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Issue - decisions

Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector Grant Aid Funding 2017-18 Onwards

23/09/2016 - Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector Grant Aid Funding 2017-18 Onwards

13.1

The Executive Director, Communities submitted a report seeking approval for a new three-year grant funding strategy for Sheffield’s voluntary, community and faith (VCF) sector from the Council’s corporate grant aid budget for the period 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2020. The strategy will replace the current corporate grant aid arrangements which operate an annual cycle of grant awards.

 

 

13.2

RESOLVED: That Cabinet, having had due regard to the provisions of Sections 149 and 158 of the Equality Act 2010 and Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and to the issues raised within those provisions, endorses a three-year year grant funding strategy for Sheffield’s voluntary, community and faith (VCF) sector from the Council’s corporate grant aid budget for the period 2017 to 2020, as described in the report.

 

In particular Cabinet:-

 

 

 

(a)

approves the grant aid budget and grant fund structure for 2017-2020 as detailed at paragraph 4 and contained in Appendix 3 and Table 1 (para 4.1) of the report, and notes that:-

 

(i)         whilst the total grant aid budget is subject to approval by full Council each financial year, the Executive Director, Resources has advised that a minimum figure can be guaranteed for the subsequent budgets in years 2 and 3 based on 80% and 75% respectively of the total budget in year 1; and

 

(ii)        the actual budgets in years 2 and 3 will depend on what is agreed at full Council at the annual budget discussions, so may be more but not less than the guaranteed minimum up to a maximum of 100% of the award;

 

 

 

 

(b)

agrees the principle of offering  three-year grant awards for all successful grant applicants as standard, offered on the basis that in years 2 and 3 grant recipients are guaranteed a minimum of 80% and 75% of the value of the initial award in year 1, and notes that:-

 

(i)         an exception to this proposal are  the grant awards made from the Lunch Club Fund, which will be awarded for 2 years as it is proposed that this funding will be reviewed during 2018-19;

 

(ii)        in all cases, the relevant delegated decision maker will retain the discretion to award single year grants or multi-year grants of less than 3 years if circumstances warrant it and there is a clear rationale for doing so; and

 

(iii)       the actual value of the grant awards in years 2 and 3 of any multi-year agreements will depend on what is agreed at full Council. If the Grant Aid budget in years 2 and 3 allows for awards of more than the guaranteed minimum, an increase to the award will be automatically applied equally (in % terms) across all existing multi-year agreement recipients;

 

 

 

 

(c)

approves the list of organisations prioritised for a Core Service Grant to start from April 2017 as detailed in Appendix 4, and the process for agreeing the value and length of each grant funding agreement;

 

 

 

 

(d)

agrees a minimum and maximum range of £850,000 to £876,000 for the value of the strategic Core Service  Grant to Sheffield Citizen’s Advice, included in Appendix 3 and delegates authority to the Executive Director, Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community Services and Libraries, to enable them to exercise their discretion, within the range, to agree actual grant award value to start from April 2017;

 

 

 

 

(e)

approves the proposals at section 1.4 of the report, to establish and deliver two new open grant funds – the Infrastructure Grant Fund of circa £190,000 and the Tackling Inequalities Fund of circa £107,674, and their eligibility criteria detailed in Appendix 5;

 

 

 

 

(f)

approves the proposals outlined at section 1.8 and Appendix 6 of the report, to establish and deliver the Lunch Club Fund totalling £189,000, which combines financial support to individual lunch clubs and infrastructure support specific to lunch club development, with a review of this funding pot during 2018-19 in order to consider how this funding could better support the outcomes of the People Keeping Well in their Community Partnerships within the City;

 

 

 

 

(g)

approves the proposals at paragraph 1.5.10 of the report, to establish a Grant Recommendation Panel, who  will consider appropriately delegated officer assessments of applications to all open Grant Funds within the new Grand Aid structure and to make recommendations to the relevant decision maker for individual grant awards;

 

 

 

 

(h)

agrees to transfer £14,000 from the Grant Aid budget permanently to the City Centre Management team to commission a mobility scheme for the city centre;

 

 

 

 

(i)

agrees to transfer £30,000 from the Grant Aid budget permanently to the Head of Libraries and Community Services to support the delivery of community cohesion work;

 

 

 

 

(j)

authorises the Executive Director, Communities to agree, in consultation with Legal Services, the terms of any funding agreements or other agreements entered into by the Council in relation to awards from the new Fund;

 

 

 

 

(k)

takes specific note of a shift in the decision making route of individual grant awards from the Grant Aid budget which will apply until 2020, as follows. Previously the Leader’s Scheme of Delegation was not used and Cabinet approved all awards over £20,000.  To progress with applications and awards in a timely manner and for continuity of funding arrangements where it is needed, the decision making routes for all grant awards made from the Grant Aid budget will default to adhering to the relevant delegations outlined in the Leader’s Scheme;

 

In short, this means:

 

?          the Executive Director, Communities has the delegated authority to decide all grant awards from the Grant Aid budget up to the value of £49,999, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community Services and Libraries;

 

?          the Cabinet Member for Community Services and Libraries has the delegated authority to decide all grant awards from the Grant Aid budget of over £50,000;

 

When making grant award decisions, the appropriate decision maker will adhere to all relevant grant processes agreed in this report and act in accordance with the Leader’s Scheme of Delegation;

 

For multi-year agreements, the grant value levels above apply to the total maximum amount that could be awarded over the length of the grant agreement.  For example, if an award is £10,000 for one year and the agreement is for 3 years the total maximum value of the award would be £30,000;

 

The delegations outlined in the Leader’s Scheme also apply when agreeing the amounts, purposes and recipients of any individual grants awarded from the grant aid budget during 2017-18 to 2019-20, including any additional sums received or returned or unpaid grants. They also apply when considering the withdrawal of grants where (a) a change of circumstance affects the ability of an organisation to deliver the purpose of the grant awarded or (b) the relevant decision maker considers the performance of the organisation to be below an acceptable standard or (c) an organisation has breached any of the award conditions contained in their funding agreement;

 

 

 

 

(l)

(i) agrees the indicative figures for each of the new grant aid funds, noting that as the grants awarded from each fund are finalised, as per timetable, in paragraph 1.4.2 of the report, this will affect the amount of funding available for the Tackling Inequalities and Better Health & Wellbeing Fund and the remaining money will become that fund, and (ii) authorities the delegation of allocating available money in the open fund to the Executive Director of Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community Services and Libraries, using the Recommendation Panel as appropriate and in line with authorisation limits; and

 

 

 

 

(m)

notes that, for the three-year period that this strategy applies, the Equality and Fairness Grants and the BME Older People’s Fund will be administered using the grant process proposed in this paper but budgets will still be held by the current budget holders.

 

 

 

13.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

13.3.1

The proposed grant aid structure of a mixture of invites and advertised funds allows the Council to ask prioritised groups to come forward with ideas for how they could use a 3-year grant award to continue and develop their services and the benefits to Sheffield people; as well as giving an opportunity for new ideas or groups not funded before to come forward with ideas that they believe will have a positive impact for Sheffield people.

 

 

13.3.2

The priorities link to the Corporate Plan outcomes, and emphasis on demonstrating impact in the application forms and monitoring will help assure value for money.

 

 

13.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

13.4.1

The current grants regime has been running since 2012.  Since then there has been a new corporate plan and the context that public services, including the voluntary sector, operates in has been changing.  There is a desire to open up opportunities for different groups to offer their ideas and support them with grant aid.

 

 

13.4.2

The Council could have run an entirely advertised pot.  However, there are some groups that strategically it makes sense to continue to support with grant aid because of their links to council services and corporate outcomes.  It is preferable for the Council to be clear about intentions in this regard rather than have an entirely advertised pot.

 

 

13.4.3

The Council could have run an entirely invite pot.  However, this would have excluded new organisations and / or new ideas for the grant aid fund.

 

 

13.4.4

The consultation has helped to refine the proposals.  The responses to the consultation have given a steer to the following decisions:

?          Agreements will be for 3-years, unless a sound reason for them to be shorter.

?          If a fund is over-subscribed, then rather than splitting money across multiple organisations, the strongest applications will be awarded the full amount asked for.

?          Have a VCF representative on Recommendation Panels where no conflict of interest is presented.

?          The priorities for the infrastructure fund were broadly even, so infrastructure organisations will be asked to consider how best to meet all four priorities.

?          The fund will be prioritised for work with the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in the city.

?          Organisations previously receiving money from this fund can still apply.

?          Feedback will inform how outcome measures are agreed with successful applicants.

 

 

13.5

Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted

 

 

13.5.1

Councillor Ben Curran – Disclosable Pecuniary Interest as a Trustee of the Ben Centre.

 

 

13.6

Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration

 

 

13.6.1

None

 

 

13.7

Respective Director Responsible for Implementation

 

 

13.7.1

Laraine Manley, Executive Director, Communities

 

 

13.8

Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In

 

 

13.8.1

Safer and Stronger Communities