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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 29 February 2012

 

Report of the Leader and Cabinet Member of Human Resources and Equalities

 

Armed Forces Community Covenant Scheme

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To advise Council of the above Scheme

2.             To delegate approval of future applications for grants below £15,000 under this scheme to the Director of Finance ICT and Property

Recommendations

1.             That the details of the Grant Scheme are noted

2.             Approval of the applications for grants under this scheme below £15,000 are delegated to the Director of Finance ICT and Property in consultation with the Leader and Cabinet Member Human Resources and Equalities, subject to there being no costs falling on the Council.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure awareness within the Council of the above Scheme

2.             To provide approvals for administration of applications under this Scheme.

Background

3.             On the 23rd June 2011 the Council launched a Community Covenant - the first of its kind in Wales. The Vale have launched a website which provides the mechanism to ensure the Armed Forces community are aware of the support available to them, locally within the Vale of Glamorgan, and more widely.

4.             The parties signed up to the Community Covenant are :-

·               Vale of Glamorgan Council

·               Armed Forces Community

·               Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (VCVS) on behalf of the Voluntary Sector

·               HIVE as a partner organisation. HIVE Information Centres are provided by the Army, RN and RAF to provide information support to all members of the Service community.

5.             The aims of the Community Covenant are to:

·               encourage local communities to support the Armed Forces Community in their areas;

·               nurture public understanding and awareness amongst the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces Community;

·               recognise and remember the sacrifices faced by the Armed Forces Community;

·               encourage activities which help to integrate the Armed Forces Community into local life;

·               to encourage the Armed Forces Community to help and support the wider community, whether through participation in events and joint projects, or other forms of engagement

6.             Part of this covenant includes access to the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme.

7.             The Grant Scheme is administered by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government and MOD currently have funding for this financial year and the next three financial years to support bids. Bids may only be submitted from areas which have already established a Community Covenant in their area, and applications are invited for sums from £100 to £250,000 (although bids for amounts greater than this may also be considered in exceptional circumstances)

Relevant Issues and Options

8.             The aim of the Community Covenant Grant Scheme is to financially support projects, at the local level, which strengthen the ties or the mutual understanding between members of the Armed Forces Community and the wider community in which they live.

9.             The Grant Scheme will consider applications for projects that deliver tangible results and meet the overall aims of the Community Covenant Scheme. An application for funding can be submitted by any part of the community, this might include volunteer groups, charities, public bodies such as schools, and so on.

10.        Bids are assessed by an MOD and HM Treasury panel but will require endorsement from the leading parties to the Community Covenant. 

11.        There are many types of projects that might be supported by this fund – and some that will not be suitable. The list below aims to provide some ideas but should not be seen as restrictive; local partnerships will know what kind of project would best meet the needs of their particular population.

12.        Examples of projects could include (but are in no way restricted to):

·               local infrastructure, such as a children’s playground which might be used by children from both Service accommodation and the wider community;

·               projects that increase the integration of Service personnel, veterans and their families with the wider community;

·               projects that improve the health, welfare or financial literacy of Service personnel, veterans and their families;

·               one-off activities, such as an activity camp involving the Armed Forces and local young people, in which the Scheme would meet the travel and subsistence costs of the Service participants;

·               an exhibition at a local library/town hall etc, explaining what a local Armed Forces unit has recently been doing (e.g. in Afghanistan);

·               an “oral history” project, where the local branch of a regimental association, locally based Armed Forces personnel or a specific group of Armed Forces personnel recorded their experiences or discussed them with local schoolchildren;

·               a community outreach project bringing veterans together with their non-Service equivalents to highlight what support is available for them in their local community or to increase the level of targeted support;

13.        In addition there needs to be a clear demonstrable benefit to Armed Forces Community and their local community and the application is more likely to be successful if the non-Service element of the partnership (e.g. charity, community group, commercial organisation or council) also commit to incurring expenditure.

14.        The next panel will sit in March 2012, the deadline for bids to reach the MoD Covenant Team is 29 February 2012.   

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

15.        The Armed Forces Community Covenant is deemed to have roles under the terms and conditions of the Grant. However this Covenant is not a body in its own right and is a partnership comprising the organisations identified in Paragraph 6.

16.        The Terms and Conditions and identified responsibilities for all parties, including the bidding organisation, are outlined in Appendix 1.  The responsibilities of the Community Covenant Partnership have been agreed with the partnership bodies.

17.        The Council's obligations are identified below

·               To assist with the provision of services and support to the bidding organisations making applications under this scheme.  This could include such advice as planning permission requirements, procurement methods and guidance on value for money or assistance with completion of the application forms.

·               To review the information provided by the bidding organisation at the application stage to ensure value for money on the project is being demonstrated.

·               To receipt the monies from the MoD and transfer, as appropriate, to the bidding organisation.  Any underspends will be passed back to the MoD by the Council.

·               The retention of a full account of expenditure on behalf of the Community Covenant Partnership for 3 years for MoD audit purposes.

18.        All works and associated management, permissions, insurances, ongoing funding and overspends for the work to be undertaken are the responsibility of the bidding organisation and will not be undertaken or administered by the Council.

19.        The bidding organisation must agree to commit to spend any associated ongoing costs as identified in the business case. Normally, the Council will not be making any financial contributions to the applications under these schemes. 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

20.        Any application for Grant has to be approved by the constituent members of the Community Covenant Partnership identified in paragraph 6.

21.        Should any application be successful and approval received from the MOD, a Deed of Grant will be drawn up with the bidding organisation to confirm the terms and conditions of the Grant and the Council's obligations and requirements.

22.        A Financial Procedure Note for the Administration of Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme has been produced clearly illustrating the requirements and responsibilities of the parties involved.

Crime and Disorder Implications

23.        None

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

24.        None

Corporate/Service Objectives

25.        These schemes will support work with partners to meet the diverse needs of our residents in ways that will safeguard and support those who are most vulnerable and in greatest need; help people to keep fit and healthy; and increase social cohesion and equality of opportunity for all

Policy Framework and Budget

26.        For executive decision by Cabinet

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

27.        Ward member consultation was not been carried out as this project did not affect individual wards. Where applications are received which affect specific wards, consultation will be undertaken.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

28.        Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Appendix 1 - Terms and Conditions for Accepting Funding from the Community Covenant Grant Scheme within this Covenant

 

Armed Forces Community Covenant between the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Representatives of the Charitable and Voluntary Sectors and the Armed Forces in the Vale of Glamorgan.  http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/living/life_in_the_community/armed_forces.aspx

 

Contact Officer

Gill Howells - Operational Manager Finance and Systems

 

Officers Consulted

Head of Accounts and Resource Management

Operational Manager, Legal Services

Partner organisations - HIVE, VCVS, Armed Forces Community

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies - Director of Finance, ICT and Property