Agenda item

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Governance Review


The Portfolio Holder for Development & Conservation presented the report on the annual review of governance arrangements of allocating Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding to local and strategic infrastructure projects across Sevenoaks District.


The Planning Team Leader (Infrastructure) advised that the current governance arrangements had been agreed by Members of the Committee in July 2020. The report looked at what had been implemented and considered the recommendations made by an independent review, as well as any further changes that were required to the process of spending CIL. The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the CIL Spending Board had also been consulted.


The Portfolio Holder advised that the Development & Conservation Advisory had considered the same report and had suggested that the removal of allocating to officers to spend, that the allocation be 15% of the CIL money received be in a financial year, and that the Leader and Portfolio Holder for Development & Conservation agree the spend by a Portfolio Holder Decision, and consulting the Chairman and Vice Chairman of CIL Spending Board before a decision.


The Portfolio Holder advised that, should Cabinet be minded to go with the suggestions from the Advisory Committee, that recommendation b ii) bullet point 8 was amended to read as: That the Portfolio Holder for Development & Conservation agree to the spend, by sign off on a Portfolio Holder Decision Sheet, following consultation with the: Leader, Chairman, and Vice Chairman of CIL Spending Board.


Public Sector Equality Duty
Members noted that consideration had been given to impacts under the Public Sector Equality Duty.


Resolved: That


a)         the following approach as detailed within the report and as (i) to (v), below be agreed;


                       i.         Whilst the results of the assessment are good overall as we are seen as being a well-managed and integrated authority, it is important for us to consider if there are any ways to improve.


                     ii.          One of the main suggestions is to look at predicting our CIL income. As officers, our recommendation in the past had been that we do not predict our CIL income as there was no guarantee and it is difficult to predict. This had been because not all permissions that have been served a Liability Notice would be implemented and also as we have no control over when development commences. Predicting CIL could cause us problems or unnecessarily raise hopes.  If we allocate funds based on our prediction and less CIL actually comes in, it could also lead to disappointment and projects could miss out. As currently nothing relies on our CIL income and the meeting of the CIL Spending Board was flexible and was based on how much CIL actually comes in, it was suggested that there was no need to predict our CIL income and that we set up a CIL Spending Board only when we had sufficient CIL income to do so.


                    iii.         It has also been suggested that we adopt a structured engagement plan to set our formally how we engage with stakeholders. Whilst this could be positive as we could formally set out ways in which we interact and when, it could also be beneficial to leave this flexible so we can interact and agree outcomes as and when needed.


                    iv.          It’s not considered that there was a need to set up an officer’s working group as the CIL Spending Board was set up to distribute CIL funds and the DCAC and Cabinet oversee the Governance of this. It was considered that this was appropriate and a working group was not required.


                      v.         In regard to the focus of our IDP, it would be possible to make this more of a delivery document, to look to update this regularly and also to ensure that it links into our IFS. It is important to have a clear structure to this process to ensure that all parties were included and to ensure that this links to our more strategic aims. As we were looking at the IDP and IFS again, in relation to a revised Local Plan, this was the perfect time to consider how this could be done more effectively. As a team were looking at this, it was considered that we can look at a better and more efficient way of dealing with this but no details had been decided yet. It was requested that this aspect be allocated to officers to consider a way forward.


b)     the changes to CIL Spending as detailed as (i) to (iii) below, be agreed;


i.       As the percentage for admin and Parish and Town Council’s had already been agreed, it was suggested by officers that out of the 70% allocated to the CIL Spending Board to spend, that 15% percent be set aside to spend outside of the CIL Spending Board process.


ii.      It was still appropriate for the majority of the spending to be allocated through the CIL Spending Board. It be suggested that 15% of the CIL Spending Board money was allocated to spend on projects outside of the CIL Spending Board process and that funding could only be allocated in the following circumstances:

·        The project was for infrastructure

·        The request was submitted in writing

·        The project was for one of the priorities laid out in the Council’s IFS.

·        A clear need was shown for this project and it provided a clear community benefit.

·        It was part of an existing strategy or plan.

·        That the project has sought to maximise funding from other resources.

·        It was within a financial year

·        Portfolio Holder for Development & Conservation agree to the spend, by sign off on a Portfolio Holder Decision sheet, following consultation with the: Leader, Chairman and Vice Chairman of CIL Spending Board.

iii.    It was considered that this would enable Sevenoaks District Council to contribute to much needed infrastructure projects that otherwise would go without the benefit of CIL monies or may never be implemented. There was no time limit on when this money could be spent and provided the projects would meet the criteria above it would be at officer’s discretion. It was only a small percentage of the CIL funds and would enable SDC to be more flexible with the allocation of CIL and be able to help projects that are in line with our priorities.


c)      the amendments to Appendix X1 of the Constitution, as set out in Appendices A, B, C, D and E to the report, be agreed.


Supporting documents:


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