2016-17 Constituency Budget Allocation
15 minutes will be allocated for this item / discussion.
The Constituency Manager (Wirral West) presented her report that set out considerations in respect of taking forward the Committee’s core budget for 2016-17 and assessing the impact of the Committee’s core budget (Community Fund) to date. The report also made suggestions for further improving the Community Fund should the Committee agree to again allocate its core budget on the same basis.
The report informed that for the first 3 years of its operation, the Constituency Committee had invested its core budget of £50,000 into small grants for local groups and organisations to deliver quality of life improvements in each ward, with a maximum grant award of £1,000 for each project. Whilst it was recognised that sustaining and developing the work of larger voluntary organisations through the use of small grants presents challenges, much of the activity which had been funded by the Committee had demonstrably added value to the core work of smaller community groups.
The Constituency Manager detailed a number of suggested improvements to the administration of the Community Fund that included the following proposals:
· Timetable – to ensure that the networking event(s) can take place and that there was sufficient time for consultation and promotion, it was proposed that the timetable be brought forward and that the Fund re-opened in July 2016, with decisions by November 2016 - a detailed timetable to be circulated and published on the Council’s website prior to the Fund launch.
· Raising awareness of the Committee’s contribution – it was proposed that the Constituency Manager investigate how best to ensure that the contribution of the Committee via the Community Fund was recognised and that this be done within existing resources.
· Increasing scope for groups and organisations to apply for projects which will take place across ward boundaries - it was noted that, in respect of the funding allocated on a ward by ward basis, for example Hoylake and Meols and West Kirby and Thurstaston wards where the ward boundary effectively runs through West Kirby centre town, that some projects work across ward boundaries and or benefit residents from neighbouring wards. It was therefore proposed that groups and organisations be allowed to apply across ward boundaries (i.e. to select 2 or more wards as part of the application process) and that the proportionate funding split between wards is calculated accordingly (retaining the maximum allocation of £10,000 for each ward and no more than £1,000 for each project). To mitigate against multiple applications, it was also proposed that, as a general principle, groups would only be eligible to apply for a maximum of 2 projects but with discretion to increase this where there are umbrella organisations in existence which oversee a range of groups and activities;
· Evaluating the impact – it was proposed that more thought be given to evaluation of the social value of the Community Fund - over and above the individual progress reports that groups and organisations were asked to submit.
The Constituency Manager informed that to demonstrate the impact of the Committee’s investment in a way that can be widely shared, it was proposed that a short film be produced (within existing resources) and presented to the next meeting of the Committee, and that the opportunity to get involved in making this film be extended to local schools.
Members questioned the Constituency Manager on a number of points that included the grant limits applied to cross boundary applications (£1,000 per project max per project, but costs may be shared between wards i.e. £500 from each) and clarification on the handling of multiple applications (max 2 per year).
1) the broad framework approach now established in respect of the Community Fund, i.e. £10,000 per ward allocated through small grants with an opportunity for residents and communities to show their support for project applications, be continued;
2) the process for allocating the Community Fund is improved as set out in Section 3 of the report, be approved; and
3) any remaining monies from the Community Fund continue to be allocated to local improvements at the discretion of Ward Councillors, supported by the Constituency Manager.