prospectus document is at item 4 on the HGB agenda.


4. The Hertfordshire Investment Fund

The work on the Hertfordshire Investment Fund (exploration of a potential regional impact fund) has been part of the MHCLG workstream and like all other parts of the HGB programme needs the impact of the Covid-19 situation considering. Chief Executives are undertaking this review.

At the same time, in order to demonstrate the extent of current local investment in growth, planning and place-based work in Hertfordshire, the Hertfordshire Chief Finance Officers (HCFO’s) group are gathering details of current budget commitments. Taken together these are expected to be significant with the County Council alone investing £150m pa in capital and £15m pa revenue.

5. 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. 

Initial gateway reviews on the current status of individual projects have been initiated with Lead Leader and Chief Executives. Creative Industries, Harlow & Gilston, Resetting the South East Herts Economy and Watford Junction Quarter have been completed. Reviews for the other projects are planned.  

Work has commenced to put the two Growth Corridors onto a Programme Board footing 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 being established and a common suite of planning and reporting documents is now in use at the Steering Group level. These will be tested and trialled within both East – West corridor boards over the coming months 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 Delivery Boards and into HGB.

6. Southern East - West Growth Corridor

The Southern East – West Growth Corridor Board is now set up under these new arrangements and meets again on the 7July 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. 

7. East-West North Growth Corridor Programme and North, East and Central Joint Planning work

The East-West North Growth Corridor Programme and North, East and Central Joint Planning work is making progress and a Northern corridor project review workshop has been scheduled with Leaders and CEXs for 2 July 2020. Following this review, work will be 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.

A review of NECH Joint Planning progress and agreement of a forward plan is also scheduled for the 2 July 2020.

8. Update on Place Narrative, Branding and Communications workstream

The communications update is provided at item 6 on this agenda.

The Board received an update on this work at the last meeting. The team working on this is now feeding into the MHCLG negotiations. The MHCLG/Homes England’s relationship manager is working with the team and reviewing the Hertfordshire data.

9. Update on Growth Board Programme dedicated staffing and resources

Secondments to the Growth Board Director and communications lead roles were confirmed at the last meeting. Programme and Project Management support to the overall programme steering group as well as the growth corridors is also in place. 

It will remain important that in-kind capacity from the teams across the Hertfordshire partners continues to be committed to the delivery of the programmes.

10. Next Steps

Priorities for the coming month are to move forward on the MHCLG engagement and the corridor projects feeding into the prospectus work. 

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. 

11. Recommendation

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