Capacity and capability

EEH ‘s long‑term plans to create a centre of excellence for major early‑stage scheme development in the region are making significant progress during 2022.

Through the £125,000 in‑year funding from DfT for client‑side capabilities, the concept will now be piloted. This will involve the undertaking of a holistic capability gap analysis which will lead to the identification of capabilities required at local authority, regional (EEH) and specialist pan‑regional levels (for which the use of consultancies may be the most appropriate method).

The pilot will also trial different forms of support on specific projects, based on the capability gap analysis completed. The idea for the centre of excellence was identified as an opportunity in a review of the infrastructure delivery processes undertaken with partners in 2019.

This identified a number of ‘pinch points’ due to depleted technical and professional capability within the ‘client side’ to oversee scheme proposal development.

It is envisioned that the Centre of Excellence will have a particular focus on developing the strategic narrative for transport infrastructure schemes at pre‑SOBC stage. It will perform a dual role in the longer term: both the supporting of local authorities on individual early scheme development; and the broader challenge of developing future regional capability and upskilling existing people, for example through supporting of apprenticeships and transport planning students.

Securing additional funding to realise the full potential of the centre of excellence is a priority for EEH and discussions are continuing with DfT.