Report of the Corporate Director, Community.
The Leader of the Council considered a report requesting authority for Harrow Council to receive and utilise grant funding from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme in order to carry out energy works that supported the decarbonisation of public buildings.
The Head of Natural Resources & Climate Strategy, who was present in the virtual meeting, explained that Harrow Council had submitted a number of applications prior to the scheme’s closing date in January 2021. A formal notification of whether any had been successful was expected next week. The government’s approach was that any allocated funds would be paid in advance this financial year and would have to be spent by the end of September 2021. The Director of Finance added that as the grant funding was expected to be below the £5 million threshold for expenditure covered by additional external sources, it would be accounted for and included in the Council’s Capital Programme.
The Leader of the Council thanked officers for their report and stressed the urgency of the decision which was required in order to enable the Council to confirm formal authority and preparedness to accept any potential funds by the Government’s deadline of 20 February 2021 should any of its bids were successful. Having noted the importance of the such funding and the subsequent benefits it would bring to Harrow, the Leader
(1) the principle of the Council accepting any grant funding received from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme under section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 be approved;
(2) the Corporate Director, Community be authorised to enter into documentation and take all other necessary actions to:
(a) formally accept specific awards of funding from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme; and
(b) procure and deliver the implementation of works for which funding had been received.
(3) the Director of Finance be authorised to amend the capital programme to include any capital grant funding awarded to the Council under the terms of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, subject to the capital project meeting the requirements of Financial Regulation B48.
(4) the outcome of the Council’s funding applications be reported to a future meeting of Cabinet.
Reason for Decision: To enable the Council to receive and use external funding for the delivery of energy works that would support decarbonisation of its built estate, thereby taking action to address the climate emergency.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected: As set out in the report.
Conflict of Interest relating to the matter declared by Leader/Dispensation Granted: None.
[Call-in did not apply as a waiver of Call-in had been obtained from the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that the decision proposed was reasonable and should be treated as a matter of urgency as any delay likely to be caused by the Call-in process would seriously prejudice the Council’s interests.
Reasons for Urgency: This decision was urgent in order to provide confirmation to Salix Finance, the Scheme administrators, by the Government’s deadline of 20February 2021 that the Council was prepared to accept any awarded grant funding, such funding to be paid in advance prior to the 20/21 financial year end for delivery of works in the next financial year.]