Commentary, June 2016
Access Fund: Combining Capital and Revenue
Latest news on the Department for Transport's Access Fund gives some insight in to the application timescales and the relationship between the capital and revenue elements of the Fund.
Information being circulated by the Department's regional representatives confirms that the £500m capital element is embedded in the Local Growth Fund and that the deadline for applications for that is 28th July (i.e. 7 weeks time).
It also says that the revenue competition details won't be released until "...later this June". So probably after the EU referendum on 23rd June (i.e. in at least 2 weeks time).
The Department is encouraging "...all Local Authorities to work in partnership with their Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and to think now about aligning their future bids for revenue funding with the proposals that LEPs are currently developing for the Local Growth Fund."
This means, if your local authority wants to have a joined up Access Fund programme which uses capital and revenue you definitely need to be developing your strategy now and getting the capital element written up in an Local Growth Fund bid very soon. Then you can slot the revenue element in to a bid once the revenue application process is announced.
Waiting until the revenue element announcement would mean you'd have less than 5 weeks to draw your strategy together coherently, and engage your LEP if you haven't already.
The Access Fund offers a relatively small pot of revenue funding. So you'll need a really robust revenue bid, with clear links to any capital element (which needs to 'capitalise' revenue costs where possible).
As the Department says: "Local Authorities should make clear where there are connections and/or dependencies between the bids for revenue funding from the Access fund, and bids for capital funding from the Local Growth Fund."
Successfully managing the interplay between these two separate but fundamentally linked funding processes will be critical if you want to fund sustainable transport activities through the Access Fund between 2017 and 2020.
If you would like help developing a successful bid for the Access Fund, contact us.