Agenda item

Review of the Voluntary and Community Sector Grants Policy

Members are asked to note that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is pre-scrutinising this report at a meeting on 6th December 2018.  Any recommendations arising from this meeting will be recorded and included in an additional papers pack for Members’ consideration alongside the attached report.


The Redditch Partnership Manager presented the report and in so doing explained that this was the draft Policy and Councillor Guidance Notes for the recently approved Councillor Community Grant Scheme.  In presenting the report a number of areas were highlighted, including:


·         Key elements of the old scheme had been incorporated within the new scheme, including areas such as the type of project that could be funded and the need to meet the Council’s strategic purposes as one of the guiding principles.

·         There would be £5k allocated to each Councillor with the option to “club together” up to £20k.

·         Details around the types of groups that should be considered and who can apply.

·         What would and would not be funded by a grant.

·         Risk considerations in grant giving and evidence which would need to be provided to the Ward Councillor and the Grants Team.

·         Conditions around the grants given – small grants would be funded up front, but larger one would be split and paid by instalments and monitored by the Grants Team.

·         The process and administration of the scheme, which would be carried out by the Grants Team.  The Councillor would need to complete the appropriate paperwork with the Grants Team checking to ensure that it was appropriate and then making the necessary payments.

·         Records will be kept by the Grants Team and regular updates provided for both Councillors and displayed on the Council’s Grants pages of the website.


The Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Town Centre and Commercialism thanked Officers for their work on the Scheme and advised that it would continue to provide the voluntary sector with financial support for the good work that was being carried out in Redditch.  Members were remind that the introduction of the scheme had been agreed at full Council and this report was the next step in setting up the scheme and providing Members with guidance going forward.  The scheme would be implemented from the new municipal year.


During consideration of this item an amendment was proposed by Councillor Bill Hartnett, which involved the inclusion of additional funding.  This was seconded by Councillor Greg Chance.


The proposed additional recommendation stated the following:


“That the £20k which was proposed to be withdrawn from the grants pool for 2019/20 be reinstated to bring it back to a total of £165k.”


Councillor Hartnett explained that the inclusion of a further £20k would take the funding available to the voluntary sector back up to its current level.  He also raised concerns that the new scheme was more cumbersome and would be more difficult and complicated to administer, which would lead to increased costs.


Some Members also raised concerns that the “pot” of funding available to the voluntary sector would be reduced and that previously it had been discussed that the introductory of the local lottery would also impact on funding available to them.  It was noted that this Council still had the largest grants budget within Worcestershire, which was commendable, particularly in light of the current financial challenges that it faced.


On being put to the vote the proposed amendment was lost.


Further discussion took place and some Members commented that they continued to be disappointed as the scheme did not appear to address some of the concerns which had been raised when this scheme had first been suggested.  It was confirmed by Officers that the Scheme was to be a trial for one year and an evaluation would be brought back to Executive Committee next year.


The Chair drew Members’ attention to the additional papers pack which contained a recommendation from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  He requested that this be noted by the Executive Committee.  However, Councillor Hartnett proposed the recommendation and it was seconded by Councillor Chance.


The proposed additional recommendation stated the following:


“The Council should retain the £20k due to be cut from the grant budget, to invest in town wide issues and issues of importance to Redditch.”


On being put to the vote the proposed amendment was lost.


Following a further brief discussion it was




(a)  the Policy and Guidance Notes for the Councillor Grants Scheme as detailed in Appendix 1 and 2 of the report be approved; and

(b)  the Councillor Grants Scheme be implemented from the 2019/20 municipal year.



Supporting documents: