External influences, partners and consultation with other interested parties
Our capital investment plans are influenced by a number of external parties and factors:
- central government and its agencies
- legislation requiring capital works
- partner organisations
- by the needs and views of other interested parties, particularly those of borough residents
Government sponsored initiatives and programmes will influence the projects which we will include in our capital investment plans. In particular, our housing investment programme in which we participate with regard to disabled facilities grants, is a major area of investment where funding is provided by government to meet a proportion of the costs of some of these activities. This funding currently consists mainly of grant payments to partially meet the cost of disabled facilities grants payable to eligible applicants. From 2015-16 grant funding for disabled facilities grants was no longer provided by the government but comes from the new Staffordshire Bettercare Fund. Whilst the 2015-16 grant is set at similar levels to previously, there is no guarantee that these historic levels will be maintained in later years now that we are competing with other health-related needs and organisations for funding from the whole Bettercare funding pot within Staffordshire.
Where it may be required by legislation to carry out works of a capital nature, such as to comply with the Disablement Disability Act or health and safety requirements, or antipollution regulations, we will consider the most effective way to discharge our obligations and appropriate provision will be made in our capital programme once it has determined that it shall carry out the necessary work and that this should be capitalised.
We work with a wide range of partners from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors, all of which have an influence over our spending priorities. Relationships with partners, including those concerning capital matters, will be governed by our partnership's code of practice. Wherever possible we will seek to work in partnership with others to deliver its capital investment programme in order to provide facilities which meet our own and partners' needs. When working with the private sector, the objective will be to maximise the benefits to ourselves and the community from any projects, both in terms of outputs and in relation to obtaining funding for the project.
We are a participant in the local strategic partnership (LSP) and will have regard to the content of its sustainable community strategy together with any other elements of the partnership which relate to capital investment and may be able to use the capital programme as a means of fulfilling some of its obligations to the LSP.
Projects for consideration for inclusion in the capital programme may arise from our participation in the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) or similar sub-regional partnerships which seek to stimulate economic growth.
We have established a town centre partnership, together with relevant parties such as representatives of retailers and businesses in the town centres of Newcastle and Kidsgrove. The partnership may identify proposals for town centre improvements which could place demands upon future capital programmes where such works align with our economic development objectives. It may also present an opportunity for costs to be shared between the parties likely to benefit from their implementation.
The availability of external funding will also influence the projects which we will include in our capital investment plans. This is referred to in the following section of the strategy.
Regard will be had to our obligations under disabled access requirements in putting forward proposals for capital investment and in the design of any facilities which are proposed.
Wherever possible the principles of financial and environmental sustainability will be incorporated into any capital projects