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CIL procurement: questions to ask
- Which approach?
- Questions to ask at the beginning of the process:
- Procurement questions
- Finally - just check
Before creating a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) you need to think about how you are going to do it, and who you need to employ to assist you.
You will also need to consider your approach to setting a CIL and plan-making at the outset. You can approach CIL in a minimalistic way to achieve a CIL quickly but this may not save time or resources in the mid or long-term. It may also not effectively address the needs of your councillors or community in terms of understanding how you will deliver the development strategy for your area. Your circumstances will determine your approach.
You, and anyone you appoint, need to understand the basic requirements for CIL, which are:
- A development strategy for the area.
- Enough information to prove that you need a CIL – aggregate infrastructure funding gap that is larger that the amount you seek to collect from CIL.
- Viability evidence that you can use to ensure that your CIL rate will not put the overall development across your area at serious risk.
If you are using a consultant for viability evidence they need to understand what your development strategy is, as your viability evidence should only focus on delivery of the development that forms your strategy (e.g. housing, agriculture and retail) – therefore it does not need to focus on offices, cinemas and ice rinks etc, if these are not relevant to delivering your strategy.
The advice produced by the Local Housing Delivery Group chaired by Lord Harman is also relevant to CIL and should be followed:
Questions to ask at the beginning of the process:
Are you going to:
- get someone to do the lot?
- manage the process, bringing together the different evidence streams, but get consultants to do your Infrastructure delivery plan, costings and viability evidence?
- get consultants to do the viability evidence?
- get consultants to do valuations for the viability appraisals and do the rest yourself?
- get someone to do costings for infrastructure?
- get someone to do costings for development?
- do some or all of the required evidence yourself and get a CIL expert to pull it all together?
You might go for some or all of the above, or a combination.
You may also think about what you need for your plan making and what you already have and whether it can be used or refined.
What you definitely do not want to do is to procure something you do not need, does not do the job or that is too rigid and cannot meet your needs at the beginning middle and end of the CIL setting and plan making process. So think ahead and make sure your tender allows for iterations and refreshing and that the costs for these are clear.
When considering what approach you should take and whether to procure specialist help just for CIL, ask yourself what you already have, what you need/want and what you can realistically do yourself based the best use of skills and resources
- Do you already have an infrastructure delivery plan (IDP) or infrastructure list that supports the delivery of your local plan (core strategy)?
- Is there enough information in your IDP to identify an aggregate funding gap that is greater than the amount of CIL you are likely to collect? If so, to set your CIL you may need no more in terms of infrastructure evidence. But you need to consider how this will be communicated and what you will do in terms of project managing the delivery of infrastructure when you have set your CIL.
- Or do you need/want to demonstrate to councillors, the local community an aggregate funding gap that illustrates the IDP for the first five(?) years of the delivery of your strategy? In that case do you need further costing of infrastructure and too identify funding sources?
- Or do you need/want to demonstrate to councillors and the local community an aggregate funding gap based on all the major strategic infrastructure?
- Do you understand, and have evidence about, the value of development and land across your area, as this will have a significant impact on the rate/s you will set and whether you need to differentiate your rates in terms of geographic zones? Can you do a high level assessment of this with publically available information? Or is this the first stage that you would like a viability expert to do?
- Do you understand the quantum of development that you are likely to be able to charge CIL and how much you may be able to achieve through CIL?
- Do you have up to date viability studies that you can use to assess the viability of development in your area?
- Can you reuse the inputs or models that you have already got for planning applications or plan making? Are they still valid?
- Do you want a model and assumptions that you can reuse over time as circumstances or inputs change without re engaging the consultant?
- Do you wish your consultant to be involved/arrange meetings/workshops with stakeholders to look at evidence, assumptions and different scenarios?
Finally - just check
- When you and your consultants consider viability for CIL you need to ensure that with your adopted CIL you can still deliver the development strategy for your area, and that you have balanced the desire to collect CIL for infrastructure while not putting too much development at risk. To achieve this, CIL viability cannot be considered in isolation – the other costs that will affect development in your area must be considered.
- In any viability study, other policy costs such as affordable housing, sustainable carbon reduction measures, and potential s106 cost for site specific infrastructure to mitigate the effects of the development must be factored in. If you already have a plan, you need to ensure that you or your viability specialist is aware of these costs. If you are doing your plan in tandem with your CIL, emerging policy scenarios should be tested alongside emerging CIL rates to ensure that you achieve a balance that is viable and can deliver the development strategy for your area.
- Make sure that you understand all the assumptions and information sources that have been used in your viability study, Avoid ‘black box’ appraisal models.
- Have you, and your consultants, used the ‘Viability Testing Local Plans: Advice for planning practitioners’ in formulating your viability evidence?
- When you are thinking of appointing any consultant make sure that they understand what you want them to achieve and for what purpose. CIL is fairly new and you need to make sure that your specialist consultant understands how their work will contribute to your CIL or wider plan making. Do not presume they understand what is required for CIL.