Agenda item

To receive a presentation from Simon Garwood, Localism Manager

Minutes:

Simon Garwood, Localism Manager provided an update on the new funding process. The budget for this year was £347,377 which included an underspend of £124,675 and had taken into account population, deprivation and new homes. There would be one fund for each Board to spend on the priorities, minimum of 15%to be spent on projects to do with the environment, minimum of 15% on projects to aid Economic Regeneration and a maximum cap of 25% of this year’s budget only (not to include last year’s underspend) on transport projects.

 

·       Improving the Environment – minimum £52,107 to be spent

·       Supporting Economic Recovery – minimum £52,107 to be spent

·       Highways and Transport – maximum of £55,676 to be spent

 

Building on the experiences last year the funding process has now been improved as follows:-

 

·       Initial idea – via Action Group, application form or via discussion with Chairman or Co-ordinator

·       Application & assessment – looked at by Co-ordinator and Localism Managers (complex applications could be referred to the Monthly Funding Panel)

·       Community Board discussion and recommendation – Summaries of applications would be sent by email and a further email would be sent to confirm.

·       Monthly Funding Approvals and Reporting Panel – signed off by the Service Director and Cabinet Member to meet governance requirements

·       Implementation, Review and Monitoring – award letter would be sent and monitored with updates to the Board.

 

For Highway applications there would be a deadline of 30 September 2021 so that the application could be assessed before the Community Board decided whether or not to fund the application.

 

During discussion the following points were made:-

 

·       A suggestion was made that the Chairman of the Action Groups should work together and liaise with Town and Parish Councils to find out what their problems were and to prioritise projects to deal with these issues.

·       In terms of rolling forward funding for future years it was thought that this would be unlikely to happen next year. A decision was made to roll forward for 2021/22 due to the impact of the pandemic and also because the Boards starter later in the year due to the new unitary council coming into fruition. Funding could still be used if a project was to be started in February or March but would not be completed for a number of months as funding could be reserved for this. However, unallocated money would not be rolled over. 

·       The Local Infrastructure Fund and community priorities had been combined into one fund this year. There was no specific Health and Wellbeing fund this year – last year this was a separate pot of money that was provided by Public Health.

·       The percentage splits were strong recommendations in terms of where funding should be directed. However, if there was a need to have one project that strongly fitted into the priorities and would skew the percentages, then this should be discussed with the Chairman and the Co-ordinator in order to see if it would be feasible.

·       A Member asked about the total funding and the percentage split and how much of that budget was funding from last year and whether the split still applied to that part of the budget. The Member also raised concern about the monthly process and whether the Board should step back and look at the whole picture to be able to make better decisions for their local community. In response the Localism Manager reported that there was just one fund this year. There were a number of ways to distribute funding e.g the Board could have a small grants fund to help provide support for smaller organisations. The remaining funding could be used for two or three big projects. The Board needed to discuss how they wished to allocate the funding.

·       A Member commented that it would be helpful to have a report on how the funding was spent last year. The Localism Manager would check whether any funding had been left over from the Health and Wellbeing Fund and whether this still could be spent on public health initiatives.