1 April 2022
Request for Information – ATISN 16174
I wrote to you on 18 March regarding your request.
You asked for the following in relation to the Welsh Government Tech Valleys programme –
- Of the £100 million budget, how much of this budget has been spent in each local authority?
- How much has been approved to spend in the next three years and up to 2027 (the end of the programme)?
- How much funding has been approved in Blaenau Gwent to date?
- A list the projects approved, including the total project cost and the actual funding contribution from Tech Valleys.
- What is the mechanism used to approve grants?
- What involvement do Local Authorities have in the decision making process?
I can confirm we hold some of the information relating to your request –
- To date, £18 million has been spent from the Tech Valleys programme in projects in Blaenau Gwent.
- Over the next three years £19.7 million has been approved to be spent from the Tech Valleys programme. From April 2025 to the end of financial year 2027/28 there is currently no approved spend.
- To date, £37 million has been approved for spend on projects in Blaenau Gwent from the Tech Valleys programme. This figure includes approximately £288,000 over three years on a project covering schools, the colleges and businesses in both Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent jointly. I am unable to tell you the total project costs where contributions from the Tech Valleys programme were made to third parties or where projects are not yet complete.
- Below is a list of projects approved from the Tech Valleys programme (in development, underway or completed) to-date.
- Lime Avenue Business Park (hybrid units) £3.15 million
- National Digital Exploitation Centre - education programme £11.4 million
- Lime Avenue Regain 2 building £5.8 million
- Rural Connected Communities (5G) programme £1.2 million
- STEM Facilitation £219,000
- Modernising public service delivery £228,000
- Peer to peer network £75,000
- Business Productivity Enhancement Programme £550,000
- Centre for Digital Public Services £250,000
- Business Premises Improvement (decarbonisation) Grant £500,000
- Former Techboard building £6 million
- Thales Resilient Works £3.5 million
- WVEP employer strand £349,140
- IoT and LoRaWAN programme £155,549
- Former Monwel building HiVE proposal £360,000
- Lime Avenue Employment Park £3 million
- Business Improvement District £100,000
- Sundry small commitments (e.g. studies, advice etc) £3000,000
- The mechanism used to approve grants comprises four principle gateway stages leading to submission of Ministerial Advice. Because the Tech Valleys programme is designed to grow organically over time, the processes of proposal development and grant approval are inter-linked and iterative. The process undertaken is also proportionate to the nature and size of the request.
The main stages are outlined below -
On receipt of an idea or partially developed proposal the following four stages are followed:
- review by the Tech Valleys operational unit;
- internal task and finish groups with technical, professional and operational expertise appropriate to the proposal (this is also the stage that a the local authority may be engaged with the process if they are not already the applicant);
- review and challenge at the external Tech Valleys Strategic Advisory Group (this Group includes representation from Blaenau Gwent CBC);
- dependent on nature and size of proposal, internal case conference review leading to an internal programme board convened by the SRO drawing on director-level membership dependent on the proposal under discussion. If appropriate, existing Welsh Government mechanisms including the Wales Industrial Development Advisory Board are consulted.
- Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council are represented on the Tech Valleys Strategic Advisory Group.
You may wish to note that when proposals are supported in principle with a sum of funding identified against them this is not a guarantee of delivery. Funding recipients may find they unable to complete, or start, delivery as originally anticipated. Therefore the sum of funding which has been approved in principle (as noted above) may go up or down over the delivery period dependant on progress of the projects and any changes that may be proposed or required.
If you are dissatisfied with the Welsh Government’s handling of your request, you can ask for an internal review within 40 working days of the date of this response. Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Welsh Government’s Freedom of Information Officer at:
Information Rights Unit, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ or Email: Freedom.firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to quote the ATISN reference number above.
You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.