Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
Resolutions: That Cabinet;
a) Approved the proposed interim Community Funding Grant Policy for West Northants Council 2021 to end of March 2023.
b) Approved delegated authority to Director for Adults, Communities and Wellbeing (DASS) for awarding community funding as set out in the new policy. Where appropriate to adjust the policy in consultation with the relevant Portfolio Holder.
c) Approved the Councillor Covid Support Fund of £232,500 for 2021/22 to aid Covid recovery of our local communities, note the use of Covid Recovery Fund to finance this scheme in 2021/22 and agree that officers complete a review of the scheme and its funding source prior to 2022/23.
Reason for Resolutions;
Community Funding Grant Policy:
a) WNC acknowledged there has been a six-month gap (since Vesting Day) in the council awarding small grants to our local community and voluntary organisations (CVS). This presents a risk to the continuation of essential local support and services. Therefore, Cabinet approval is sought to enable WNC to launch the interim Community Funding Grant Policy.
b) The recommendation to produce one interim policy with one community funding scheme for West Northants provides a consistent approach to community funding grant awards across West Northants.
c) The policy enables the council to take a more strategic approach to investment into CVS organisations, aligned to meet identified needs and the councils adopted corporate priorities.
d) Approval of the policy enables the application and award for grants process, in turn benefiting our local communities through funding that helps sustain and invent new activity to address the local needs.
e) WNC has an increased Scheme of Delegation limits for officers, and with grant awards capped at maximum £15,000 no grant award will be classified as a Key Decision of the Council. The Cabinet will set the strategic direction of community funding through its decision to approve the proposed community grant funding policy and the policies alignment to the council’s corporate priorities. However, there will be cross-party oversight of the implementation of the Community Funding Grant Policy to ensure adherence to the new policy, that grant awards are allocated to meet identified local needs, and that community funding is distributed in a fair and equitable manner.
f) The recommendation for delegated authority to officers will ensure applicants receive funding awards in the most expedient timescale.
Councillor Covid Support Fund 2021-22:
a) To support our local communities to recover from the impact of Covid during the remainder of the 2021-22 financial year.
b) To provide WNC Councillors with a consistent and expedient mechanism for making local grant awards to community and voluntary groups.
c) To draw upon the local knowledge of Councillors best placed to identify local groups, organisations and/or communities at most risk due to Covid impact and in most need for grant awards.
a) Continuing the model of sovereign council community funding. This model would see decision making and awarding of community funding implemented on a locality basis (Northampton; Daventry; South Northants). This option is not recommended for reasons including: requirement for three different funding policies and principles; the risk of challenge due to inconsistencies of decision making; risk of duplicating funding to organisations and/or projects; inconsistency of having three different thresholds for min/max grant awards.
b) The decision to have a Councillor Covid Support Fund for the remainder of 2021-22. To further enhance and expediate the recovery of local community and voluntary groups in West Northants the recommendation is for WNC to have a Councillor Covid Support Fund. This fund enables Councillors to make local decisions on grant funding awards for the benefit of the communities they represent.
c) Assign an allocation (£232,500) of the councils Covid Recovery budget to the Councillor Covid Support Fund. This option protects the current Community Funding Grants budget of £433,401 helping to stretch community funding grant awards further.
d) Not to approve the proposed community funding approach as interim to cover 2021/22 and 2022/23. This would lead to the council having no mechanism to deliver community funding grant awards therefore having a detrimental effect on community and voluntary organisations and residents of West Northants.
Report author: Stuart Lackenby
Publication date: 13/10/2021
Date of decision: 12/10/2021
Decided at meeting: 12/10/2021 - Cabinet