Councillor Duncan asked the following question:
a. Can you please share with all elected councillors a copy of recent legal advice obtained by the council relating to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Grant Scheme?
b. Can you please confirm who provided this advice and the total cost of this advice?
c. Can you please confirm details and costs of recent staffing changes to accommodate the CIL Grant Scheme application process?
d. Now stage one of the application process has closed, can you please inform councillors how many applications have been received?
e. Can you please confirm the names of the organisations who have applied, a brief summary of the project and the amount of CIL funding that has been requested?
Councillor Keal responded as follows;
I refer to your Questions on Notice of 21 November 2002 regarding the Community Infrastructure Levy Grant Scheme (the "Scheme") currently being operated by Ryedale District Council ("RDC"). I am responding to these Questions on Notice in my capacity as the Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee, which has responsibility for the Scheme.
Can you please share with all elected councillors a copy of recent legal advice obtained by the council relating to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Grant Scheme?
I refer you to Article 2.3(b) of RDC's Constitution which governs the access of RDC's Councillors to information which is legally privileged (as is the case in respect of the information which is the subject matter of your first question). It provides that:
"Councillors will have such rights of access to such documents, information, land and buildings of the Council as are necessary for the proper discharge of their functions and in accordance with the law. The Head of Paid Service may refuse inspection of documents where the documents are, or in the event of legal proceedings would be, protected by privilege arising out of a Solicitor and Client relationship; (ii) Councillors will not make public information which is confidential or exempt without the consent of the Council or divulge information given in confidence to anyone other than a Councillor or officer entitled to know it. For these purposes, “confidential” and “exempt” information are defined in the Access to Information Rules in Part 4 of this Constitution."
Following consultation with the Acting Head of Paid Service, the decision has been taken to restrict access to the legal advice to which you refer. In particular, the advice is particularly sensitive in the context of discussions with North Yorkshire County Council and it is not intended to make the contents of the advice public at this time.
In accordance with the Protocol for Members/Officer Relations you are entitled to take this up with the Acting Head of Paid Service.
Can you please confirm who provided this advice and the total cost of this advice?
RDC has sought appropriate advice on various aspects of the Scheme in order to ensure that it meets all relevant requirements. DWF Legal have provided advice under the Crown Commercial Services Framework Agreement in this respect and the fees (excluding VAT) rendered in connection with the advice to date amounts to £7,971.
Can you please confirm details and costs of recent staffing changes to accommodate the CIL Grant Scheme application process?
The post of Economic Development Officer (Grade 7) was created for the period from September 2022 to March 2023 as an internal secondment role and was intended at this time to primarily support the delivery of the CIL Scheme but also deliver a range of other projects within the team including a second round of the Community Environment Grant scheme, active travel projects etc. The post was filled with the recruitment of an Officer from another team within RDC in mid-September 2022.
It was originally intended that the role be funded through the use of LGR backfill monies however, as the current post holders substantive post was not backfilled and was previously operating at the top of Grade 6, the staffing changes implemented are currently operating as cost neutral to the authority and no LGR backfill monies or other RDC funds have yet been utilised.
Given the value of the role to progressing a number of Economic Development team initiatives (both those listed above and other pipeline schemes) this post has been given approval to become permanent. It is anticipated that from January 2023 recruitment will be completed and the vacant post within another RDC team will be filled. It will be from this time that there would be additional staffing costs for RDC of a Grade 7 role – c.£31k per annum plus on costs.
Now stage one of the application process has closed, can you please inform councillors how many applications have been received?
To date at 30.11.22 following the 9am deadline, we have received 20 applications. We have been notified that there may be another received later today. A late application was received and it was agreed with the applicant that, due to medical issues, this could be submitted.
Can you please confirm the names of the organisations who have applied, a brief summary of the project and the amount of CIL funding that has been requested?
Please note following Cllr Duncan’s email of 24/11, attached is a list of the brief project details as requested.
Please note that the information disclosed in this response may constitute exempt information for the purposes of the Access to Information Procedure Rules and is provided to you in confidence in furtherance of your duties as Councillors of RDC and should not, therefore, be disclosed to any third party without the consent of RDC. You should note that, in particular, the information could cause substantial prejudice to the interests of RDC if it is disclosed to North Yorkshire County Council.