Summary of observations
- There remains considerable scope for further explorations of the flexibilities of net revenue funding and opportunities for innovation as Local Authorities approach round three and the intended green recovery from the pandemic.
- There may be a benefit from providing increased support and guidance on working collectively towards national policy priorities that does not compromise the benefits of flexibility and allowing a place-based approach.
- Consideration of ways to address the impact of ending CCF and the establishment of net revenue on mid and lower tier recipients would be beneficial. This could include assessing if a parallel investment structure would address the impact and secure additional benefit for communities.
- The de minimis allocation would benefit from being reassessed if a greater scale of impact is sought across the lower tier recipients of net revenues. Increasing it to a sum nearer the bottom of the middle tier (C. £40k) would allow approaches adopted in that tier (and the benefits associated) to be secured in the lower tier.
- It is important to note the limiting impact of annual decisions on the distribution of net revenues and the pursuit of strategic/large scale impact. Any steps that support longer term confidence in this income stream will allow a longer-term, and therefore more strategic, approach to be adopted. This could include issuing provisional planning figures – a "not less than £…" budgeting figure for example - to support earlier planning for the subsequent round.
- The timing of this study is good; arriving ahead of Local Authority led reviews of their own approaches for the third round of net revenue distributions. Noting the limiting impact of shortened planning timelines, any responses to this study would ideally be agreed in the Spring/Summer well ahead of Local Authority planning for the fourth round of distribution.
- There is an opportunity to revisit the reporting approach for future rounds to address these observations.
- There is opportunity to consider and adopt mechanisms to support systematic knowledge transfer, and to encourage and coordinate cross boundary projects and collaboration.