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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 7 September, 2015

Report of the Leader

External Funding Procedure Review

Purpose of the Report

1.    To seek Cabinet endorsement of proposals to amend the existing external funding framework.

Recommendations

1.     That Cabinet grants delegated authority to the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader, to authorise submission and acceptance of future external funding grant applications and allocations; and to enter into the associated grant terms and conditions.

2.     That Capital schemes, partially or entirely grant funded continue to be reported to Cabinet for inclusion within the Capital Programme.      

3.     That current established processes continue to be used to ensure grant applications and allocations are  considered by the External Funding Steering Group and Corporate Management Team prior to submission and acceptance.

4.     That the relevant Financial Procedure Note be updated to reflect the change set out in recommendation 1.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.     To allow grant funding applications to be submitted and accepted on a timely basis in light of issues identified with the current external funding framework.

2.     To include schemes within the Capital Programme in line with the Council's Constitution.

3.     To ensure effective oversight of the use of grant funding across all Council directorates is maintained.

4.     To reflect the change as set out in recommendation 1.

Background

2.    The Council’s External Funding Framework stipulates that all capital bids regardless of value and all revenue bids over £50,000 (with the exception of transport grants) must be considered by the External Funding Steering Group (EFSG), Corporate Management Team (CMT) and Cabinet before any external funding is accepted.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.    A number of issues have been identified with the current framework and these were reported to CMT in February 2015 as at Appendix A. The report outlined that due to short timescales often involved in the need to accept grant funding, a number of grant allocations and applications following the framework were often reported to Cabinet on a retrospective basis with a need for urgency procedures to be followed.

 

4.    It was recommended to CMT that a review of the External Funding Framework took place as part of the Reshaping Services Programme Effectiveness of Spend Project. The External Funding Steering Group, with additional officers, forms the project team for this aspect of the Reshaping Services Programme led by the Managing Director as Programme Sponsor. This review is ongoing with progress reported to the Reshaping Services Programme Board.

 

5.    On the 1st July 2015, discussion at CMT suggested delegated authority for the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader, would be the most appropriate and practical solution to ensure grant funding bids can be submitted and accepted in a timely manner. The CMT minute can be found at Appendix B.

 

6.    All current internal processes to ensure grant applications or allocations that meet the framework criteria are considered by the EFSG and CMT before acceptance would continue to ensure senior officers are informed of grant applications being prepared across all Council directorates.

 

7.    All Capital schemes, including those that are entirely grant funded, would continue to be reported to Cabinet and require Cabinet approval for inclusion in the Capital Programme in line with the Council's Constitution.

 

8.    The procedure for signing a grant application or acceptance of an allocation will not be changed and it will remain that only either Directors or Heads of Service can sign on behalf of the Council following the use of delegated authority by the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.    Should Cabinet agree to the proposal, the external funding framework outlined within the Council's Financial Procedure Note would be updated. The current Financial Procedure Note can be found at Appendix C.

 

10.    Shorter lead in times for applications to be considered by the EFSG and CMT would help to ensure all applications fully comply with the adopted procedure.   

 

11.    The recommendation for delegated authority to be granted would result in less resource required from officers to follow emergency power/ urgency procedures as is currently needed when grants need to be submitted and accepted before they can be brought before Cabinet.

 

12.    Through only presenting applications concerning Capital schemes, the volume of external funding reports currently presented to Cabinet would reduce.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.    There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising directly from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.    The Council's Financial Procedure Note will need to be updated should Cabinet agree these recommendations.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.    There are no crime and disorder implications arising directly from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.    There are no equal opportunities implications arising directly from this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.    The use of grant funding provides additional resource to deliver the range of objectives set out within the Community Strategy and Corporate Plan.  

 

18.    The continued need for applications to be presented to the EFSG and CMT prior to acceptance will allow officers to ensure the use of external funding is aligned to the Council's identified priorities. This will also continue to provide opportunities to identify potential amendments to proposed uses of grant funding to deliver corporate objectives prior to submission of the application.

Policy Framework and Budget

19.    This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.    Officers will continue to consult with the relevant Cabinet/ Ward Member where required, as is currently the case. The relevant Member would have opportunity to request revenue applications be presented to Cabinet where it is felt Cabinet attention is required.

 

21.    Cabinet would continue to receive reports on grants concerning Capital schemes.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.    Corporate Resources

Background Papers

External Funding Framework Review – Report to CMT 25th February 2015

Minute of CMT - 1st July 2015

Financial Procedure Note

Contact Officer

Huw Isaac - Head of Performance and Development.

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

External Funding Steering Group

Responsible Officer:

Huw Isaac - Head of Performance and Development.

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