DD1351 LEP SME Implementation Plan Programme

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD1351
Date signed: 
28 July 2015
Decision by: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

Following the launch of the London Enterprise Panel’s Jobs & Growth Plan in April 2013 and the approval on 11 July 2013 by the Investment Performance Board of £1m Growing Places Fund investment in SME related activities, this decision requests amendments to the within-budget allocations agreed in MD1245.   

On 18 December 2014, IPB agreed that the headings of the £1m budget could be amended in line with the new priorities of the London Enterprise Partnership SME programme.  

The total amount of funding remains as £1m and it will be invested before December 2017.

MD940 delegated authority to spend Local Enterprise Partnership funding to the Executive Director of Executive Director-Development, Enterprise & Environment in consultation with the Executive Director of Resources.

Decision

That the Executive Director approves the reallocation of the £1m London Enterprise Panel's SME Growing Places Fund programme as set out in paragraph 1.7 to deliver the programme of activities related to the LEP’s Jobs & Growth Plan.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The LEP SME Implementation Plan Programme was approved by the Mayor on 7 August 2013 in MD 1245.

1.2    In its Jobs & Growth Plan for London (published in April 2013), the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) committed to support London’s SMEs. The Plan identified four specific areas of support to SMEs: Access to finance, supporting SMEs to export to new markets, coordination/sign posting of business support, and accessibility to workspace. 

1.3    To that effect, an implementation plan was designed which included all the related areas of activities (see Annex 1).

1.4    The original budget for the programme was as follows:

Activity

£

  1. Design and build a dedicated web portal

75,000

  1. SME focused content

75,000

  1. Portal technical maintenance

25,000

  1. Business Improvement Districts   

    230,000

  1. Research

    250,000

  1. Access to Finance: Delivery

50,000

  1. Business Club Engagement

    245,000

  1. Evaluation

    50,000

TOTAL

1,000,000

1.5    Since the budget was approved the project has developed and delivered successfully most elements of the programme. After over 18 months’ delivery it is now considered to be the right time to reconsider the budget and revise the individual allocations of the overall £1m.

1.6    These changes were noted by the LEP SMEWG on 24 November 2014 and agreed by IPB on 18 December 2014. 

1.7    The proposed budget is:

Activity

Original budget

£

Revised budget

£

1.Research, Business Survey and evaluation

300,000

220,000

2.Growth Hub (previously Web portal), content and maintenance

175,000

340,000

3.Business Improvement Districts

230,000

440,000

4.Access to Finance: Delivery

50,000

0

5.Business Club Engagement and marketing

245,000

0

TOTAL

1,000,000

1,000,000

1.8    The changes are as follow: 

•    All required expenditure relating to the ‘Research, Business Survey and evaluation’ budget headline has been spent or committed and can be contained within a reduced budget of £220,000, releasing £80,000 for reallocation.

•    The delivery of the LEP’s £25m Access to Finance scheme is on target and was launched at the end of 2014. The allocated delivery costs were not required so the original budget of £50,000 can be reallocated to other business support activity.

•    After exploring a range of options, the LEP SMEWG agreed that the Business Club was not a feasible option to pursue and its original allocation of £245,000 can be reallocated to the Growth Hub and the Business Improvement Districts programme

•    The Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) programme has been successful to date and it is proposed to use some of the above underspends to support further applications for the development of new BIDs in the coming months.

1.9    Therefore, it is recommended to agree the reallocation of the budget to reflect changes to the various work-streams of the programme.

1.10 The anticipated profile of spend is as follows:

Activity

2013/14

£’000

2014/15

£’000

2015/16

£’000

2016/17

£’000

2017/18

£’000

TOTAL

£’000

Research, Business Survey and evaluation

25

195

0

0

0

220

Growth Hub (previously Web portal), content and maintenance

15

13

100

115

97

340

Business Improvement Districts

0

174

210

56

0

440

TOTAL

40

382

310

171

97

1,000

1.11 It is envisaged that the funding for the maintenance and running of the Growth Hub will last until December 2017 when new sources of funding will be identified.

1.12 The LEP, through the London Regeneration Fund, has agreed an additional £230,000 for the BIDs programme, which will go to IPB for consideration at their July 2015 meeting.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The original targets for the project remain the same as in the MD1245 except for the Business Club as mentioned in section 1.

Equality comments

3.1    The only identified equality related issue to this programme is the Growth Hub which will be compliant with Priority 1 (level A) and Priority 2 (level AA) of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). 

Other considerations

4.1 Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 

This programme is aligned and cascades from the LEP Jobs & Growth Plan SME section. 

4.2    Risks

Most of the activities to the programme have been achieved. Only two actions remain to be achieved:

•    To deliver the Mayoral target of 50 BIDs in London. There are currently 42 BIDs with 8 more in the pipeline with contracts signed.  
•    The development and implementation of the second phase of the Growth Hub. A tender to deliver this will be sent out to consultants in June 2015 and it is expected the Growth Hub will officially launch in November 2015.

The risks identified in this programme remain low and are related to time deadlines.

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for the reallocation of the existing £1m SME programme budget between areas of activity.

5.2    This project is funded from the Growing Places Fund (GPF) programme, for which the GLA is the Accountable Body. The use of GPF programme funds has been approved by the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) at its meeting of 11 July 2013.  

5.3    The revenue spend is now expected to continue into 2017/18. The proposed allocation of budget between areas of activity is shown at 1.10. The proposed profile of spend between years is as follows :

2013/14    was £443,000        now   £40,000
2014/15    was £333,000        now £382,000
2015/16    was £224,000        now £310,000
2016/17    was nil                    now £171,000
2017/18      was nil                  now   £97,000

5.4    Future funding will need to be identified for the continued maintenance and running of the Growth Hub beyond December 2017.

5.5    As the 2016/17 budget will be the last to be set by the current Mayor, a decision on whether to fund the 2017/18 costs will need to be taken when policy priorities are confirmed in the new Mayoralty.

Investment and Performance Board

7.1    On 18 December 2014, the Board received a report which outlined proposed changes to the distribution of funding already allocated by the London Enterprise Panel to investment in SME related activities. Members noted that the increased budget for the LEP’s Business Support Growth Hub would help support ongoing costs to maintain the content of the site. 

7.2    The decision by IPB was that the re-profiling of the existing budget to reflect changes to the various work-streams of the programme was approved.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Launch of first phase of Growth Hub

End of March 2015

Launch of second phase Growth Hub

November 2015

Deadline to have 50 BIDs in London

May 2016