Agenda Item No 8
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee: 18 July 2017
Report of the Managing Director
Nomination of Representative for the Strong Communities Fund Evaluation Panel
Purpose of the Report
- To invite a representative from the Voluntary Sector in the Vale of Glamorgan to be a member of the Strong Communities Fund Evaluation Panel.
That the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee appoints a representative from the voluntary sector to be a member of the Strong Communities Fund Evaluation Panel for the term of one year.
Reason for the Recommendation
To enable the voluntary sector to have involvement in the evaluation of the Council's Strong Communities Grant Fund.
- In 2017, the Council established a Strong Communities Grant Fund. This fund will provide funding to a range of community based organisations to pursue activities consistent with the Council's Corporate Plan. In order for bids to be evaluated in an involving and inclusive way, the Council has determined that bids will initially be reviewed by an evaluation panel with multi-organisational representation, including one representative from the voluntary sector. The evaluation panel will consider bids and make recommendations to the Council's Cabinet.
Relevant Issues and Options
- The purpose of the Strong Communities Fund is to enable community groups, the voluntary sector and town and community councils to apply for revenue and capital funding that promotes initiatives within the Vale of Glamorgan consistent with the Council's vision of 'Strong Communities with a bright future'. The new approach will streamline the way in which community grant funding is managed by the Council. Eligible schemes would include those which are seeking funding to:
- Improve the resilience of organisations/groups or their activities by funding activities which add value to their current work and reduce their reliance on grant funding in the future;
- Provide seed corn funding towards initiatives that can demonstrate longer term sustainability;
- Undertake consultation, feasibility, design and other specialist work to develop proposals for future activity and funding bids;
- Meet the capital costs of schemes by purchasing plant, machinery, equipment or other assets or undertaking maintenance work that would enable viable services to be provided, for example, through increased income generation potential.
- The Strong Communities Fund brings together the Voluntary Action, Small Community Grants, Community Action Self Help and Christmas Grants schemes to provide a more co-ordinated approach to funding. This will total £142,000 per annum for the next three years from 2017/18. In addition, Section 106 Community Facilities funding and where appropriate other Section 106 funding, for example, community transport or public open space would be added to the grant fund. The Section 106 funding will vary year on year and by area, depending upon the completion of relevant development works. The Council has also gained funding from an independent grant-making Foundation for a total of £20,000 per annum for the next three years. In a commitment to ensuring the amount of funding available to the Strong Communities Fund, it is proposed that any underspend in each of the three years will be carried forward into the next year, thus increasing the size of the funding available. The Council has also committed to bring forward the underspend from related grant schemes from 2016/17. As such, there will be total funding of £286,645 available for the fund in 2017/18.
- The Committee will note that a threshold was previously applied to the Community Action Self Help scheme for Town and Community Councils relating to their level of precept which restricted the availability of capital funding available for larger Town and Community Councils. In future there will be no threshold on the level of Town and Community Council precept applied to the Strong Communities Grant Fund. In some communities where there are limited numbers of appropriate community groups, Town and Community Councils will have the opportunity to bid for revenue funding. However, bids will only be accepted where they can demonstrate that the application is a collaborative one, whereby that Town or Community Council is working in partnership with a community/voluntary group. In addition, all applications received to the fund will be considered in terms of the level of resources the bidding organisation has access to, as well as the need to ensure equitable distribution across all appropriate applications from Town and Community Councils.
- Previously, the capital funding made available through the Community Action Self Help scheme was restricted to Town & Community Councils only. In future, this element of capital funding will be available for the voluntary sector to bid against.
- Bids for this funding would be sought from the following categories of organisation:
- Community led organisations
- Third Sector Organisations
- Town & Community Councils
- Consortia of the above, including those which have established formal governance arrangements such as social enterprises
- Bids against the main fund of £142,000 would be invited up to the maximum funding available. Included within this amount, bids of a specifically innovative nature would be invited up to a maximum of £1,000 per application. These could, for example, relate to time limited pieces of work on consultation or development work that is required to inform a project or to provide starter funding for potential larger future schemes. This approach would enable the Fund to provide funding to a range of projects in terms of scale throughout the year and the Evaluation Panel will remain cognisant of the need to fund as wide a range of schemes as possible. Proposals which demonstrate they are leveraging other sources of funding (actual or "in-kind") will be encouraged.
- The evaluation of bids to the fund would be undertaken in line with a series of weighted criteria, which will include;
- Linkages with the Council's Corporate Plan
- Consistency with the Council's Reshaping Services programme
- Consistency with the well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act
- A more detailed set of evaluation criteria is being developed and will be promoted via the Council's website and other media during the summer of 2017.
- An Evaluation Panel will be responsible for evaluating bids and making recommendations to Cabinet for the award of funding three times per year. A scoring matrix is being developed for use by the panel to evaluate bids received and to provide the basis for making recommendations to Cabinet for decision on the allocation of funding.
- The Evaluation Panel will comprise of:
- Leader of the Council
- Cabinet Member with responsibility for Regeneration
- One representative from the voluntary sector
- One representative from a Town Council
- One representative from a Community Council
- One representative from each of any donors of recurring third party funding
- One representative from a member organisation of the Public Services Board
- The panel will be responsible for identifying innovative uses and combinations of the available funding to maximise the opportunities in order to enable the maximum value to be derived for schemes that meet the criteria. Terms of reference for the Evaluation Panel and its operations will be developed in due course in addition to a standard application form, evaluation criteria and guidance for applicants. The Panel will be supported by Council Officers.
- Further information on the operation of the Strong Communities Fund can be found in the report to the Council's Cabinet (3rd April 2017) which is available at:
- The Committee are requested to nominate one representative from the voluntary sector to join the panel for a term of one year.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- None as a direct result of this report.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act is about sustainable development. The Act sets out a 'sustainable development principle' which specifies that the public bodies listed in the Act must act in a manner which seeks to ensure the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In meeting their sustainability duty, each body must set objectives that highlight the work the body will undertake to contribute to meeting the seven Well-being Goals for Wales.
- The Council's Reshaping Services Programme and Strong Communities Grant Fund are both examples of the way in which the Council is seeking to ensure sustainable communities in the Vale of Glamorgan are supported in the future, with particular emphasis on the provision of priority services.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
- There are no specific legal implications as a direct result of this report.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- There are no specific crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- There are no specific Equal Opportunities implications as a direct result of this report.
- The Council's Corporate Plan reflects the authorities' duties and commitments to promoting sustainable development. The Corporate Plan is based around four well-being outcomes which provide a framework for the plan together with eight well-being objectives. Through the objectives the Council demonstrates its commitment to improving social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being and the promotion of sustainable development. In delivering these objectives the Council contributes to the seven Well-being goals for Wales and ensures that the needs of people of all ages and future generations are at the forefront of service delivery.
Policy Framework and Budget
- This is a matter for decision by the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- Due to the corporate nature of this report, no specific Ward Member consultation has been undertaken.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Corporate Performance & Resources Scrutiny Committee.
Strong Communities Grant Fund (Cabinet, 3rd April)
Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Improvement
Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Improvement
Tom Bowring, Operational Manager, Performance and Policy
Rob Thomas, Managing Director