FarrPoint has been working with St Helens Council to investigate opportunities for digital connectivity infrastructure projects to be taken forward as part of the Council’s Towns Fund bid.
St Helens Borough Council was awarded £20 million from the Government's Levelling Up Towns Funding to regenerate the town centre. The investment will help to transform the area, celebrating its cultural and industrial heritage, and building upon its creative and innovative glass making and foundation-industries to innovate and do things differently to create new opportunities for the region.
Improving Digital Connectivity infrastructure across the town centre was seen as being a key to enabling the Council to deliver its wider economic, social, and environmental strategic priorities.
The Council required the support from FarrPoint to produce a business case for how best to use this investment in digital infrastructure to regenerate the area and support the local community.
This Business Case was produced in line with HM Treasury (this will open in a new window)Green Book Outline Business Case (OBC) and subsequently Full Business Case (FBC) requirements as well as guidance from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.
Following this Five Case approach, FarrPoint provided the Council with a robust evidence-based Case for Change that focused on demonstrating how investment in digital Connectivity would help the area achieve its ambitions. This involved undertaking a regional assessment of economic challenges and opportunities, tying this in with a consideration of the current levels of digital connectivity (both fixed and mobile) across the town centre – using FairPoint’s in-house mapping and analytical capabilities - to identify any gaps where improvements in digital infrastructure may be needed.
Subsequently, FarrPoint also completed a thorough Options Appraisal to identify the solution that would provide best public value to society, including wider social and environmental effects. This involved undertaking a high-level shortlisting of options, using the Green Book Options Filtering Process. FarrPoint reviewed varying methods of delivering the required infrastructure including new build, hybrid build and virtual network architecture against a number of funding options from fully funding the build down to a facilitation role only with no capital required. This was followed by a more detailed Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), taking into account the impact on the economy, society and environment as well as assessing the impact of key risks and sensitivities.
This process created a recommendation against which the remaining sections of the FBC would focus and create a path to delivery including a procurement strategy, governance, and funding approach.
The result of the FarrPoint engagement was a successful path through the UK Government funding process and assurance gates for St Helens Council. The project has now successfully progressed through to the procurement phase.
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