Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
West Sussex County Council together with District and Borough councils has an exciting ambition to be a key location for digital investment, innovation and expansion.
The county’s local authorities recognise the significant economic and social benefits of developing the range and reach of gigabit-capable full fibre broadband. Funding has been successfully secured from central government to increase digital connectivity by building resilient capacity of full fibre infrastructure to unlock coverage in rural, coastal and less densely populated areas.
West Sussex Full Fibre Programme is an emerging body of work that will develop commercial models and stimulate the market to invest in full fibre in West Sussex.
The Full Fibre Programme is being funded, in the main, by money retained in the Business Rates Pool pilot. This is currently estimated to be around £21million for the current financial year. The pilot scheme operates on the basis that each authority retains the same amount of growth money that they would have received under the usual 50% scheme. An additional 25% is retained in a pooled investment fund to be allocated by a Board representing the participant authorities and comprising all the councils’ Leaders. The County Council is the lead authority for the programme.
Recommendations for funding are made by the West Sussex Full Fibre Programme Board to the county Chief Executives’ Board for consideration and agreement. Recommendations are then taken to West Sussex Leaders’ for collective endorsement, giving approval for each project and initiative in the programme to be funded. The District and Borough Chief Executives and Leaders have agreed allocations for funding from the business rates pool for digital infrastructure projects and initiatives in flight and set to begin imminently.
Cabinet will be asked to endorse the proposals for the allocation of the business rate pool as recommended by the West Sussex Full Fibre Programme Board and delegate to the Executive Director of Place Services the authority to implement the programme as designed in consultation with West Sussex Councils’ Chief Executives and the Cabinet Member for Economy and Corporate Resources.
Following consideration of the report, Cabinet resolved:
1. To endorse that the Leader approves the proposals for the allocation of the business rate pool as recommended by the West Sussex Full Fibre Programme Board.
2. To delegate to the Executive Director of Place Services the authority to implement the programme, including any project level key decisions, in consultation with West Sussex Councils’ Chief Executives Group and the Cabinet Member for Economy and Corporate Relations.
The call-in deadline is 27 February 2020.
Report author: Sarah Bazen
Publication date: 18/02/2020
Date of decision: 18/02/2020
Decided at meeting: 18/02/2020 - Cabinet
Effective from: 28/02/2020