Agenda item

Thames Freeport Accountable Body Decisions (Decision: 110695)


Councillor Arnold introduced the report and stated that the Council is the Accountable Body for Thames Freeport and had responsibilities around the management of public money and good governance. She explained that £25m government funding had been allocated to support capital projects identified through the Freeport Full Business Case (FBC), which had been agreed by DLUHC. The projects could only be amended by the Thames Freeport Governing Board and DLUHC. The project promotors were now working to develop Outline Business Cases (OBCs) for the projects and the Accountable Body had been conducting due diligence checks. The report asked for approval for the projects that have passed the checks to be submitted to DLUHC. The funding allocated for these projects was time limited and had to be spent by March 2026, and to ensure there were no delays delegated authority to the S151 officer in consultation with the Leader, Portfolio Holder for Governance, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer was being sought to approve the remaining OBCs, to approve the FBCs and to enter into agreements to release funding. Councillor Arnold added that the report was also seeking delegated authority to approve the Freeport Finance and Business plan for 2024/25, subject to it passing all the necessary checks and there being legal agreements in place. 

The Leader explained that the Council were ensuring it met its responsibilities as Accountable Body and were working closely with the Freeport to ensure the necessary legal agreements were in place. He thanked officers for their hard work on this report.

RESOLVED: that Cabinet:

1.1 Approved the Outline Business Case for Seed Capital Funding which have been completed and passed due diligence checks set out in exempt Appendices 1 and 2 for their submission to DLUHC.

1.2 Agreed that authority is delegated to the Section 151 Officer in consultation with the Leader, Portfolio Holder for Governance, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer to approve:

a. the remaining Outline Business Cases for Seed Capital Funding set out in exempt Appendix 3 once due diligence checks are complete and it has been confirmed by Officers projects align with the Thames Freeport Full Business Case or have otherwise been agreed by DLUHC through formal change control processes.

b. the release of initial Seed Capital Funding to project promotors to develop Business Cases if funding is requested, approved then released by DLUHC to the Council as Accountable Body subject to approval of the Thames Freeport Memorandum of Understanding and once relevant funding agreements are in place.

c. the Full Business Cases (FBCs) for Seed Capital Projects and to enter into funding agreements and release the funding as set out in the FBCs for the delivery of the projects subject to approval of the Thames Freeport Memorandum of Understanding, satisfactory completion of procurement processes, completion of checks and determination of the subsidy control position of the Accountable Body.

d. the Thames Freeport Operating Company Business and Finance Plan for 2024-5 and enter into a legally binding funding agreement subject to approval of the Business Plan by the General Purposes and Resources Committee of the Thames Freeport Governing Board, satisfactory completion of due diligence checks, establishment of the subsidy control position, approving the Thames Freeport Memorandum of Understanding and signing the appropriate legal agreements and to confirmation of the funding available through retained business rates section 31 grant.

Reason for the decision: as outlined in the report

This decision is subject to call-in

Supporting documents: