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Agenda Item No 5

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Welsh Church Act Estate Committee: 23rd January 2017

               

Report of the Managing Director

 

Review of Process for Applications for Financial Assistance for 2017/18 

              

Purpose of the Report

  1. To consider the application process for organisations seeking financial assistance from the Welsh Church Act Estate

Recommendations

  1. That committee considers and approves the proposed application process for grant assistance as set out in this report.
  2. That committee note that this report has been sent to Cardiff for consultation and that a further report will be brought to committee to feed back their response if further changes are required.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1/2.    In furtherance of the objectives of the trust.

Background

  1. The Welsh Church Act 1914 is an Act of Parliament under which the Welsh part of the Church of England was separated and disestablished. The Welsh Church Act Fund was established from the proceeds and assets, which were then distributed amongst the former County Councils in Wales and then further divided between the Unitary Authorities following their establishment in 1996.
  2. The Welsh Church Act Estate Committee has delegated authority to manage in accordance with "The Scheme" the Welsh Church Act Estate as vested in the Council.
  3. The purposes for which the Welsh Church Act fund may award grants is set out in summary at Appendix A.
  4. Historically the majority of applications received have been for financial assistance regarding religious premises. However, in line with the charitable purposes of the Trust the scope of eligibility has widened and applications have increased significantly during 2016/17. As a result it is now considered appropriate to fully review the criteria used to allocate funding in 2017/18.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Dependent on market conditions the Trust aims to accrue approximately £40,000 investment income each year plus a further £20,000 in rental income. Allowing for £5k incidental and governance expenses the trust should seek to realise approximately £55,000 each year which will be available for grant awards.
  2. To ensure all applications are given fair and consistent consideration two deadlines for the submission of applications are proposed. It is suggested that the deadlines will be 15th June and 15th September each year with reports being taken to Trust Committee in the following month. This would allow adequate time for the successful grant recipients to ensure their schemes are progressed and completed in year.
  3. Given the maximum funding available each year is predicted to be in the region of £55,000 and given the geographical area covered is Cardiff and The Vale of Glamorgan it is proposed to set the maximum award at £5,000. This will ensure that the awards are not concentrated on a small number of organisations. In addition it is proposed to set a minimum award at £100 to ensure that smaller organisations will be able to benefit from the grants.
  4. The Welsh Church Act states that income from the fund should be devoted to charitable or alms giving purposes and as such applications are proposed to only be accepted from places of public worship, community organisations and charities.
  5. The fund has traditionally only supported expenditure of a capital nature but given the wide ranging charitable purposes of the Trust it is proposed that it would be more appropriate to award grants for both capital and revenue expenditure. The fund cannot be used to fund retrospective applications.
  6. To demonstrate commitment to a scheme it is proposed that all organisations applying for financial assistance should provide a minimum level of match funding. It is suggested that this level should be set at a minimum of 25% of the total cost of the scheme.
  7. It is proposed that prior to submitting a claim applicants must confirm that there is a legal right to proceed with a proposed scheme. In addition, in line with the previous approach, the latest copy of the organisations accounts and three quotes evidencing costs involved will be required for all claims. Organisations will be limited to one application per calendar year.
  8. A final certificate will be introduced for all projects to confirm the completion of a scheme and the associated project costs. Any organisation not submitting the certificate as required would in future be barred from making further applications until the required documentation has been submitted and steps may be taken to reclaim the funds subject to committee agreement.
  9. It is also proposed that application forms included in the proposals are made available to Members for consideration two weeks prior to each Trust Committee when applications for financial assistance is scheduled to be considered by Trustees.
  10. Cardiff currently use their own application form for Welsh Church Act applications from the Cardiff area and any applications put forward come with a recommendation from Cardiff to proceed with the award. It is proposed to change the Vale of Glamorgan application to bring it more in line with the Cardiff application form and to reflect the proposed changes set out above.
  11. A copy of the proposals have been shared with Cardiff Council and their comments are awaited.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no resource implications

Sustainability and Climate Change implications

  1. There are no sustainability and climate change implications.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The proposals are line with the provisions of the Welsh Church Act scheme.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. The funding of the voluntary sector should assist in increasing social inclusion and reducing crime

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The charitable purposes for which the fund may be applied are set out in the "scheme for the administration of the trust". Applicants are asked to indicate how they will address equal opportunities and how they will demonstrate this.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The sole concern of the committee is to act in the best interest of the Trust

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. Not applicable

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Not applicable

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. None

Background Papers

Letters of application and grant application forms

Contact Officer

Gemma Jones

Principal Accountant

 

Officers Consulted

None

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas

Managing Director.

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