Community Infrastructure Levy and s106
Proposals are before cabinet at the meeting on December 4th for the decision making on CIL and s106.
Here is an extract from the papers – I have highlighted the decision process proposed to be agreed at cabinet.
I am sharing my personal thoughts about this process after the extract. Apologies for the length of the email. Is anyone going to make a statement to cabinet about this?
To read the full papers follow this link and look at item 12 Transforming Neighbourhood Working here
There are a number of papers and appendices to read.
If you wish to make a statement to cabinet:
The deadline for receipt of petitions and statements for the 04 December 2017 Cabinet is 12 noon on Friday 01 December 2017. These should be sent, in writing or by e-mail to: Democratic Services, City Hall, College Green,Bristol, BS1 5TR
12. Transforming Neighbourhood Working extract
Local CIL and S106 decision making
a. Establish 6 ‘Area CIL/S106 Committees’ of ward members. The purpose of the committee will be to take decisions over spend of the local element of CIL and devolved S106 where there is a decision to be made about what and or where the s106 is spent.
b. In many instances s106 monies are for a specific project and the only decision is when it should be delivered. In these cases it is proposed to delegate the final approval to service directors to deliver the scheme in full consultation with ward members.
c. The committees will meet once a year with the option of an additional meeting where required and will be supported by Democratic Services. It is suggested the meetings take place on the same day at City Hall.
d. A map showing the proposed boundaries of the 6 committees is attached in appendix A1
e. Areas with Neighbourhood Development Plans that benefit from an additional 10% of local CIL will be asked to identify priorities for the funding available.
f. Introduce a consistent citywide process where CIL funding is available to all organisations which meet the criteria and best placed to deliver priorities agreed by area committee members in consultation with local communities. Where funding is approved for a third party organisation a funding agreement and appropriate monitoring arrangements will be in place.
g. All CIL funded projects will be expected to meet citywide criteria as set out in appendix A2.
h. The new process will reduce the cost of administration by encouraging fewer, larger value projects.
i. It is suggested the process has three stages
1) Ward members consult their communities and newly established self-organised networks to agree one or two local CIL priorities.
2) Area committee members meet to agree area priorities and invite proposals.
3) Decisions are made in committee to agree spend with the first meetings taking place in June/July 2018
(The proposed Terms of Reference is attached in appendix A).
j. When consulting communities it is important to note 49.6% of respondents to the ‘Your neighbourhoods’ consultation said they would like to influence decisions using online platforms and suggested this is a way of reaching a wider audience.
k. It is proposed £38k will fund an officer to support the development of CIL proposal, ensure funding agreements are in place and monitor delivery of projects.
Recommendation(s) / steer sought:
1. To approve arrangements to support community action and continue to ensure local people can influence decisions through their local ward councillors. Report not to exceed 2 sides 3
2. To delegate responsibility for the expenditure of £271k (formally ‘wellbeing fund’ expended by the Neighbourhood Committees/Partnerships) to the Service Director of Neighbourhoods & Communities
3. To support the proposal to go to Full Council to establish 6 Area CIL/s106 Committees.
4. To note the proposals to disband the existing Neighbourhood Committees/Partnerships.
5. To, in principle, agree to the delegation of the expenditure of CIL local monies and nonearmarked s.106 monies to the 6 Area CIL/s106 committees with the Mayor’s scheme of delegation to be updated once the committees have been set up.
City Outcome: To change the way BCC works with local people by encouraging neighbourhood communities to self-organise and take action on the things that matter most. BCC will encourage, facilitate and collaborate.
Personally I am concerned that the consultation process set out for communities to influence allocation of CIL is not robust.
Government CIL guidance states
” If there is no parish, town or community council, the charging authority will retain the levy receipts but should engage with the communities where development has taken place and agree with them how best to spend the neighbourhood funding. Charging authorities should set out clearly and transparently their approach to engaging with neighbourhoods using their regular communication tools eg website, newsletters, etc. The use of neighbourhood funds should therefore match priorities expressed by local communities, including priorities set out formally in neighbourhood plans. ”
Parishes have an established process for decision making. In Bristol the council is proposing a system of area committees made up of a non geographically logical grouping of wards.
The boundaries have apparently been drawn so that areas of local deprivation are grouped with areas where more CIL is being generated.
Whilst this is understandable, it is questionable whether moving expenditure away from the area where development has taken place will be in line with the aim of CIL to provide local infrastructure to support local development.
CIL, when introduced, was intended to replace Section 106 as the means of collecting contributions towards the cumulative impacts of development across an area.
The original intention of the neighbourhood share was to address directly these concerns by earmarking a proportion of the CIL to parishes and neighbourhoods to address very local issues and thus encourage communities to accept development in their local area.
The council will need to ensure that decisions on allocation of CIL to locations not directly affected by the development generating the CIL, will not be challengeable by communities from the location where the development has taken place.
Other Process concerns:
The consultation relies on the efforts of ward members. What guidelines for the process will be drawn up to ensure that community involvement is properly conducted by ward members? What resources will be available to the ward members to ensure that no communities are disadvantaged by the action or lack of it by their ward members?
Why is the 3 stage process set out with decisions made by ward members= area committee members after they have agreed area priorities together at stage 2- how do communities get involved in agreeing priorities?
What input will communities have at the decision stage ie at annual or twice yearly meetings?
Relying on online consultation may disadvantage non-computer users; without the existence of the Neighbourhood Partnerships an engagement process which encourages all members of the community needs to be drawn up which will ensure that people who want to be involved in the decision making are enabled to.
What process will be put in place to ensure that consultation is open and transparent and in line with the Bristol Compact and Code of Good Practice on Consultation?