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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 13/11/2006
Community Partnerships Fund - Criteria & Timetable for 2007/08



APPENDIX G.2
Waverley Borough Council

COMMUNITY OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - 13TH NOVEMBER 2006
ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
14TH NOVEMBER 2006
CORPORATE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - 20TH NOVEMBER 2006

Title:
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS FUND – CRITERIA & TIMETABLE FOR 2007/08
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

This report is the annual revision of the Community Partnerships Fund criteria and timetable for 2007/08 applications. Members should consider this report in conjunction with the previous report on the agenda which is the outcome of the in-depth review into the Community Partnership Fund Process.

Environmental implications:

Applications to the Community Partnerships Fund may result in improvements to the local environment. Applications to the scheme will be varied but may include new buildings or improving existing buildings, projects for outdoor equipment and new and improved facilities for the community, which will contribute positively towards improving the environment in which the community live.

Social / community implications:

The Community Partnerships Fund provides direct benefits to residents and community groups in Waverley by supporting projects that improve local facilities and services. The proposals for the next bidding round for projects to be implemented in 2007/08 will ensure that the funding continues to meet the needs and priorities of the Council and its local communities.

E-Government implications:

There are no direct e-Government implications arising from this report. The Community Partnerships Fund application forms are available electronically by email and on the Council’s website.

Resource and legal implications:

The draft Capital Programme for 2007/08 includes 300,000 for the Community Partnerships Fund scheme.

It is proposed that the Community Partnerships Fund allocation for 2007/08 is allocated as in previous years, as follows:

Main Grants – it is proposed that 260,000 is allocated to the main bidding round for projects with total projects costs of over 15,000, including Community Buildings Grants Schemes (total project costs over 10,000).

Small Grants Scheme – it is proposed that 40,000 is awarded during the 2007/08 year with delegated authority to the Director of Finance in consultation with members of the Small Grants Panel. The Small Grants Panel consists of the Leader and three portfolio holders.

Background

1. Waverley’s Matched-Funding Provision was established in 1998 with the aim to ‘maximise the opportunities for generating funds from external sources both by proactively seeking partnerships with outside organisations and by reacting to requests from outside bodies’. The fund provides grants for capital or project costs. Revenue funding is awarded under the Sponsored Organisation Scheme.

2. An in-depth review of the scheme has been undertaken by the Community Partnerships Fund Sub-Committee during October and November 2006. The report detailing the outcome of this review precedes this report on the agenda.

3. Over the seven years, the scheme has successfully funded a wide range of community and Council initiatives and attracted a leverage of over 75% funding from other external sources.

4. The Community Partnerships Fund includes two grant programmes:

Small Grants Scheme Main Bidding Round
Surrey Compact

5. In February 2005, the Executive agreed to become a partner in the Surrey Compact and their agreement has now been signed up to. This agreement sets out a code of best practice for improving relationships between public bodies and the community sector. The funding element commits the compact partner to the following key aims: o encouraging openness and transparency
o making it easier to find out about what funding is available
o improving the process of applying for funding
o addressing the issue of changes to, or withdrawal of funding
o enabling the attracting of funds from outside Surrey
o encouraging appropriate and proportionate monitoring and evaluation
o addressing the need for longer term funding arrangements as appropriate
o recognising the value of assisting organisations that support other voluntary and community groups, and service users and carers.

Eligibility and Grant Criteria

6. Applications are thoroughly assessed according to their eligibility and the degree to which they meet the approved grant criteria. Each year, Members consider revised criteria which reflects the Council’s current Corporate Objectives and priorities and updated guidance which incorporated the experience drawn from the previous year’s funding round.

7. The key revisions proposed by officers for the 2007/08 funding round are detailed below:

a. 2007/08 Priority
Applications are assessed against the degree to which they meet a number of key criteria, including Waverley’s priorities, and Waverley’s Community Strategy. In addition partnership, community involvement, community needs, partnership funding and community benefit are assessed. In accordance with the corporate plan, for 2007/08 it is proposed that projects which improve opportunities for children and younger people may be given priority and projects which provide services and facilities which enable older people to live their lives to the full may be given priority.

b. Assessments
Each application will be thoroughly assessed against the approved grant criteria. Officers, in conjunction with the relevant service departments, undertake the assessments. In addition, Waverley’s accountants undertake a financial assessment of each organisation’s annual accounts.

To assist with the process, in 2005/06 four Area Partnership Groups were established, one for each of the main towns and its surrounding area. The Area Partnership Groups assessed each of the applications relevant to their local area against the grant criteria, and provided feedback to Waverley officers based on local knowledge and expertise.

The Area Partnership Groups consisted of representatives from the relevant Town and Parish Councils together with representatives from voluntary organisations within the area. Representatives assessing applications are required, as part of normal standards, to declare any interests or conflicts in the applications being considered.

The results of the Area Partnership Groups’ application assessments were reported to the Overview & Scrutiny Committees, Executive and Council, in addition to the assessments undertaken by officers.

It is proposed to continue the successful work with the Area Partnership Groups, who provide additional local expertise and knowledge in assessment process.

c. Small Grants Scheme - Minimum Grant
To ensure that grants do not replace local fundraising efforts, the minimum grant that can be awarded under the Small Grants Scheme is currently 1,000. Applications should normally be based on a request for 25% funding or below.

In 2004/05, 39,701 was awarded in grant funding from the 40,000 total fund: 33 applications were received and 21 projects were supported. In 2005/06, a total of 14,762 was awarded: the number of applications reduced to 12, with 8 projects being supported. Clearly, the number of applications to the scheme has reduced and to open up the scheme to more potential applicants it is proposed to pilot reducing the minimum grant to 500 for 2007/08, still at 25% funding: A number of enquiries for funding are received for small community projects requiring less than 1,000 grant or for projects which have the majority of funding in place, but require a final small level of funding to cover the total project costs. Research shows that Waverley currently has the highest minimum grant level (1,000) of all 11 boroughs in Surrey.

d. The Policy Documents of Applicants
At present, applicant organisations to the Community Partnerships Fund must have a signed constitution or set of rules. It is proposed to extend policy requirements to include health & safety, equal opportunities, vulnerable adults and child protection policies to comply with legislation. Where applicable, an applicant organisation would be required to have the appropriate aforementioned policies in place. In today’s climate, there is the possibility that the Council could become vulnerable to legal action as a third party financially supporting a project, if an incident occurred and the organisation did not have up to date, appropriate policies and procedures in place.

Applicants would also be required to have adequate insurance in place; including employers insurance, where applicable, and public liability insurance.

e. Applications from Sports Clubs
It is proposed that sports clubs must be registered with the Inland Revenue under their Community Amateur Sports Club Scheme (CASC) as a prerequisite for being eligible for funding. This is consistent with the Council’s policy for granting discretionary rate relief to sporting organisations.

To be eligible for registration a sports club must meet 5 key criteria, which ensure that the club has a proper constitution, is amateur, and is not discriminatory. If a sports club has been awarded CASC accreditation, this demonstrates that it has the appropriate structures in place and operates to high standards. The scheme is a gateway for sports clubs to become eligible for financial support in areas such as rates relief and inheritance tax relaxation. Many thousands of clubs, nationwide, have already signed up to this scheme, which is meant to provide a passport to other advantages.

8. The grant criteria and eligibility for the Community Partnerships Fund for 2007/08 has been updated for the proposed changes listed above and these are detailed in the application guidance notes attached in Annexe 1. In addition to these changes, if Members agree to the proposals identified by the Community Partnerships Fund Sub-Committee in the previous report on the agenda, the guidance notes will be revised to included the items I, J and K in that report. Similarly, the process for the Area Partnerships Groups will be revised to incorporate the items M to R in that report.

Timetable

9. The proposed timetable for applications to the main bidding round is shown in Annexe 2. Applications to the small grants scheme can be made at any time. It is proposed to open the main bidding round from 13th December 2006, with a closing date for applications at 5pm on Wednesday 7th February at 5pm. The time allocated for applicants to prepare their bids is shorter than in previous years as the in-depth review has moved the launch date back. However, officers will endeavour to support applicants throughout the period to ensure that proposals are received on time.

10 All the applications in the main bidding round will be assessed against the grant eligibility and criteria during February 2007. It is proposed that applications, together with the assessments and recommendations from officers and the Area Partnership Groups, are considered at the meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees in March 2007.

11 Applications will be considered by the Executive on 27th March 2007. Organisations will be notified of the outcome of their applications in writing after the Council meeting on 24th April 2007.

Recommendation

The Committee is asked to make observations to the Executive on the following:

1. The Application Guidance for the Community Partnerships Fund in 2007/08 set out in Annexe 1, as updated for any changes agreed following the review by the Sub-Committee;

2. The proposal to give priority to certain projects in 2007/08 as detailed in 6a;

3. The proposal to continue working with the Area Partnership Groups to assist with the assessment of the applications, as updated for any changes agreed following the review by the Sub-Committee;

4. The proposal to decrease the minimum grant awarded in the Small Grants Scheme from 1,000 to 500 as detailed in 6c;

5. The proposal to require applicants to the Community Partnerships Fund to have up-to-date policy documents where applicable as detailed in 6d;

6. The proposal to require sports clubs to be registered with the Community Amateur Sports Club scheme as detailed in 6e; and

7. The proposed timetable for grant awards in 2007/08, as set out in Annexe 2.

Background Papers (DoF)

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

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Graeme Clark Telephone: 01483 523236
E-mail: grclark@waverley.gov.uk




Comms/o&s2/2006-07/057