DD2195 Development Support Fund

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2195
Date signed: 
20 December 2017
Decision by: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

The Development Support Fund (DSF) received 24 applications requesting a total investment of £1.87m Skills for Londoners revenue funding. The applications have been evaluated and moderated and a programme of 17 projects was endorsed by the LEAP Programme Board in November 2017. This decision seeks approval for the award of DSF (revenue) grant funding to these 17 projects, with a total value of up to £1,424,450. The Mayor (under cover of MD2142) delegated approval of funding allocations to the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment. 

 

Decision

The Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment approves expenditure of up to £1,424,450, through the Development Support Fund, by way of grant funding towards the costs of 17 projects listed at paragraph 1.9. 

 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The Mayor approved (under cover of MD2142) spending of up to £5m revenue expenditure for costs both to support applicants in the development of their proposals, and to provide for associated operational expenditure and programme-support costs to enable the delivery of the Skills for Londoners capital programme. Within this sum, £1.5m has been ring-fenced to enable a DSF, which targets projects that would like to bid to Round 2 of the SfLCF but require support in being able to reach the investment ready stage required by the fund. This paper seeks a decision on investment into 17 applications to the DSF.
 
1.2    Applicants could request from £10,000 up to £100,000 per project. Applications above the upper limit could be considered in exceptional circumstances. One applicant submitted a request for £120,000 but did not demonstrate reasonable grounds for receiving funding above the limit; therefore, this paper requests approval to award funding of £100,000 to this applicant.

1.3    Applicants were required to confirm the following in ordered to be considered for funding:
•    That applicants, provided their application to the DSF was deemed successful, also intended to apply to Round 2 of the SfLCF, expected to launch in Spring 2018.
•    That the total funding agreed from DSF would be paid in arrears and spent by 30th April 2018, in time for the launch of Round 2 of the SfLCF.

1.4    The DSF Application Guidance was published on 25th September 2017 inviting applications by 30th October 2017. In total 24 applications were received with a total funding request of approximately £1.87m and total project value of approximately £667m (N.B.: the total project value is the capital project value, not the initial feasibility and development work being funded by the DSF). 
1.5    Bids were received from 24 organisations including: ten Further Education (FE) colleges; five Private Providers; two Institutes for Adult Learning, Sixth Form Colleges, and other types of providers; one Group Training Association, Local Authority, and one Third Sector Provider of FE. Of the 24 projects three were at project concept stage and sixteen16 were at feasibility/research stage. Applications were received from across all four London college partnership sub-regions. Nine applications were received from the central-sub region, eight from the eastern, five from the southern and two from the western. The table below shows a relatively even split from each region bar the west.  LEAP Delivery Officers are working to understand why a smaller number of applications were received from the west sub region. Please note that additional applications from the western sub-region may still be received for Round 2 of the SfLCF.
 

Sub-Region

No.

%

Central

9

37.50%

East

8

33.33%

South

5

20.83%

West

2

8.33%

Total

24

100.00%

1.6    A cross departmental team of officers evaluated the bids in October 2017; this included a process of clarification questions. Bids were moderated in November 2017. Each proposal was assessed against the criteria published alongside the wider Skills for Londoners prospectus; the scores for bids demonstrated the total score achieved out of a possible 100 marks. On the basis of this analysis the recommendations for the programme of 17 projects were made (scores are summarised in Appendix 1).  
1.7    Endorsement was given at the LEAP Investment Committee on 17 November 2017 for the programme level delivery strategy for the DSF, which sees programme level principles approved by the LEAP Investment Committee, and project level funding decisions delegated to the LEAP Programme Board. This is in accordance with the LEAP’s scheme of delegation. The projects will then be recommended to the Mayor, in line with the Scheme of Delegation, and reported back for information to the next meeting of the LEAP Investment Committee and SfL Steering Group. This approach was endorsed by the Skills for Londoners Steering Group on 2 November 2017 and is in line with the LEAPs Schedule of Funding Responsibilities, which sees programme level strategic guidance presented to and endorsed by the LEAP Investment Committee (such as programme funding stream principles), and investment endorsement of projects requesting less than £500k being made by the means of the LEAP Programme Board. 

1.8    At its November 2017 meeting, the LEAP Programme Board endorsed the 17 projects being presented in Appendix 1 and rejected 7 on the basis that these applications failed to meet the minimum scoring criteria or the fund requirements.

1.9    The below table shows the grant amounts. Approval of applications was subject to evaluation by a team of GLA Officers (in line with the criteria set out in the prospectus). 

Table 1 – Programme of 17 projects seeking approval for DSF investment:
 

Applicant

DSF revenue funding

Barts Health

£48,300

Big Creative

£63,650

Hadlow College

£65,000

Haringey, Enfield, NE London

£100,000

Harrow College HCUC

£99,000

Havering college

£100,000

Kingston College

£100,000

LB Bexley

£100,000

Lewisham, Southwark College

£100,000

London SE Colleges

£100,000

Mary Ward Centre

£33,000

New City College

£100,000

Newham College

£100,000

Newham Vic College

£100,000

Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Learning

£100,000

Sutton and District Training Ltd

£15,500

Waltham Forest College

£100,000

Total grant amount

£1,424,450

 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The SfLCF Prospectus, launched in April 2017, invited applications that deliver high quality well-designed learning spaces that:

•    respond and adapt to both current and future requirements of employers and learners through development, modernisation and rationalisation of facilities;
•    improve quality of provision and learner satisfaction, progression and success rates, including for example those learners previously or at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training), learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and offender learners;
•    support increased levels of apprenticeship delivery and/or progression to the highest levels of vocational and technical study, for example through higher level apprenticeships or projects able to demonstrate strong progression links with higher education;
•    demonstrate strong and innovative collaboration and partnership with employers and local stakeholders, in particular through bringing businesses directly into the institution to influence the design and development of provision and supporting the creation of jobs, as well as working closely with schools, other education providers and local authorities; and
•    where appropriate, support the implementation of recommendations of the central Government-led Area Review of the FE sector.

In addition to the fund priorities, projects also needed to demonstrate how they would contribute to the Mayor and LEAP’s drive to make London a better place in which to live and work and to visit.

The GLA will ensure that the 17 projects recommended for approval are indeed aligned to the Mayoral strategies and priorities (listed in paragraph 4.4) by involving a number of key internal stakeholders who will put their specialist knowledge at the service of the applicants to help them maximise the benefits of their project from its early stages.

The key output from the DSF is a fully worked up application to the SfLCF, that reflects the priorities of the latter.  However, on the basis that the DSF leads to capital projects, the approximate primary outcomes delivered per year from these projects are summarised below; and further outputs are detailed in appendix 1 (reserved from publication). Table 2 quantifies the yearly outputs following completion of the projects. 

Table 2
 

Output/Outcome

Total

No. of additional learners

45,791

Cost savings

4,339,200

No. of jobs created

294

No. of apprenticeship starts

4,097

No. of SEND learners supported

1,359

Reduction in no of NEET learners

3,656

No. of learners supported at risk of becoming NEET

2,460

No. of students progressing into employment

13,410

Total space created/provided

84,000

 

Equality comments

3.1    The GLA Regeneration Team work with delivery partners to target investments in places with the greatest potential to secure inclusive jobs and growth opportunities, and ensure all investments promote equality and work to deliver new and secure existing diverse and inclusive opportunities and services. 

3.2    Although the proposals under examination are not fully developed due to the early stage of the projects, the GLA Community and Social Policy Team have already provided specialist comment on their potential social impact and those comments have been taken into account in the evaluation process.

3.3    Future applications to the SfLCF will then have to demonstrate how they give due regard to the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty Act and will be duly assessed and scored by the GLA Diversity and Social Policy Team, will have to demonstrate social value as per the SfLCF prospectus.

 

Other considerations

a)    key risks

4.1    Risks associated with individual projects have been identified as part of the bidders’ applications, and the overall GLA evaluation process considers risk and deliverability when prioritising projects.

4.2    Further, applicants that have received funding in previous rounds were assessed on their performance on delivering and reporting against LEAP funded projects in accordance with the GLA grant agreement to ensure that applicants remain compliant to the terms and conditions of funding.


b)    links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

4.3    A new Skills and Adult Education Strategy for London is currently published for consultation. It is the intention to reflect the strategy within the SfLCF round 2 prospectus.

4.4    The current SfLCF prospectus, published for round 1 applications, made reference to the following Mayoral strategies and priorities:

•    The Mayor’s vision A City for All Londoners, is based on the principles of ‘good growth’ (development that is socially, environmentally and economically inclusive).in which particular consideration is given to potential synergies with surrounding place-based physical projects including public realm improvements and developments. Design brief is to align with and contribute positively to the spatial ambitions of the area. Technical due diligence consultants will be appointed to provide an independent assessment of projects. Applicants must be available to respond to queries and clarifications within the assessment periods. At either the expression of interest stage or full application stage, dependent on the stage of development of designs, some level of design review will be undertaken by experts, with recommendations which may become conditions of funding for successful projects.
•    Environmental priorities: Bidders were to demonstrate that they had put in place measures to ensure their projects help deliver on the Mayor’s environmental priorities for making London a cleaner, greener and more resource-efficient city. Bidders could make use of the Sustainably Charter to develop proposals which aligned with the Mayor’s environmental priorities. RE:Fit funding support may also be available for public building refurbishment projects. Finally, whilst applicants were historically required to achieve BREEAM Excellent rating in new-build projects and BREEAM Very good in refurbishment projects, the SfLCF prospectus called on projects to achieve BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ for new build projects and ‘Excellent’ for refurbishment projects

•    Social value: applicants should aim to provide evidence of how they apply the social value principles in their procurement; which impacted an applicant’s evaluation scores.

•    Equality, fairness, and inclusion: the proposal was to reflect the diverse needs of all learners and help to reduce the disability, gender and race employment gaps.

•    Supporting businesses: projects was to identify how they planned to engage and collaborate with local businesses, employers and local authorities to support the creation of jobs within the local area and delivery of training to support growth sectors.
 

Financial comments

5.1    As approved by MD2142, £1.5m in capital funding has been swapped for the equivalent value in revenue funding, to support the first round of the Development Support Fund (part of the overall Skills for Londoners Programme). The maximum value of the proposed allocations for DSF funding as detailed within the main body of this report is £1,424,450. As such, the sum of the proposed maximum grant values does not breach the £1.5m limit allocated for the development funding.

5.2    The grant agreements between the GLA and each successful applicant will set out the conditions for use of the grant, including the deadline of 30 April 2018 for spending the funding awarded through the Development Support Fund.

5.3    It should be noted that applicants were not required to submit separate financial information as part of the application process; rather they were required to confirm that they are a further education college or training provider on the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) registers of training organisations or apprenticeship providers. In addition, applicants must be in receipt of funding from ESFA to deliver education and training in 2017/18 or expect to hold a contract in future years. In order to receive funding from ESFA, the Agency requires providers to submit financial information; this information is used to assess the organisation’s financial health. General FE colleges are subject to a separate comprehensive financial monitoring regime. Evidence that an organisation is contracting with ESFA therefore provides a degree of assurance about the provider’s financial health.
 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

 

7.1    The GLA will enter into a grant letter with the FE Capital provider for each project. Individual     projects will be required to monitor and report their progress on a monthly and quarterly basis and     each will be required to complete an evaluation following completion.

 

Activity

Timeline

Approval by Corporate Investment Board (CIB)

18th December 2017

Confirmation of 2017/18 funding allocation expected (Directors Decision)

December 2017

Enter funding agreements and delivery commences

January 2018

Announcement

January 2018

All funding is spent by the relaunch of the SfLCF

30th April 2018