See separate pack for appendices 6 - 65
7.1 James Lee, Head of Service, Culture and Community Development introduced the report to the Committee and highlighted the following key points:
· £1 million savings was being made from the Main Grants Programme which represented a reduction in funding of 25% across the programme.
· There was due to be a full review of the grants allocation process going forward to inform the process for future grant allocation rounds.
· There was not scope at this stage to provide detailed information on individual organisations as it would not be appropriate.
7.2 James Lee, responded to questions from the Committee, the following key points were noted:
· The organisations that had appealed were: MenCap; Irie Dance Theatre; Lewisham Disability Coalition; and Grove Park Community Group.
· There had been criticism of the Council’s feedback process to organisations in the first year of the funding cycle. Improvements had now been made and there was a better understanding of requirements on both sides.
· For monitoring processes for community groups, usually outputs were measured as outcomes could be more challenging to accurately quantify.
7.3 In the Committee’s discussions, the following key points were noted:
· Members of the committee welcomed the depth of the report and the amount of information included.
· Members of the Committee felt support for refugees and migrants should be prioritised and consideration of this should be part of the process for allocating funds from the Main Grants Programme. The Committee was informed that this approach may not be legal and that Mayor and Cabinet had instructed officers to focus on grant criteria applied equally to all groups. Resources could be secured outside the Main Grants Programme for example through the Home Office for the Syrian families being housed in Lewisham.
· Councillor Michael left the room at 8.45pm and Cllr Walsh took over as Chair. Councillor Michael returned at 8.46pm and resumed the Chair.
· Members of the Committee requested that proposals for the development of a new infrastructure offer, as outlined in this report, should return to Safer Stronger Communities Select Committee for further scrutiny once they have been worked up.
· Members of the committee raised concerns over obtaining qualitative information on delivery of objectives as well as quantitative. For example, if a target was “delivery of 100 booklets” and that was 100% achieved it would be important to monitor where and how to ensure the Council was getting value for money. It was also important that the Council was mindful of any double funding possibilities as well. The Committee was informed that officers visit organisations, attend meetings, talk to users and had a robust approach to looking at qualitative results. There was potential on some occasions for things to be missed and the monitoring team would follow up on any concerns or information raised by Councillors or members of the public.
· Members of the Committee requested details of the assessment and scrutiny of funding of Equaliteam. The Committee were informed that Equaliteam had not received any grant funding since 2015 and were therefore not included as part of the current report. The committee were informed that legal advice would be sought and circulated after the meeting as to the possible options for scrutiny of individual organisations.
· Standing orders were suspended at 9.15pm.
That legal advice be sought on further scrutiny of individual organisations and previous legal advice received by the Committee in 2015 be recirculated to members.
That the following referral to Mayor and Cabinet:
1. That the Council should prioritise support for refugees and migrants and consideration of this should be part of the process for allocating funds from the Main Grants Programme
2. That the importance of early monitoring of organisations receiving funding should be noted so as to ensure effective management and delivery by organisations.
3. Proposals for the development of a new infrastructure offer, as outlined in the report to Safer Stronger Communities Select Committee on 28 November, should return to Safer Stronger Communities Select Committee for further scrutiny once they have been worked up.