Skip to main content

June 2020 HGB Meeting – Agenda item 3

Published: 3 July 2020

Agenda item 3 - Growth Board Programmes Update

Report Author: Patsy Dell, Hertfordshire Growth Board (Tel: 07949 887794)

1. Purpose of report

At the last Hertfordshire Growth Board Leaders received an update on the high-level reviews taking place of how both the work of the Growth Board and the Local Industrial Strategy (led by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)) would best contribute to economic recovery in Hertfordshire. Leaders agreed that all parts of the current Growth Board programmes would be gateway reviewed for Covid-19 recovery potential.

This report will update on overall progress with the key Growth Board programmes including the roll out of the Covid-19 reviews.

Updates on the Growth Board workstreams are covered in this or other reports on this agenda as follows:

  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Workstream – engagement with Government to advance the Hertfordshire proposition (this is dealt with through agenda item 4 – Draft Growth and Recovery Prospectus 2020)
  • Growth Corridor programmes
  • Accelerating Housing Delivery Project Group (Item 5 on this agenda)
  • Communications Workstream (Detailed update at Item 6 on this agenda)

2. Overall Growth Board Work Programme Update

By way of recap, the March 2020 HGB meeting agreed priority work for the next 6 – 9 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 feedback from MHCLG meetings to secure HM Government support (level of ambition, what can be achieved in next 5 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 (SR2020) (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: 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

The MHCLG workstream Leaders group are meeting on 26 May 2020 to review progress with the development of the draft prospectus document, the components of the Hertfordshire offer and the timeline as currently understood for on-going engagement between Hertfordshire and MHCLG officials. The draft prospectus document and the timeline for its discussion with officials is at item 4 on the HGB agenda.

Through the most recent 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. There will be a further contact call with MHCLG ahead of the Growth Board and feedback on the main points from that discussion will be given at the meeting. A meeting with the lead MHCLG Deputy Director to discuss the Hertfordshire prospectus is booked for later in June 2020.

Research into the scope, powers, flexibilities and freedoms of other delivery bodies/development corporations has started – this will help to inform future discussions on what might be an appropriate delivery model that could be promoted for the Growth Board. A briefing note on this is also attached at item 4 and it is proposed that a workshop session is convened with all Leaders and Chief Executives later in June 2020 to consider these issues and options.

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 and it is proposed that the principles of this fund are also considered at the future Leaders and Chief Executives workshop session mentioned above.

5. Updates on Corridor Growth Delivery Programmes and workstreams

At the last HGB Leaders agreed the set of ‘Wave 1’ projects/programmes below would be the priority for the next 6-9 months. As noted above these are now being reviewed for post Covid-19 contributions to economic recovery:

Driving Economic Growth
Growing Science & Technology Sector
Growing Creative & Screen Industries

Driving Housing Delivery
Accelerated Housing Delivery Programme (North)
Accelerated Housing Delivery Programme (South)
New Settlements: Hemel Garden Communities and Harlow & Gilston Garden Town

Driving Sustainable Transport
Mass Rapid Transit programme
Watford Junction Interchange

Driving Environmental Sustainability
Hertfordshire wide sustainability programme
SE Herts Carbon Reduction & Air Quality Programme

6. Update on Southern East - West Growth Corridor Programme

The corridor group of Leaders and  Chief Executives (CEx’s) met on 13 May 2020 to look at progress made and initiate a high-level review of the southern corridor programmes. All projects and programmes were felt to remain important and with scope to contribute to recovery and the longer-term place-based ambitions originally identified for the Growth Board work. A mini gateway review of each of the key projects is being undertaken with the project leads (updates will be given at the Growth Board if helpful) A programme board approach is being established for the overall corridor work with dedicated programme and project management support now in place.

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

Since the last Growth Board the intent to combine the above workstreams under a single programme approach (as far as possible) has now progressed. Chief Executives are meeting after the Growth Board to plan a workshop review and to resolve the remining operational issues necessary to implement this change. The creation of a new programme board to mirror the arrangements being put in place in the Southern Corridor will be investigated and the high level Covid/gateway reviews of the projects within the programme will be undertaken.

8. Update on Place Narrative, Branding and Communications workstream

Detailed update is provided at item 6 on this agenda.

9. Update on Growth Board Accelerated Housing Delivery Programme

The update on this work and the recent outputs to feed into the MHCLG negotiations is at item 5 on this agenda.

10. Update on Growth Board Programme dedicated staffing and resources

Leaders will remember that the secondment to the Growth Board Director role was confirmed at the last meeting. The secondment to the two days per week communications lead has been offered to Lucy Gravatt from the LEP and she will start shortly.

Programme and Project Management support to the overall programme steering group as well as the growth corridors is being provided by Roger Barratt, Tobias Barker and Elisabeth Whomsley.

It will remain important that in-kind capacity from the teams across the Hertfordshire partners that are engaged on this wider work programme remain available and committed to the timescales for delivery of the programme outputs.

11. Next Steps

The reviews at programme and project level being undertaken across the Growth board programme will be completed shortly. Each programme area is also updating timeline and outputs milestones as part of the implementation of more formal programme and project management processes across the Growth Board work.

12. Recommendations

That Leaders:  Note the overall progress across the Growth Board programme and individual workstreams since the last meeting including the Covid reviews that are taking place at programme and project level.