Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about our Next Chapter projects. Where does the money come from to do our projects and why do we use it on projects and not in other areas? Why do we use external consultants and why does it sometimes take a long time to complete projects? Answers to these questions and more are covered in this section.
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Where does the money come from to fund Next Chapter projects?
Why is the money being spent on these projects rather than other Council priority areas?
External funding is given for a specific project or piece of work and is only awarded to us if we are able to meet specific spending criteria. Examples might be…
- Funding to build a new railway station
- Funding to help traffic flow on a designated section of road
- Funding to improve cycleways
This means that the funding cannot be used for anything else, such as filling potholes or making improvements to other Council services.
For each project we have to submit a business case setting out how the funding will be used. The bodies responsible for administering the funding (UK Government, The West Yorkshire Combined Authority etc.) only issue the funding if they are satisfied it is to be used solely on the project. Most of our Calderdale Next Chapter projects are funded externally including the A629 projects (Phase 1a, 1b, 2 and 4), the A641 scheme, Halifax and Elland Train Stations and Halifax Bus station.
For large projects that are funded by the Council, the decision to go ahead will be made by elected members.
You can find out how projects are funded on our project pages.
How do you ensure that funding for projects is spent effectively?
When we bid for external funding the Council is required to produce a detailed business case in line with the Treasury's Green Book. This extensive document ensures that the project delivers benefits and provides value for money. For example The West Yorkshire Combined Authority, who fund many of our projects, have a benefits realisation process to make sure that the funding is spent as intended.
Business cases for projects funded by the Council are scrutinised by elected members through the committee process before a decision is taken. Find out more about decision making in the Council
What is the difference between 'revenue funding' and 'capital funding'?
Revenue funding is the money that is used to keep Council services running. Each year during budget setting, decisions are taken on how the Council’s revenue budget is apportioned across all its services. Examples of revenue funding are staff costs, buildings maintenance, purchase of materials, equipment, and repairs.
Capital funding is money that is set aside or brought in from external funding sources to pay for one-off ventures such as building a new bridge, refurbishing an existing facility or redeveloping a new railway station.
Here is a good example of revenue and capital funding on a project: Capital funding would be used to build a new swimming pool, and once completed revenue funding would be used to run it (staff, lighting, heating, equipment, maintenance etc).
Why are external consultants and contractors used on our projects and how are they chosen?
Projects are complicated and require input from many different experts. The bigger or more complex a project is, the greater the need is for specialists. We try, where possible, to use staff from within the Council to manage and oversee projects. The expertise, knowledge and resources needed for certain elements of project delivery can often only be met by bringing in expert consultants and contractors. When a project is costed up, we identify the requirement for external consultants and contractors at the start and this is built into the request for funding.
When spending money, we have to follow procurement rules to ensure that Council expenditure delivers value for money, social value and is statutorily compliant. Where appropriate, we undertake formal tender exercises where suppliers are chosen based on their ability to do the job for the best value to the Council.
Who decides which projects we should do and how is the decision made?
A project usually starts when there is a need to be addressed or an opportunity to make an improvement. In recent years, significant funding opportunities have arisen, allowing us to bid for funding to deliver some projects. This funding would have gone elsewhere had we not been successful, however decisions on funding applications are carefully considered and are only made for projects that are beneficial to Calderdale and in line with our values and priorities.
The projects that fall under Calderdale Next Chapter are usually multi-million pound schemes and they need to be fully assessed and approved before work can begin. Because of the high value of these schemes, decisions are ultimately made by elected members. The decision will be based on factors such as how well it fits with corporate priorities of the Council, whether it delivers benefits for the people of Calderdale and whether it is affordable. It is also common for major projects to have undergone some early public consultation as a means of establishing the level of support. For projects funded externally (such as those funded by the Government or by The West Yorkshire Combined Authority), an additional assurance process also checks that each project meets the criteria of the funding bid and that the project is viable.
Why wasn’t my feedback used when you asked for the public’s opinion through a consultation exercise?
We consider all the feedback we receive. When we are developing a project, we gather input and opinions from a range of people and organisations. This is important as it helps us better understand what people are looking for from a project. It helps us understand if our designs meet the needs of the community, makes sure we don’t miss out on ideas and allows us to make design choices to progress the project. As you can imagine, we often get hundreds of suggestions and ideas to look at. Decisions on the ideas we can take forward are based on lots of different criteria including cost, impact on other areas, equality and whether they meet the criteria of the funding. It’s not always possible to cater for everyone. In these cases, we work through all the insights we have from consultation and seek to achieve the best possible benefits for the community.
To see when public consultations take place on our Next Chapter projects visit our Live Consultations page
Why does it sometimes take a long time to complete projects?
Some projects do take a long time to complete and the main reason is because of important procedures and processes that are in place and the regulations and legislation that have to be followed. These are all critical parts of project delivery and exist for the benefit of everyone but can take time to work through. For example, we have to build in time to consult and get feedback on the project; work through certain processes for planning; factor in time for acquiring the required land; follow regulations for bringing in consultants and contractors; and we have to ensure that risks are assessed and that work is delivered within health and safety guidelines. These examples and many others are vitally important when doing any project.
Roadworks seem to be in place for a long time and quite often there is nobody working on them. Why?
Most construction work happens between 8am and 5pm. This keeps costs down, minimises noise disruption at night and at weekends and makes it easier to coordinate with suppliers and agencies integral to the work. On occasions it may look like no one is working on the site, but this doesn’t mean work isn’t taking place. Sometimes staff might be working on different parts of the scheme to prepare for work in other areas, sometimes they may be waiting on the delivery of some materials or equipment or waiting for work to be signed off.
Working outdoors in all weathers is physically demanding so regular breaks are encouraged for welfare of staff working on site.
In most cases, the quicker a project is completed, the better this is for the construction company, so it is in their interest to finish a job as soon as they are able.
Why are we still spending millions of pounds on road schemes like widening the A629 when we are trying to encourage people to use public transport and reduce car use?
As a Council we are committed to responding to the climate emergency and reducing CO2 levels is an important goal for Council services, including projects. You can find out more about how the Council is tackling the climate emergency on the Council’s website. Roads are, and will continue to be, an important way by which we all get around, and of course roads are used every day by many different organisations including the emergency services, for delivering mail and parcels and for transporting goods. Work continues to look at helping encourage people to switch from cars to other modes of transport such as buses, trains, bikes and walking but the reality is that cars will be around in the future.
Projects that tackle congestion and standing traffic, which are some of the major contributing factors to CO2 pollution, are important as better flowing traffic can reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. In all of our projects, we are required to be sensitive to environmental concerns.
How are you able to cut down trees and affect wildlife when doing projects?
Any decision to remove trees for a project is a last resort and not something we do lightly. If and when we are required to remove trees, the plans are discussed with ecology experts about the best approach to minimise disruption for the wildlife. We avoid removing trees during bird nesting season and will take care not to disrupt bat habitats. Where we do have to remove trees, we are required to offset this by replanting in the same area or as close by as possible. Demonstrating that biodiversity is maintained or improved when delivering a project is a key prerequisite of getting project approval.