THE SINGLE INVESTMENT FUND
LIVERPOOL CITY REGION

Background

The devolution deal between Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Government, agreed on 17 November 2015, secured a commitment to establish a Single Investment Fund (SIF) for the City Region. The SIF brings together local and national funds with those secured through devolution. The fund will help to deliver the City Region’s targets for growth and secure long-term prosperity for our residents and businesses.

The recently published Single Growth Strategy ‘Building Our Future’ provides a framework to guide investment decisions. With a focus on business development, research and development, innovation, skills, infrastructure and homes, the SIF will be aligned with the three Pillars in the Growth Strategy – Productivity, People, Place - and the priorities of our local, regional and national partners.

The first round call for proposals is open until Friday 9 December 2016. Further details and the prospectus and application pack are available below.

Liverpool City Combined Authority Single Investment Fund Report

Prospectus

The SIF Prospectus can be downloaded here . It describes what the SIF will fund, the levels of funding available and who is eligible to apply.  It also provides guidance on the application process, the appraisal and approval process and the criteria that will be used to assess projects. The application pack can be downloaded here. It contains the application forms, appraisal criteria, appraisal forms and details of pre-feasibility funding.

SIF funding is available for two types of project:

1. Commissioned projects – that address opportunities for growth identified in the LCR Growth Strategy, other relevant supporting plans and/or by the Combined Authority. These projects will be invited to submit a Strategic Outline Case (SOC) and will be prioritised in terms of the allocation of SIF Funding.  Commissioned projects will also be eligible to apply for pre-feasibility/feasibility funding.

2. Open call projects – SIF funding may also be allocated to projects on the basis of an Open Call, where needs or gaps have been identified in terms of specific project themes.

The minimum scale for project applications will normally be £250,000 of SIF funding. Projects can be combined to form packages or programmes.

Liverpool City Region Single Investment Fund Prospectus 2016

Application Process

The application and appraisal process will be proportionate to the project – with more detailed information being required for large, complex or contentious projects.

Stage 1: Initial proposal/Strategic Outline Case (SOC) – will provide the underlying justification for the project and will be appraised against the criteria set out below. Successful applicants will be asked to complete an Outline Business Case.

Stage 2: Outline Business Case (OBC) – this will identify the preferred option for delivery from a shortlist of options, and will include a detailed Business Case for the project which will need to be developed to a level where it is capable of being given approval in principle.  If the OBC is endorsed the applicant will be requested to submit a Full Business Case.

Stage 3: Full Business Case (FBC) – this will augment the OBC by adding in particular details of contractual and delivery arrangements, along with confirmation of costs and benefits to the OBC.

The closing date for submissions under Investment Round 1 is Friday 9 December 2016. 

Contact details for further information are available at the back of the Prospectus. 

All applications will be appraised in accordance with the draft Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Assurance Framework. This is subject to agreement with Government.

FAQ

What is the Single Investment Fund?

The SIF has been established by the Combined Authority to unlock the economic potential of the Liverpool City Region. It comprises the Devolution Deal Investment Fund allocation of £30 million per annum and other local and national funding sources. 

What will it Fund?

The SIF will fund activities that deliver economic growth, as measured by Gross Value Added (GVA) and jobs, and that contribute to the delivery of the LCR Growth Strategy ‘Building Our Future’.  A key guiding principle underpinning the SIF relates to ‘Gain Share’.  Where possible therefore, the SIF fund will be invested in projects that generate a return, so that resources can be recycled to achieve further growth.  This includes investment in assets that generate a revenue or capital receipt. 

This first call for proposals will assist projects that can start spending within 12 months of the date of the Prospectus and complete within 36 months. Further commissioning and funding calls will be released in the future and publicised through this website.

In order to deliver the LCR growth ambitions set out in the Growth Strategy, the SIF will fund projects under the following themes:  

  • Business growth and sector development
  • Research, development and innovation 
  • Skills 
  • Transport and other infrastructure
  • Regeneration, development and culture
  • Housing  

The type of project call – commissioned or open – and the eligible activities relating to each theme are described in the prospectus.

What is the Liverpool City Region Growth Strategy?

The Liverpool City Region has a vision ‘to build on its core strengths and capacity for innovation to create a truly global and competitive City Region at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse’.

Within the Growth Strategy, partners have described their mission as being to:

  • Start, attract and develop more businesses
  • Nurture and grow the talent base
  • Enhance and protect the distinctive quality of place
  • Create more sustainable employment and high value jobs

To achieve this the Strategy will:

  • Build on key assets – including LCR’s role as a unique global port and a world-leading centre for innovation and achievement in science, culture and civic life.
  • Focus on growth sectors – the impact of investment will be maximised by strategically focusing on those sectors with the greatest potential.
  • Respond to challenges – including long-established challenges regarding levels of wealth, business, jobs, worklessness, productivity, skills and spatially concentrated deprivation.

The Strategy’s aspirations are reflected in the three ‘pillars’ around which it is structured:

  1. Productivity – focusing on businesses where the opportunity for growth is greatest
  2. People – ensuring residents and workers are equipped with the right skills
  3. Place – making the most of the City Region’s physical and cultural assets and infrastructure

The Liverpool City Region Growth Strategy ‘Building Our Future’ can be accessed here.

What funding is available?

The SIF will combine various funding sources into a ‘single pot’, which will be distributed through two mechanisms – commissioned projects which will be invited to submit a SOC and an open call for projects.

Other funding sources will be aligned with the SIF to ensure that an integrated, comprehensive and strategic approach is adopted to promoting growth within the City Region.  These will in particular include the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) and Chrysalis funding from 2017/18. These sources will have their own separate application processes.

SIF funding will be provided in the most appropriate form for each project based on the results of a robust appraisal.  This could include:

  • loan;
  • grant;
  • equity investment; or
  • guarantee.

The amount of funding available for each project will be based on an assessment of the minimum level of finance needed to unlock the project’s delivery.  The SIF will fund projects requesting a minimum of £250,000 but projects can be combined to form packages or programmes and preference will be given to proposals that have match funding and lever additional private sector investment into the LCR.

Where possible the SIF fund will be invested so that resources can be recycled including in assets that generate a revenue or capital receipt.  Preference will therefore be given to support in the form of loans or investments that generate a return.   Additional business rates and/or Council Tax revenues generated will be recycled to the Fund on a pro-rata basis, as appropriate, reflecting public sector investment.  

Who is eligible to apply?

The SIF fund is open to proposals from a range of organisations including: the constituent Liverpool City Region local authorities, sub-regional partnerships, private sector developers, housing associations, businesses, business/sector network organisations, and voluntary and community sector organisations within Liverpool City Region that wish to generate economic growth.  Where necessary, commissioning and calls may be restricted to ‘relevant’ agencies, but these will be specified at the time of the call if this is the case.  

However, certain eligibility criteria will apply:

  • the organisation must be able to enter into legal contracts;
  • lead organisations must be able to demonstrate the capacity and ability to deliver;
  • grants will not fund ‘business as usual’ activities; and
  • the SIF fund will reserve the right to audit any invoices in relation to funds provided and will require evidence that they have been spent as proposed.

The lead organisation for each project will enter in to a contract with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as the Accountable Body for the SIF funding.  Funding will be released in arrears once milestones have been reached, as set out in the project’s contract agreement. 

How are projects approved?

For all projects, whether commissioned or submitted through an open call, the appraisal and approval process is the same three stage process outlined below. The application and appraisal process for SIF project funding will apply the principle of proportionality – with more detailed information being required for large, complex or contentious projects.

For all projects applying for more than £3m of SIF funding the process will involve three stages, as follows:-

  • Stage 1: Initial proposal/Strategic Outline Case (SOC) – will provide the underlying justification for the project and will be appraised against the criteria set out below. Successful applicants will be asked to complete an Outline Business Case;
  • Stage 2: Outline Business Case (OBC) – this will identify the preferred option for delivery from a shortlist of options, and will include a detailed Business Case for the project which will need to be developed to a level where it is capable of being given approval in principle.  If the OBC is endorsed the applicant will be requested to submit a Full Business Case; and
  • Stage 3: Full Business Case (FBC) – this will augment the OBC by adding in particular details of contractual and delivery arrangements, along with confirmation of costs and benefits to the OBC.

All SOC, OBC and FBC application forms, appraisal criteria and appraisal reports are included in the application pack .

Each business case submission will build upon and augment the previous stage to avoid duplication and unnecessary effort. For smaller projects (less than £3m SIF support) the OBC and FBC stages may be combined depending on the level and quality of information provided and in keeping with the principle of proportionality.  Projects requesting less than £3m, will still need to submit an SOC for appraisal.

The decision making process follows each of the stages outlined above for projects to be developed and is illustrated below.

Where can I find the prospectus and application forms?

The prospectus is available here and the application packs can be downloaded here.

Where do I send the submission?

Completed forms for Investment Round 1 should be sent to sif@liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk by the closing date Friday 9 December 2016.

When is the closing date for Investment Round 1?

The closing date for submissions is Friday 9 December 2016.