Grants Advisory Panel
Wednesday 9 November 2011 7.30 pm
Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2, Harrow Civic Centre. View directions
Contact: Daksha Ghelani, Senior Democratic Services Officer Tel: 020 8424 1881 E-mail: email@example.com
Attendance by Reserve Members
To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.
Reserve Members may attend meetings:-
(i) to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;
(ii) where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and
(iii) the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;
(iv) if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.
RESOLVED: To note that there were no Reserve Members in attendance at this meeting.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal or prejudicial interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:
(a) all Members of the Panel;
(b) all other Members present.
RESOLVED: To note that the following interest was declared:
Agenda Item 6 - Deputations
Councillor Nizam Ismail declared a prejudicial interest in that he was Chairman of the Harrow Muslim Council, which used the Community Premises at 27 Northolt Road, South Harrow. He would leave the room whilst the deputation was received and considered.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2011 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.
(1) the minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2011 be taken as read and signed as a correct record, subject to the following amendments:
(2) the fourth bullet point on page 72 of the minutes be amended to read, ‘that the application form should be modified to take account of the comments of the Panel, the letter from Harrow Women’s Centre and the question received. The Panel also expressed its view that small groups shouldnot be competing with larger groups and should therefore be considered for provision of a separate Application Form in the future’;
(3) an additional bullet point be inserted on page 72 of the minutes and to read, ‘The Grant Application Form should make it clear that organisations should not submit more than one application’.
Reason for Decision: To improve the grant application and assessment process for the administration of the main Grants Programme.
Public Questions and Petitions
To receive questions (if any) from local residents or organisations under the provisions of Executive Procedure Rule 51 (Part 4D of the Constitution).
RESOLVED: To note that no public questions or petitions were received at this meeting.
To receive deputations (if any) under the provisions of Executive Procedure Rule 50 (Part 4D of the Constitution).
The Panel’s policy (Minute 60: 28/07/03) in principle is not to receive deputations relating to individual grant applications.
The Panel's policy (Minute 13: 06/07/06) is to receive deputations annually at its November meeting.
RESOLVED: That Executive Procedure Rule 50.3 be suspended and the following deputation be received.
The deputee, who was a member of the Harrow Council for Justice, spoke on behalf of the community organisations which used the Community Premises at 27 Northolt Road, South Harrow. He made the following points:
· in 1980, Harrow Council had made an undertaking to support local community groups through the provision of resources, such as office space at the Community Premises;
· these community groups, though they did not have an SLA with the Council, served Harrow’s citizens by contributing to Council Priorities;
· these groups’ overheads and expenses had increased recently because they had been obliged to take out public liability insurance for use of the Community Premises. This insurance worked out to a total of approximately £9k between the 25 community organisations, which was approximately £350 per annum per group;
· these community groups were ‘not for profit’ organisations and their activities were carried out wholly by volunteers. The monies spent on public liability insurance would be better spent on the community;
· Harrow Council should therefore investigate the possibility of a single insurance premium which would cover all the community groups using the Community Premises.
Following questions from Members of the Panel, the deputee stated that:
· there had been no insurance claims made in the past;
· equipment such as computers were stored at the Community Premises, many of which had been donated by the Council and were given regular electrical checks by the Council;
· groups were often obliged to take out public liability insurance for events they organised at other premises, but that this was often included in the cover charge for the hire of the premises. Small policies were more expensive and the cost for a typical event lasting 6 hours would normally work out to approximately £30;
· the Community Premises only provided office space and were not used for functions;
· the Community Premises also had meeting/consulting rooms available for use by groups;
· the maximum amount of people he had ever encountered at the Community Premises was approximately 16 and that volunteers from all of the 25 organisations using the premises were rarely all present at the same time.
The Chairman asked officers if they could facilitate the deputees’ request. The Divisional Director Risk, Audit and Fraudtabled a report entitled ‘Insurance for Voluntary & Community Groups Granted Use of Community Premises’. This document was not available at the time the agenda was circulated due to the late receipt of the deputation and in order to allow the concerns of the deputees to be addressed. He made the following points:
· community groups tended to buy their public liability insurance on the commercial market which explained the high rate of premium;
· most insurers were not flexible in that they used fixed minimum commercial rates;
· in theory, it would be possible for each of the community groups to sue one another, to sue the Council or for the Council to sue one or more ... view the full minutes text for item 80.
EqIAs: A Briefing on the Processes and Responsibilities
Presentation by the Policy Officer - Equalities and Diversity.
An officer gave a presentation to Members of the Panel entitled ‘Embedding Equalities in the Grants Process’. The officer highlighted the following points:
· equalities was not about treating everyone the same, but rather recognising that their requirements need to be met in different ways;
· the Equality Act 2010 emphasised the following 9 protected characteristics under which individuals may not be discriminated against:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- race (ethnic or national origins, colour and nationality)
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation;
· the Council had a statutory equality duty to eliminate discrimination proactively, which meant it was important for the Council to be familiar with the borough’s demographic profile.
With regard to embedding these equalities principles in the grants process, the officer stated that this meant:
· that the grants process needed to be robust and ensure that any criteria used did not exclude any groups;
· grant application forms should be accessible to all, for example, making them available in large print or Braille if requested;
· ensuring that any groups supported also had robust, up-to-date equalities policies in place and were not discriminating against one of the 9 protected characteristics;
· reaching out to ‘hard-to-reach’ and under represented groups.
A Member commented that pages 27-28 of the Grant Application Form now addressed these equalities issues.
The officer added that officers had provided an analysis of previous years’ grants application data to Cabinet in May 2011. The analysis had shown that there was an even spread across most groups, however, officers would need to take positive action to engage with under represented groups.
The Chairman commented that the analysis needed to be taken beyond headline figures - for example, whereas it may be true that provision to the Asian Community had not changed, if an analysis was taken under Nationality, the result would show that for example, Tamils had lost out in the last grants process. It was important for the analysis to be rigorous so that steps could be taken to mitigate the effects of the process.
An officer undertook to circulate the presentation notes to Members of the Panel.
(1) a more thorough analysis be undertaken of the results of the grants allocation process to ensure that mitigating measures could be put in place for any unwitting adverse impact of the allocation process on the communities represented by those groups who were not successful;
(2) the presentation be received.
Report of the Divisional Director Community and Culture.
The Panel received a report of the Corporate Director Community and Environment setting out the current position regarding Edward Harvist Trust (EHT) funds for Harrow.
The Divisional Director, Community & Culture stated that:
· the funds were distributed three time a year across 5 London boroughs;
· the annual sum was not guaranteed but depended on dividends earned;
· one group last year withdrew its application, therefore, the total funds distributed were £12,513.29 and there was a proposal to offer another grant round in early 2012;
· the criteria used for assessing EHT grant applications were the same as for the main grants programme. However, the Panel had previously agreed to clarify the use of EHT funds with the following additional criteria for the distribution:
- organisations should clearly indicate the sum applied for;
- applications would only be considered if the amount requested was to be used for one-off capital expenditure.
An officer explained that although the main grants programme did not allow for capital expenditure, in contrast, EHT funds were to be used for capital. She undertook to confirm this position with EHT and report back to Members of the Panel.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted and the position with regard to the distribution of Edward Harvist Trust Funds in relation to Capital expenditure be confirmed.
Report of the Divisional Director Community and Culture.
The Panel considered a report of the Corporate Director Community and Environment, which provided an update on the process for administering the Main Grants Programme for 2012/13.
The Divisional Director, Community & Culture stated that following feedback from the Panel, the Women’s Centre and the public question received at the Panel meeting of 13 September, the following amendments had been made to the Grants Application Form for 2012/13:
· the term ‘Voluntary Sector’ had been replaced with the term ‘Third Sector’;
· the question relating to partnerships had been removed from the application form;
· the term ‘activity’ had been included throughout the form.
The officer added that:
· officers were trying to build in a more streamlined grants process and referred to page 30 of the application form which under the heading of ‘Outcomes’ requested details of how these would be delivered, measured and monitored by groups;
· officers had facilitated an information session for approximately 30 third sector groups wishing to apply for grants in 2012/13. Groups had had an opportunity to ask questions and the evaluation forms from the session had been positive;
· a representative from Community and Voluntary Sector Association Hammersmith & Fulham (CaVSA) had been present at the information session and had offered to hold surgeries with groups and offered to give them feedback on completed application forms. Further such information sessions were planned for forthcoming weeks.
An officer added that this year’s grant funding would be divided into two categories, a small grant of up to £5k and larger amount of up to £100k. There was a proposal that 15% of the annual grants budget for 2012/13 be allocated to small grants. This would ensure a wide distribution of the monies, with a proportion ringfenced for smaller grants. This measure had been agreed in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Community and Cultural Services.
Following questions from Members of the Panel, an officer stated that:
· analysis of funding figures for the previous 3 years had shown that the number of small grants of up to £5k had worked out to approximately 10% of the overall grant budget and that the Portfolio Holder had recommended that this be increased to 15% for 2012/13;
· the monitoring of groups awarded grants would be shared with officers from both Children’s and Adults and Housing Directorates;
· officers across directorates have received training in health and safety, safeguarding and finance.
The Divisional Director, Community & Culture undertook to provide a monitoring report regarding grant funding to a future meeting of the Panel.
Following further questions from Members of the Panel, an officer stated that:
· the timetable for the administration of the Main Grants Programme for 2012/13 could only be brought forward once the application form was agreed and ready for use at the information sessions;
· the slide presentation from the information sessions would be available on Harrow Council’s website;
· the scoring pass mark for smaller groups could be lowered with the agreement of the Portfolio Holder for Community and Cultural Services, once the quality of all ... view the full minutes text for item 83.