2011/12 Grants to Voluntary Organisations
Decision maker: Cabinet
Decision type: Key
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Local Services and Community Safety, seeking approval for the allocation of the 2011/12 grants to voluntary organisations.
Voluntary and community groups were invited to submit applications during the twelve weeks from 13th August to 5th November 2010 for grants that meet the Council’s priorities and criteria. Following appraisal of the applications received, this report makes recommendations on the allocation of the available budget.
On consideration of the report of the Cabinet Member for Local Services and Community Safety, having considered the City of Southampton Strategy, particularly where grants are authorised under S.2 of the Local Government Act 2000 and having received representations from those affected by the allocation of Grant, Cabinet agreed the following amended decision:
(i) To approve, subject to impact assessments, the grant recommendations set out in the attached amended Appendices 1a and 1b.
(ii) To approve the use of general fund contingencies of £170,577 excluding any notice periods that need to be paid in 2011/12 to fund the recommendations in this report.
(iii) To approve that the second instalment of £18,750 of the 2010/11 grant to Solent Skyis carried forward and paid to the organisation in 2011/12.
(iv) To approve an allocation of £50,000 of the budget to fund the Community Chest small grants scheme.
(v) To delegate authority to the Manager of the Communities Team following consultation with the Cabinet Member for Local Services and Community Safety to allocate Community Chest grants during the year.
(vi) To approve the following additions to the standard grants criteria
Applications will not normally be considered
· from recently formed organisations for large grants
· to fund projects that have unsuccessfully tendered for a contracted service (SCC or other)
· to subsidise contracts (SCC or other)
· towards political activities
· for large capital projects
(vii) To delegate authority to the Executive Director of Neighbourhoods following consultation with the Cabinet Member for Local Services and Community Safety to:
· determine any outstanding applications for grants for 2011/12 and to authorise grants to applicants subject to remaining within approved budgets
· to determine notice periods, where appropriate, where grants have been reduced or discontinued
· do anything necessary to give effect to allocation of grants for 2011/12 and 2012/13
· progress the work to establish the value of the “help in kind” the council provides to the voluntary sector
· conduct a review of whether it would be more appropriate to move towards commissioning and purchasing some of the services that are currently grant aided
(viii) To delegate authority to the Executive Director of Neighbourhoods in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing and the Cabinet Member for Local Services and Community Safety to explore the possibility of additional grants being made available to voluntary organisations from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) for activities of benefit to council tenants.
(ix) To delegate authority to the Head of Efficiency and Business Transformation in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Local Services and Community Safety and other relevant Cabinet Members to conduct a cross service review of advice services in the city.
Reasons for the decision:
1. Southampton Council has a long history of supporting the contribution of the voluntary and community sector to the city with grants, contracts and other help in kind. Pressures on the economy and public sector finance mean that there is a savings target for the 2011/12 Grants to Voluntary Organisations budget of £450,000. This represents a reduction of just under 22% which is less than many other local authorities such as Greenwich (provisionally 29%) and Nottinghamshire County Council (proposed 36%).
2. It is recognised that this saving cannot be delivered in the next financial year due to the need for notice periods where grants are reduced or discontinued. Therefore the budget approved by Council on 16th February 2011 included a one-off amount of £148,000 to accommodate notice periods where appropriate. The full savings target of £450,000 will be delivered in 2012/13.
3. There is also a reduction of £50,000 in the ring-fenced Children’s Services and Learning Portfolio, Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) element of the grants budget. This together with the addition of £10,000 to the Housing Revenue (HRA) element of the budget will result in a 2011/12 Grants to Voluntary Organisations budget of £1,691,600 (plus a one-off amount of £148,000 to accommodate notice periods where grants are reduced or discontinued).
4. The grant recommendations in this report, which are subject to impact assessments, total £1,860,196 (revised at meeting) and will achieve partial savings in 2011/12 and full savings in 2012/13. As approved the proposals will require a draw on contingencies of £170,577.
Alternative options considered:
With grant applications amounting to over twice the available budget it has not been possible to make proposals that maintain all existing grants at their current level and also fund new applications. In arriving at the proposals consideration was given to the option of
· A greater reduction in the level of existing grants and funding some new applications - rejected as the impact of removing funding from existing groups with commitments such as staff already in post or rent was considered to be greater than the impact of not funding new applicants.
· Reducing all currently funded organisations by the same percentage - rejected as it does not take account of council priorities and individual organisations circumstances and capacity to absorb the reduction.
· Completely discontinuing or significantly reducing (to a greater extent than proposed in Appendix 1) some grants - rejected as it would result in some organisations no longer being viable.
Report author: Roma Andrews
Publication date: 14/03/2011
Date of decision: 14/03/2011
Decided at meeting: 14/03/2011 - Cabinet
Effective from: 23/03/2011
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