Capital and Investment Strategy 2022 to 2023

1. Purpose of the Capital and Investment Strategy

1.1
The main purpose of the Capital and Investment Strategy is to define how Buckinghamshire Council will maximise the impact of its limited capital resources to deliver its key aims and priorities. It considers future capital investment needs, especially in relation to regeneration and the growth agenda, and ensures the optimum impact of those investments. It also helps the Council to be clear on its priorities for bidding for external funding.

1.2
In managing its Capital and Investment Strategy, the Council will have regard to its statutory obligations within the context of a changing operational environment, the longer-term impact of its decisions, the delivery of value for money and the risks associated with any particular course of action.

1.3
The strategy is designed to fully comply with the Prudential Code of Practice for local authority capital investment by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in parallel with guidance to local authorities from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). The main purpose of the Code is to ensure that capital investment proposals are affordable, prudent and sustainable.

1.4
By the very nature of capital investment, it is necessary that this strategy takes a longer-term view. However, the strategy also focusses on the medium term to fit in with the Medium-Term Financial Plan (MTFP) Capital Programme, the latest version of which covers the period from 2022 to 2023 until 2025 to 2026. The Council wants to develop a longer-term strategic capital programme to better illustrate the strategic capital objectives of the Council and although work has started on this during 2021 to 2022, it will look to complete this as part of the development of the MTFP for 2023 to 2024 onwards. The Council will want time to review this strategy and ensure that it helps the Council to deliver its Corporate Plan.

1.5
There are several substantial strategies and programmes in regard to regeneration, which is going to be particularly important to the shaping of the Buckinghamshire response to a post-Covid environment. There are 2 partnership boards that have been established to provide oversight on the delivery of 2 major regeneration strategies: The Aylesbury Garden Town Board, which oversees the implementation of the Aylesbury Garden Town masterplan; and the High Wycombe Regeneration Board which oversees the delivery of the Wycombe Regeneration Strategy covering regeneration in the High Wycombe area.

1.6
This Capital and Investment Strategy is underpinned by a number of other key strategies and plans. As a new Council many of these are still being developed, but once agreed they will be key to informing the investment priorities for the Council. The relevant key Council policies developed or in the process of being developed are:

  • Strategic Asset Management Plan
  • Accommodation Strategy
  • Agricultural Estates Management Policy
  • Housing Strategy
  • Highways Asset Management Plan
  • Leisure Strategy
  • Schools Capacity Survey

1.7
The recent Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) consultation has resulted in an updated Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities (2021 Edition), which strengthens the basic principle that local authorities must not borrow to invest primarily for commercial return. Following the Prudential Code and guidance from MHCLG Investment Strategy and needs to be read in conjunction with the Guidance_on_local_government_investments.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk). This strategy is also cognisant of the latest guidance issued by CIPFA on Prudential Property Investment.