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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 03/10/2006
WAVERLEY VOLUNTARY GRANTS PARTNERSHIP



Summary & Purpose
This report, which was considered by the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 11th September 2006, seeks to update Members about the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership and to gain approval for taking further steps to make the Partnership more robust for the future.

APPENDIX H
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
COMMUNITY OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - 11TH SEPTEMBER 2006

EXECUTIVE – 3RD OCTOBER 2006

Title:

WAVERLEY VOLUNTARY GRANTS PARTNERSHIP
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

This report, which was considered by the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 11th September 2006, seeks to update Members about the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership and to gain approval for taking further steps to make the Partnership more robust for the future.


Environmental implications:

There are no environmental implications arising from this report.

Social / community implications:

The voluntary and community sector plays a crucial role in delivering public services and in building strong, cohesive and self-determining communities. Improving the grant funding infrastructure supports frontline organisations enabling them to reach their full potential in improving the quality of life of the communities they serve.

Supporting the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership is recognised by Waverley as an important activity in helping to meet the needs of all members of the community irrespective of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, belief and age.

E-Government implications:

The Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership makes grant application forms available on the partners websites and by email.

Resource and legal implications:

Waverley Borough Council makes available an annual revenue contribution of 50,640 to the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership. A further amount is being requested to contribute toward the cost of facilitating the scheme and improving the support we give to voluntary organisations for 2007-08 and beyond.

Background

1. For many years, the local health authority made grants available to the voluntary sector through its Joint Consultative Committee (JCC). Through the various re-organisations of the health system in recent years, this function transferred to the Guildford and Waverley Primary Care Trust (PCT). The Guildford and Waverley PCT established two distinct funding partnerships – one covering the Guildford area and one for the Waverley area.
2. In both Guildford and Waverley, the Boroughs, along with Surrey County Council (SCC), have now pooled their grant-making budgets with the PCT for voluntary organisations that provide health or social welfare related services. This has levered in significant amounts of money in both areas for the voluntary sector.

3. Each Partnership has been managed and administered separately. In Guildford the Borough Council took on the responsibility of managing the grants process on behalf of the Partnership, in Waverley the PCT took that role.

4. Each Partnership has a panel to assess the applications and allocate grants and has Member and Officer representatives from all partner organisations. Currently Waverley has two Councillor representatives (Cllr Mrs Savage and Cllr Mrs Eills) and one Officer.

5. The grants have been monitored by a Partnership and Planning officer employed in a jointly funded post between the PCT and SCC.

6. The costs of running the schemes have largely been borne by the administering organisations (Guildford Borough Council and the PCT respectively).

The Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership (WVGP)

7. At the meeting of the Executive in October 2004, it was agreed that Waverley would support “social welfare” organisations through the WVGP rather than through the Sponsored Organisation Scheme.

8. At the inception of the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership, in 2005-06, fifteen SOS funded organisations in Waverley were transferred to the WVGP. The transition was seamless and the process extremely successful with all SOS organisations achieving at least the same level of funding as they had previously received from the SOS funds (or what they had requested for 2005/06), and some receiving more. There are similar successes in 2006-07. 9. By pooling budgets in the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership a number of benefits have been identified: o more money has been made available for the voluntary sector;
o a reduced workload for the voluntary bodies, as they only need to make one, and not three, applications for funding;
o a reduced workload for the statutory organisations concerned, as many voluntary bodies previously made applications for grant funding to all three statutory authorities;
o better clarity and consistency of approach when determining grants;
o a further promotion of the concept of joint working, bringing greater coherence to public expenditure, which is in line with the Government’s and Audit Commission’s ‘pooled budgets’ approach; and
o underpinning the approach of the Local Strategic Partnerships. Improving the Process

10. As recognised by this Committee in September 2005, there are wider benefits to be gained from the grant partnerships in Guildford and Waverley working more closely together and the partnerships have already developed some shared processes: o the paperwork is identical (eg application forms);
o the monitoring and evaluation is standardised across the areas;
o workshops for applicant organisations are held jointly; and
o a shared constitution has been agreed.

11. For the 2007-08 application programme the administration of the two grant schemes has been joined further and is being undertaken under the umbrella of one organisation instead of two.

12. The timetables for the grant application processes have been streamlined where previously they were staggered, this is clearer for all the applying organisations.

13. The grant budgets and the assessment and decision making processes continue to be managed separately by the two panels in Guildford and Waverley giving each area flexibility to support local priorities.

14. With the two schemes working more closely together there will be further improvements for the grant funded organisations who have been vocal in their requests for more joined up and easily accessible grant processes.

15. The process will be more compliant with the principles of the Compact to which this organisation is committed. The Compact encourages funding organisations to make it easier for voluntary organisations to seek funding, to improve the process for applying for funds and to make monitoring and evaluation appropriate and proportionate.

16. The partnership approach to facilitating the grant process is consistent with the Government’s steer toward joined up local government and gives added value to all the participating organisations, including Waverley.

17. In order to achieve continued security and clarity for the voluntary and community sector, to reflect other South West Surrey partnerships and operational areas and to establish each funding organisation as an equal partner, it is vital that the grant partnerships continue to work closely together across Guildford and Waverley, and that the partners contribute toward the facilitation of the scheme.

18. It is hoped that the partnerships will secure joint resources to employ a coordinator to operate the two grant schemes, monitor and evaluate the grants and facilitate improvements to the schemes.

Implications

19. There are efficiencies and improvements gained both for the funding authorities and for the grant funded organisations by joining up the processes for the Guildford and Waverley Grants Partnerships.

20. In order to make further improvements for the grant applicants and to secure the grants schemes for the future they need to be facilitated jointly and costs need to be shared between the partner organisations.

21. It is suggested that, from 2007-08, a contribution is secured from each of the funding organisations towards the cost of facilitating the grant programmes.

22. A minimum contribution of 4,000 is sought from each partner organisation (SCC, PCT, Guildford Borough Council and Waverley Borough Council), to contribute to the costs of the joint post-holder who will operate the grant process for both panels and monitor and evaluate the grant programmes. Guildford Borough Council will host the post-holder on behalf of the two Partnerships.
Conclusion

23. The Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership has had enormous success in pooling resources for the voluntary sector organisations that provide health or social welfare related services and in levering in additional money to support this work.

24. The grants processes in Guildford and Waverley work in a similar way and the processes have been drawn closer together to enable efficiencies and to improve the process for the voluntary sector.

25. To further enhance the grant making process for the voluntary sector the partner organisations are hoping to secure funds to improve the facilitation of the process across the two areas and to monitor and evaluate the outcomes.

26. The two decision-making panels will retain their autonomy and will continue to manage the pooled grant budgets separately in each Borough.

Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee

27. The Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted that, previously, the costs of running the schemes had been borne by the administering organisations (Guildford Borough Council and the PCT respectively) and now a minimum contribution of 4,000 was sought from each of the funding organisations towards the cost of facilitating the grant programmes.

Recommendation

It is recommended that an annual revenue contribution of 4,000 be identified in the draft budgets for 2007-08 and beyond, in order to contribute to the costs of facilitating the improved allocation of grants to the voluntary sector in Waverley.

Background Papers (DoH)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
________________________________________________________________________
CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Alayne May Telephone: 01483 523350
E-mail: amay@waverley.gov.uk



comms\executive\2006-07\135.doc