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21 September 2021


Recovery and Renewal Actions


Final Decision-Maker

Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

Lead Head of Service

Alison Broom, Chief Executive

Lead Officer and Report Author

Angela Woodhouse, Head of Policy Communications and Governance

William Cornall, Director of Regeneration and Place

Anna Collier, Corporate Insight, Communities and Governance Manager





Wards affected



Executive Summary

This report details proposed actions for recovery and renewal from the COVID-19 public health emergency that relate to Strategic Planning and Infrastructure  Committee’s terms of reference. The actions at Appendix A have been developed following Councillor and Officer input, including briefings, workshops and formal debate at a previous Policy and Resources Committee.


Purpose of Report


Discussion and Recommendation: For the Committee to provide feedback along with other committees for consideration at the next Policy and Resources Committee meeting in October.


This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   Consider the actions at appendix A and agree feedback to the Policy and Resources Committee for consideration on 20 October 2021.







Communities, Housing and Environment Committee

31 August 2021

Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee

14 September 2021

Policy and Resources Committee

15 September 2021

Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

21 September 2021

Policy and Resources Committee

20 October 2021 and 6-monthly until October 2023

Recovery and Renewal Actions







Impact on Corporate Priorities

The four Strategic Plan objectives are:


·         Embracing Growth and Enabling Infrastructure

·         Safe, Clean and Green

·         Homes and Communities

·         A Thriving Place


The actions recommended align with the Council’s ambitions set out in our strategic plan including the areas of focus agreed by Full Council in February 2021 for 2021-26-

Head of Policy Communications and Governance

Cross Cutting Objectives

The four cross-cutting objectives are:


·         Heritage is Respected

·         Health Inequalities are Addressed and Reduced

·         Deprivation and Social Mobility is Improved

·         Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability is respected


The action plan is cross-cutting and will have a positive impact on the Council’s cross cutting objectives and in particular that deprivation and social mobility are reduced


Head of Policy Communications and Governance

Risk Management

The action plan has been put in place to mitigate the risks to our economy and communities and the council.

Head of Policy Communications and Governance


In addition to the un-ringfenced grant, the Government has announced the £56 million ‘Welcome Back Fund’, Maidstone’s allocation from this fund is £153,551.


Several ringfenced and other grants will continue support specific activities related to the Council’s COVID-19 response. These include the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF), from which Maidstone has been allocated £222,043 for 2021-22, in addition to £371,103 devolved from Kent County Council during 2020/21, Test and Trace Grants and New Burdens funding.


The Council also has access to other funding streams which may be used to support certain activities linked to recovery planning. These include s106 funding for town centre planning, and income retained through the Kent Business Rates Pool which can be used for activities which support economic development more widely.


Section 151 Officer & Finance Team


Staffing implications have been set out in the action plan where additional staffing resources are needed to deliver the projects.

Head of Policy Communications and Governance


The Council has a general power of competence under section 1 of the Localism Act 2011 to do anything an individual can do provided it is not prohibited by other legislation.


The Local Government Act 1972, section 111(1) also empowers a local authority to do anything (whether or not involving the expenditure, borrowing or lending of money or the acquisition or disposal of any property or rights) which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the discharge of any of their functions.  The recommendation and the proposals in this report regarding recovery and renewal from the COVID-19 pandemic are arrangements that can be undertaken under the above legislation.


The Council will also be obliged to comply with relevant legislation, such as the Coronavirus Act 2020, related regulations, the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and such other updated legislation required to address the continuing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the recovery proposals being considered by the Council as part of the “Build Back Better” agenda.

Legal Team

Privacy and Data Protection

Some of the projects may require data protection impact assessments if they involve new activities and/or personal data. These will be completed prior to activities commencing.

Corporate Insight, Communities and Governance Team


Some projects may need an EQIA completed. These will be completed prior to activities commencing.

Corporate Insight, Communities and Governance Manager

Public Health



We recognise that the recommendations will have a positive impact on population health or that of individuals.

Public Health Officer

Crime and Disorder

The report includes actions that may have a positive impact in terms of crime and disorder with actions on community responsibility, resilience and levelling up

Head of Policy Communications and Governance


On accepting the recommendations, the Council will then follow procurement exercises in line with financial procedure rules.

Head of Policy Communications and Governance

Biodiversity and Climate Change

The Committee has identified that the green agenda is important in its approval of the build back better principles, the actions will support the Council’s Biodiversity and Climate Change Strategy, particularly those set out within the way we work theme.


Biodiversity and Climate Change Officer





2.1.   The Council’s consideration of its approach to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic commenced in June 2020. A framework of objectives and themes was agreed by the Policy and Resources Committee at its meeting on 24 June 2020 following consultation with a politically balanced member group. It was agreed that this group would, amongst other things, provide feedback and suggestions for proposed actions for recovery ahead of these being sent to the relevant committees for decision making where this was required.


2.2.   The Council’s initial consideration of recovery was undertaken in the context of significant budgetary constraints and uncertainties. However, as part of the local government financial settlement for 2021/22 councils across the country received additional resources for addressing COVID-19 and its effects. This was reported to the Policy and Resources Committee on 10 February 2021 where it was noted that Maidstone’s share of the un-ringfenced grant was £860,000. In line with government guidance, the first call on this grant was identified as for the immediate COVID-19 response in 2021/22. It was later recognised that it would be appropriate to deploy this funding to support the recovery from COVID-19 and that a further report would be brought to Policy and Resources Committee setting out the recovery strategy and likely funding requirements. As this is a one-off grant, it would not be prudent to use it to offset underlying budget pressures and it is was not therefore included within the Strategic Revenue Projection. The revenue outturn for 2020/21 was better than had been feared at times during the year for the reasons set out in the 4th Quarter Finance, Performance and Risk report presented to the Policy and Resources Committee on 23rd June 2021. Given this context consideration could be given to applying the £860,000 grant to projects which would help deliver the recovery objectives, KPIs and updated areas of focus already in place


2.3.   Further Councillor engagement took place through a briefing held on 9 June 2021. The briefing covered:


•        Updated position on the impact and effect of the pandemic

•        Themes previously agreed by Policy and Resources Committee

•        Project ideas reflecting the objectives and KPIs previously agreed


Following this, a discussion paper was presented to and debated at Policy and Resources Committee on 23 June and a follow up meeting was then held with Service Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs to continue to work on the Council’s approach to recovery and renewal including a distilled list of projects.


2.4.   From the discussions with Councillors, Build Back Better principles for Maidstone have been agreed and an Action Plan developed which meets the cross-cutting principles.


2.5.   It was identified by Councillors at the workshops and at committee that whilst funding was from a one-off source, it should be put to use in ways to ensure legacy and longevity where possible. Actions have been identified that will ensure we maximise the one-off spend to leave a legacy.


2.6.   An Action Plan has been developed for Recovery and Renewal with the following themes:


• Vibrant Economy

• Community Resilience

• The Way we Work

• Responding to Increased Demands


The plan has been considered by Policy and Resources Committee and this Committee is now asked to consider those actions that fall within its terms of reference and provide comment to Policy and Resources Committee.


2.7.   Policy and Resources Committee have strategic oversight for recovery and renewal and progress on the final plan will be reported to the Committee on a six-monthly basis.

2.8.   It should be noted that the Council has existing responsibilities in relation to responding the Pandemic and if the current surge continues this may result in an increased demand in support for those affected by COVID-19. The Action Plan is such that not all work will commence at the same time, nor will it require the total resource to be allocated and spent immediately.  As such, if further resources were required to respond to the pandemic, actions and spending could be paused and adjusted and reported to this Committee to ensure the Council remains in a state of readiness to respond.


2.9.   The Council is currently undertaking a number of initiatives in response to the pandemic including:


      Maintaining a community hub and helpline,

      Identifying and supporting financially vulnerable people

      Initiatives to re-open the high street safetly including digital campaigns and promotions to encourage visitors

      Making the best use of the homeless prevention grant to enable households to remain in their homes

      COVID-19 compliance checks

      Agile working

      Distributing grants to businesses affected by the pandemic


2.10.   We have previously reported on our response to the pandemic and these reports are listed as background documents.



2.11.   There is one appendix to the report containing more information on the actions for this Committee’s consideration:


·                    Appendix A –Actions assigned to SPI


Actions assigned to this Committee fall within the “Responding to Increased Demands from Covid-19 theme”.


2.12.   The first is to increase service resilience through additional resource through a temporary fixed term post in the Development Control team as the Council is experiencing over 30% more applications at the present time compared to pre-pandemic figures. The second action is to increase resilience and support within the enforcement team to deal with the backlog of cases created as a result of the pandemic.


2.13.   A third action has been identified for the Heritage and Landscape service with the proposal for two additional fixed term posts to deal with an increase in workload, a backlog of Tree Preservation Order requests and assistance with the new Town Centre Strategy.






3.1        The Committee is asked to consider the actions for recovery and renewal that are outlined in Appendix A for comment. The Committee is asked to comment on the proposals and make recommendations as appropriate.




4.       RISK

4.1    The Coronavirus Pandemic has had a severe and long-lasting impact on the lives of Maidstone communities and businesses, not responding and effectively planning for recovery and renewal will increase the risk to our communities and businesses as well as the Council. The Council’s corporate risk register contains risks relating to the pandemic the actions proposed will mitigate the risks. 




5.1     As well as consultation with Councillors through the Member COVID-19 recovery consultative forum, reports were received on a regular basis by Policy and Resources in 2020 and 2021:


          24 June 2020:       Response to Covid19 Public Health Emergency

Approach to recovery from the Covid19 Pandemic


  16 September 2020: Strategic Plan Review – Update on Priority Milestones


20 January 2021:    Strategic Plan – Proposed Areas for Focus 2021-2026 and Key Performance Indicators for Covid-19 Recovery


10 February 2021: Strategic Plan Refresh


5.2        On the 9 June 2021 a virtual member briefing was held for Members where information was provided on the impact to date of the pandemic, and stimulated discussion on what to ‘Build Back Better’ would mean for Maidstone, this was followed by a discussion paper on 23 June 2021 and a workshop with the Service Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs all of this feedback has been taken into account in the development of the actions for recovery and renewal.


5.3        A report was taken to Policy and Resources on the 21 July to agree the projects and actions for recovery and renewal for the purpose of engagement with the service committees.





6.1     Proposals will be presented to all four Service Committees before being taken for consideration by Policy and Resources in October, work will then commence on the actions when approved including communication.







[The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

·         Appendix A: Recovery and Renewal Actions





24 June 2020: Response to Covid19 Public Health Emergency



24 June 2020: Approach to recovery from the Covid19 Pandemic



16 September 2020: Strategic Plan Review – Update on Priority Milestones



20 January 2021: Strategic Plan – Proposed Areas for Focus 2021-2026 and Key Performance Indicators for Covid-19 Recovery



10 February 2021: Strategic Plan Refresh



23 June 2021: Recovery and Renewal Discussion Paper



21 July 2021: Recovery and Renewal Actions Report to Policy and Resources