What is the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and how is Huq’s platform central to customers who wish to take advantage of it? In this guide we examine the aims of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and evaluate some of the key criteria for access and success.


Contents:

  1. What is the UKSPF?
  2. What is it used for?
  3. Who can apply for SPF Funding?
  4. Which council teams can benefit from it?
  5. How do you get it?

What is the UKSPF?

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) is a grant funding initiative led by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. The fund builds on foundations laid by the Levelling Up Fund (UKLUF) the many geographic inequalities that exist across the UK. In particular, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) helps local and regional government make improvements to the places where people work and live. By investing in places, spaces and people, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) aims to improve local economies, pride and standard of living.

This £2.6Bn fund was announced on April 13th 2022. Local Government and Councils have by August 1st 2022 to submit their applications for grant funding. Funds received as part of this scheme must be disposed of by March 2025.


What is it used for?

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) addresses three key drivers within the local economy. According to its Investment Priorities and the Levelling Up Missions, these are:

  1. Community and Place
  2. Supporting Local Business
  3. People and Skills

By 2030, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities aims to make significant advances in standardising quality of life for residents across these three areas. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) compliments both the Levelling Up Fund (UKLUF) and Community Ownership Fund (UKCUF) in helping councils achieve this aim. Tangible examples given on what UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding should be used for include the following:

  • Making the local environment a nicer place to live through investment in green spaces and amenities
  • Improving access to places and furthering their integration in the wider regional or national environment though better transport links
  • Promoting pride in local places, closing the gap between areas of greater and lesser deprivation, and in doing so making them safer

Who can apply for SPF Funding?

All areas of the UK are eligible for SPF funding, using a formula developed using data supplied by Huq Industries and its academic partners: funding is not allocated on a competitive basis. Across England, Scotland and Wales, SPF funding will be managed by councils and mayoral authorities. It is down to individual teams (Economic Development, Parks & Open Spaces and Transport) to seek their share of SPF funding internally.

In Wales and Scotland, interventions will be supported by local partners and Members of Parliament. In Northern Ireland, the UK government will have oversight of the fund in partnership with regional stakeholders.

Across the country, councils and local authorities are the main conduit through which UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding will be dispersed. Councils are asked to prepare applications by 1st August 2022. Thanks to the breadth of the UKSPF’s investment aims, applications should incorporate the needs all council teams:

  • Economic Development Officers

Supporting local business and developing / retaining human capital by making places more attractive. Economic Development Officers can use UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding to improve retail centres or high streets – encouraging businesses to invest locally. Equally, officers can intervene through licensing, zoning and incentivisation to help places conform better to the needs of the local economy.

  • Parks & Open Spaces Teams

A core tenant of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) fund is to help residents take pride in the places they love. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) prospectus makes it clear that a central means by which to achieve this is through investment in parks and public spaces. Whether it’s working with Economic Development teams to improve the image of a high street, or improving the quality of parks and amenities, Parks & Open Spaces teams have a central role to play in UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) spending.

  • Transport Management Officers

The quality of connections between places and the national infrastructure is an important driver in bringing business and prosperity to an area. Improving access for visitors and communications – like commuting options – for residents is key to unlocking the potential of places.

The combined effect of investment and interventions made by these teams helps increase pride in places, and works to make them safer environments to live in and work.


How do you get it?

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding application window opens on the 30th June 2022 and closes on the 1st August. Investment plan submissions must show how local councils intend to allocate funding inline with the fund’s objectives. Critically, councils are required to base their strategies on hard, objective evidence, and 4% of SPF funding is allocated to that end. Why do we need to invest in our high street? Because evidence shows that the town is losing retail to larger towns and cities. Why do we need to invest in green spaces? Because too many families are living beyond the reach of green local amenities.

Procuring an evidence base provides ideas for regeneration and makes investment more transparent and accountable. Measurement and evidence are now critical to councils’ access to funding across all initiatives – from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) to UKLUF and UKCOF and beyond. Making good use of accurate and relevant data is in fact so important to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities is offering training and support for councils where needed, and is promoting the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth (WWCLEG) – an institute established by the LSE – as a hub for advice and best practice.

From the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) Prospectus:

“One of the aims of UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) is to contribute to a better evidence base for pride in place interventions. Where evidence is more limited, we will work with lead authorities to robustly evaluate a sample of interventions at the local level to inform the design of future funding schemes that the UK Government may wish to develop. Places are also encouraged to consider bespoke interventions that meet the unique needs of their community and place. Lead local authorities will need to provide further detail on these – including a Theory of Change, Logical Framework or Logic Chain – in their investment plan to access their funding.”

In a nutshell – how does evidence help council teams access funding?

Data that provides objective and useful evidence of needs within a local area supports council teams at all points within the investment cycle. In fact, the right kind of measurement system can be used throughout – allowing council officers to set targets and track the impact of their interventions on a like-for-like basis. Procuring one measurement system in this way also offers cost benefits over – for example – commissioning a suite of separate surveys.

1. Preparing your investment plan

Understanding where investment is needed and how it is best applied is central to creating an effective investment plan. From your own experience of the local area you may know anecdotally what needs fixing or what needs improvement. But that insight will necessarily be bound by the things that you’ve experienced in the places you’ve been. A good evidence base will derive from a measurement system that provides actionable data on a broad geographic area. Appropriate use of this information leads to an accurate understanding of the needs of places – and how to address them.

2. Implementing your investment strategy

During the course of the UKSPF’s three-year funding period, from April 2022 to March 2025, councils will need to identify the specific interventions they wish to make in accordance with their investment plan. Measurement systems that offer that next level of detail are essential to making changes that succeed. If you’re re-landscaping a park to improve circulation and accessibility, where specifically are the bottlenecks? If you’re making changes to traffic circulation and parking zones, what are the specific options available to you and which ones will have the best effect? The right measurement system provides the insights you need at this fine-grained level of detail along with regional and national benchmark data to support you during the funding period.

3. Measuring the impacts of your interventions

As the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding period progresses and you complete the interventions in your plan, the natural question is always – did it work? Data that helps councils measure the impact of their interventions in a consistent and reliable way offers proof that investment was well made. It also highlights opportunities for subsequent improvement – either under UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding or in future initiatives. Objective, quantitative performance reporting is important for all stakeholders – councils, residents and central government. It’s in this spirit of transparency and accountability that the whole community can succeed.

Special SPF Funding Offer!

As part of our support for councils accessing UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding for their centres, Huq is offering to provide full access to CommunityVision® on a buy-now-pay-later basis.

This enables councils to make use of its hard evidence base during planning phases, and only begin paying when UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding becomes available.

Enquire now to get set up today and start using evidence to inform your UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) investment plan – with billing deferred until after funding has been awarded.

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Unlock UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding!

Huq’s place measurement platform, CommunityVision®, is a one-stop solution for all of your local insight needs. Council teams, government departments and leading academic institutions use insights and data from CommunityVision® to plan, spend and measure accurately. In fact, data from CommunityVision® played a central role in the development of the funding formula that determines each council’s allocation of UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding.

The platform provides an hourly measurement of town and place usage across a wide range of important and standard KPIs. These capabilities include footfall monitoring to determine how busy or popular places are, dwell-time measurement to assess the quality of a visit, catchment areas to measure market size, and retail footfall data that shows what brings people to your centre. It also helps council officers put that performance into context with broader regional and national benchmark data.

Unlike many other place measurement solutions, CommunityVision® is 100% hardware free. No cameras. No sensors. No maintenance. No risk assessments. Setup is instant and comes with two years of historical data for any location – ‘out of the box’. These unique qualities allow specific council teams to measure vibrancy across their whole area – or even just a part of it. CommunityVision® also allows for equivalent measurement in smaller towns and centres that may never have had a survey or system in place before.


CommunityVision® is built specifically to provide an evidence base for local council teams. It is the only source of insight that is verified and supported by leading academic institutions. And built-in to Huq’s offering is a comprehensive package of one-to-one support from our expert Customer Success team. Use CommunityVision® to unlock UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) funding and succeed in leveling up your local area!