Agenda item

Review of the Grants Application Process

Report of the Corporate Director of Community and Environment – to follow.


Under the Special Urgency provisions the Leader, acting as the Executive, considered a report of the Corporate Director of Community and Environment on the recommendations of Grants Advisory Panel in relation to the grants programme for 2010/11.


The report was urgent due to the need to launch the Grants Scheme for the coming year, prior to the next Cabinet programmed for 17 September 2009.


Consideration was given to the recommendations of the Grants Advisory Panel.  The Leader further sought the views of officers upon the proposals particularly in relation to the proposed threshold levels of grants and the proposals around the timescale and process for the consideration of grants application. 


The Leader commented that the previously identified threshold levels of grants was established historically and supported by a recent scrutiny challenge process in relation to this area.  He noted the proposed change in threshold would be relevant, currently, for one organisation and was advised by officers that when a consultation upon the levels was undertaken with applicants for grants no specific comments against the suggested £100,000 had been received from that applicant.  He therefore concluded that the proposal to increase the threshold level for grants should not be adopted.


The Leader then raised the issue of the shortened timescale with respect to the grants process.  He noted the concerns of officers with regard to the submission of grants reports and appropriate resourcing to achieve the proposals of the Grants Panel.  He further examined the initial proposals by officers with regard to operating arrangements.  In deliberating upon the Panel’s recommendation the Leader considered the ability of officers to engage with grants applicants in the process to ensure the accuracy of information presented for final consideration by the Panel.  He also suggested that arranging an informal working group of officers and Members during January 2010 to consider initial draft applications would contribute to a more effective grants process consideration through gaining Members input at an earlier stage and therefore, create greater transparency with regard to grant approval outcomes.  The Leader concluded that an amendment to the recommendation regarding the proposed timescale was required to enable the suggestions he had outlined and that the Panel recommendation should not be adopted, setting out his alternative decision instead.


RESOLVED:  That (1) Recommendation 1 (Review of Grants Criteria & Results of Grants Consultation) be agreed subject to the threshold of large grants remaining at £100,000;


(2)  Recommendation 2 (Funding Arrangements for 2009/10 & 2010/11) be agreed;


(3)  Recommendation 3 (Review of Grants Application Process) be agreed subject to the timescale for grants round 2010/11 be as detailed in the table below:


END August 2009         

Grants application round launched

END October 2009

Grants application round closing date

END October – END December 2009

Applications are assessed

Early January 2010

Informal Working Party of Members of Grants Advisory Panel, Independent Adviser and officers of Grants Team held to consider initial grant application submissions.

MID January – February 2010

Copy of draft report sent out to applicants for comments


Final Report presented to GAP to agree grant allocations for 2010/11, subject to Cabinet’s decision.


Reasons for Decision: 


·               To address the recommendations raised in the Overview and Scrutiny Review: “Delivering a Strengthened Voluntary and Community Sector for Harrow” (December 2008).


·               To ensure greater clarity and transparency in the grants process for round 2010/11.