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IDeA could fund RIEPs extension

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The regional improvement & efficiency partnerships (RIEPs) programme could be extended with a funding offer from the Improvement & Development Agency, its new managing director has told LGC.

The programme’s grant funding runs out at the end of the current financial year but Rob Whiteman said he would consider contributing IDeA money.

The former Barking & Dagenham LBC chief executive, who previously sat on the board of the London partnership Capital Ambition, said: “Close working between the IDeA and the RIEPs is really important.

“One of the questions for local authorities will be ‘do you want to fund the RIEPs yourselves now?’, but I think we also have to look at how IDeA funding can be used to keep the RIEPs going.”

The comments will be welcomed by the programme, which was initially launched on a three-year £185m funding package.

The programme, which had to battle to secure its final year’s funding as the recession deepened, published a business case in February that said it had helped councils to deliver £280m worth of savings against investment of £118m.

Despite the encouraging figures, senior RIEP figures have long indicated that alternative financing would be needed.

Plans are already being worked up by RIEPs, to see how self-funding models could work, requiring local authorities to cover some of the costs.

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