Through the Towns Fund, government will work with eligible places to address growth constraints and to ensure we chart a course of recovery from the impact of Covid-19. The overarching aim of the Towns Fund is to drive the sustainable economic regeneration of towns to deliver long term economic and productivity growth. This will be done through:
Ensuring towns are thriving places for people to live and work, including by:
• Increasing density in town centres;
• Strengthening local economic assets including local cultural assets;
• Site acquisition, preparation, remediation, and/or development; and
• Making full use of planning tools to bring strategic direction and change.
Skills and enterprise infrastructure
• Driving private sector investment and small business development; and
• Ensuring towns have the space to support skills and small business development.
• Developing local transport schemes that complement regional and national networks; and
• Supporting the delivery of improved digital connectivity.
Town Deal Designated Areas
Maps with Wards
Town Deal Board & Advisory Boards
One of the requirement set by government is the formation of a Town Deal Board (TDB), who will be responsible for producing Town Investment Plans, including putting forward suitable projects, which align with the objectives of the Towns Fund, and for overseeing compliance with the Heads of Terms Agreement with government. TDB’s are required to operate in a transparent and objective way for the benefit of the towns they represent. It agreed that one TDB will represent both Bloxwich and Walsall areas. Walsall Councils Cabinet approved the formation of the Town Deal Board on the 9th September 2020. More HERE
The Town Deal Board’s membership should reflect the diversity of the town and surrounding areas. The Towns Fund Prospectus stated that membership of Town Deal Boards should comprise:
- A private sector chair
- All tiers of local government for the geography of the town
- The MP(s) representing the town
- The Local Enterprise Partnership
- Local businesses and investors
- Community/local voluntary community sector representatives
- Other relevant local organisations, such as FE colleges or Clinical Commissioning Groups.
Town Deal boards are required to operate in accordance with government requirements as set out within their guidance. More HERE . These standards will be set into place by the Town Deal Board’s accountable body and secretariat.
Accountable Body & Secretariat Functions
All Town Deals will need to have an Accountable Body, to receive, manage, administer and account for the resources allocated / held. Walsall Council will deliver this responsibility through the Programme Management service area within Resources & Transformation.
Having a seat on the board in a secretariat capacity as a non- voting member, the Head of Programme Management and the supporting teams will ensure that all decisions made by the Town Deal Board are in accordance with good governance principles. These principles are now set into place and appear on the council website, together with other information as required by government through its published guidance. More HERE.
Advice on project / programme development will be provided to the Town Deal and Advisory Boards through the Regeneration, Housing & Economy service area of Walsall Council, as advisors to the Town Deal Board and the approved Advisory Boards.
To support the work of the Town Deal Boards and to ensure that the towns are represented at local levels, Town Deal Advisory Board’s are being established for both Bloxwich and Walsall towns. Their role will include; the development of a ‘Vision’ for each area, together with driving forward the development of projects and their contents, through key partners and stakeholder involvement etc. The Chairs of both the Bloxwich Advisory Board and the Walsall Advisory Board will also sit on the Town Deal Board as full voting members.
Members & profiles
Roles & Responsibilities
The role of the Board is to:
- Develop and agree an evidenced based Town Investment Plan
- Develop a clear programme of interventions
- Coordinate resources and influence stakeholders
The Board is required to:
- Uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life (the Nolan Principles)
- Embed arrangements in local plans (where appropriate) and undertake Environmental Impact Assessments and fulfil duties on public authorities under the Equalities Act, in particular, and the public sector equality duty
- Ensure communities’ voices are involved in shaping design and decision making at each phase of development
- Ensure diversity in its engagement with local communities and businesses
- Help to develop detailed business cases
- Oversee each step of agreeing a Walsall and Bloxwich Towns Deal, and oversee compliance with the Heads of Terms Agreement with government
The Chair is required to:
- Uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life (the Nolan Principles)
- Lead the Board in achieving its objectives, maintain an overview of activity, and champion and support partnership working
- Ensure that decisions are made by the Board in accordance with good governance principles
- Sign the Head of Terms Agreement with government
The Lead Council is required to:
- Act as the Accountable Body
- Sign the Head of Terms Agreement with Government;
- Monitor and evaluate the delivery of individual Walsall and Bloxwich Towns Fund projects;
- Submit regular monitoring reports to Towns Hub;
- Receive and account for the Walsall and Bloxwich Towns’ funding allocation.
- Ensure that decisions are made by the Board in accordance with good governance principles;
- Ensure transparency requirements are met by publishing the information on the dedicated page on the Lead Council’s website
- Develop a delivery team, delivery arrangements and agreements
- Develop agreed projects in detail and undertake any necessary feasibility studies;
- Undertake any required Environmental Impact Assessments or Public Sector Equalities Duties;
- Help to develop detailed business cases;
- Liaise with potential private investors in identified local projects and schemes.
Town Deal Boards are responsible for developing a Town Investment Plan (TIP) that sets out a clear vision and strategy for the town. Plans should reflect local priorities and be co-designed with local businesses and communities. A TIP will be used as the basis for agreeing the Town Deal, including the specific projects to be funded, and the agreement in principle/Heads of Terms. (before entering into phase 2 where funding may be granted).
TIPs should be long-term, strategic documents providing the strategic case for Town Deals, with the evidential and analytical basis for the selection and design of the projects proposed in it. Government would also like them to be broader than this: they should set out a vision for the town with broad ownership and a strategy that can set the direction for the economic turnaround of the town over a decade, including economic recovery from the current crisis.
Work has started in the development of the TIP’s for both Bloxwich and Walsall town deal areas, and will continue through to submission to Government in January 2021.
There will be one Town Deal Board, structured to represent both the Bloxwich and Walsall Town Deal areas. To assist in this work and to ensure representation from the communities that make up these areas; Town Deal Advisory Board’s for both Bloxwich and Walsall have been formed.
Heads of Terms
Where the TIP is of the required standard and contains viable projects, government will offer Heads of Terms. Heads of Terms are an agreement in principle for funding and will be in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by the Chair of the Town Deal Board, the Lead Council and by Ministers. The relevant MOU would also be attached to any funding that is allocated to each town.
The Heads of Terms will include: Allocated Towns Fund budget and financial profile, List of projects to receive funding and recommended assurance route for business cases, List of support agreed by other government departments, Key conditions and requirements.
Examples of conditions which may be attached include target figures for match funding, minimum benefit cost ratios, meeting a spend profile, requirement to engage with government bodies, improved value for money or confirmation of planning approval. Once a town has agreed to the Heads of Terms, the Town Deal will be announced, and funding allocated.
Secretariat and governance
The Lead Council will provide the Secretariat function for the Joint Walsall and Bloxwich Town Deal Board (the Board).
The Board will meet as per Schedule of Dates, agreed at its Annual Meeting. The Board shall at its Annual Meeting, elect a Chair from among its voting members, preferably from the private sector. In the event of the Chair being absent from the meeting, the Board shall elect a chair from amongst the voting members present for that meeting.
Members will endeavour to attend all meetings of the Joint Walsall and Bloxwich Town Deal Board; however, if they are unable to attend any meeting, then they should submit their apologies in advance of the meeting to the Secretariat. As flexibility and continuity is essential to partnership working, each Member may identify a named substitute who may attend on their behalf when necessary. The named substitute will be the only person to attend in the absence of the Board member.
No business shall be transacted at any Board meeting, unless a quorum is achieved. The quorum shall be a minimum of 6 voting members, with at least one representative from: Private, Local Government and Communities membership categories, together with Walsall Council.
The general rule about decision making by the Board is that any decision of the Board must be a majority decision at a meeting. In the event of a tied vote, the Chair will have a casting vote.
If an urgent decision is required, that cannot be deferred until a subsequent planned meeting, a special meeting can be arranged. It shall be convened by the Secretariat in consultation with the Chair or Deputy Chair if the chair is unavailable.
A meeting of the Board must also be convened by the Chair within 28 days of the receipt of a requisition of any two voting members of the Board, addressed to the Secretariat of the Board. All requisitions shall be in writing and no business other than that specified in the requisition shall be transacted at such a meeting.
Members of the public can observe Board meetings but not speak or participate in the meeting itself. Meetings will generally be open to the public unless the agenda includes confidential or exempt items, for example, relating to commercial sensitivity, then the public shall be excluded. Due to COVID19 board meetings will be held virtually through an appropriate medium (Microsoft Teams etc.) with public meetings broadcasted through an appropriate on-line platform (YouTube etc.)
The agenda and supporting papers for public meetings will be published in the public domain five working days prior to the meeting. Decisions and draft minutes will be published in the public domain within ten working days of the meeting. Minutes shall remain draft until formally approved by the relevant meeting Chair. Any queries arising from minutes shall be raised at the subsequent meeting.
The proceedings and resolutions of meetings of the Board, including the names of those present and in attendance, shall be minuted by the Secretariat of the Board. If any member or officer present at a meeting has a private or personal financial interest, or if his/her employer, partner, business associate, client, relative or friend has such an interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting. He/she shall declare that interest at the outset, shall take no part in the discussion and shall not vote upon the matter. All such declarations must be included in the minutes of the meeting.
Working with our partners
Consultants Arcadis have been engaged to both engage with residents and collect information and data that can assist the shaping of proposals for both Bloxwich and Walsall Town Deal areas.
There has been extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and feedback shows there is considerable interest in the Towns Fund across Walsall and Bloxwich. Due to Covid restrictions, much of the consultative process has been delivered through social media sources including facebook and Twitter and through contact with key local stakeholders and networks.
Residents and Business in and around Walsall and Bloxwich were invited to take part in an online survey to share ideas on how any monies could be spent. This is supported by the Governments #MyTown website, which also gives individuals the opportunity to have their say.
Code of Conduct
Through the Town Deal, the Walsall and Bloxwich Towns Deal Board is responsible for oversight of a significant amount of public funding. As such, Members of the Board fulfil their role as public-private partnerships whilst ensuring robust stewardship of public resources.
Members of the Walsall and Bloxwich Towns Deal Board and those supporting the activities of the Town Deal will adhere to the Seven Principles of Public Life (the Nolan Principles):
Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest arises where a Board Member, a close associate, immediate family, business, organisation or employer has an interest in a matter, which is the same as, connected to or may be affected by the matter under discussion.
A Register of Interests shall be established and completed by all members of the Board. This shall be made available to the Chair at all meetings. The Lead Council Secretariat will maintain a register of Board Member interests that will be reviewed annually to ensure it is up to date.
At a meeting, Board Members must declare any interest, which they have in any matter to be considered at that meeting. The Board may, at any time authorise a Member to remain in the meeting whilst a matter in which they have or may have a conflict of interest is discussed, then a Member may speak on the item but must not vote on it.
Register of Gifts and Hospitalities
Board Members must register in the Register of Members Gifts and Hospitality held by the Lead Council’s Secretariat, any gift or hospitality received (or offered), in connection with official duties as a Board Member and the source of that gift or hospitality (or offer) within 28 days of receiving it. Acceptance by Board Members of hospitality through attendance at relevant events, conferences and other Board related activity is acceptable where it is clear the hospitality is corporate rather than personal.
If an individual is dissatisfied with the procedures and arrangement in place for the Board, they should raise their concern with a member of the Town Deal Board Secretariat. If an individual is dissatisfied with the Board or a Board Member’s Conduct, the individual should make a formal complaint to the Board’s Chair in writing, detailing the nature of the complaint, which will be investigated in line with the Lead Council’s procedure. Alternatively, an individual can raise a concern HERE
Whistle Blowing Policy
Where it is alleged that the Board is acting in breach of the law or failing to safeguard public funds, the whistleblowing procedure of the Lead Council will be applied.