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Item 4 - Review of London Councils Grants Programme (L22/3)

Summary 

The current grants programme delivered jointly by the London local authorities under the London Grants Scheme is due to conclude in March 2017.

London Councils Grants Committee resolved at their Annual General Meeting in July 2015 to undertake a review to inform future decisions by Grants and Leaders’ Committee as to the continued delivery of a pan-London grants programme under the Grants Scheme at the conclusion of the current programme. 

That Review has been undertaken and has involved consideration, analysis and evaluation of a number of sources of information and factors relevant to the decision. In particular the Review sought and analysed the views of stakeholders provided through established sector arrangements and a formal consultation undertaken between July and October 2015. It evaluated evidence relating to the operation and impact of the current grants programme.  Specific consideration was given to the equalities impacts arising from the operation of the current programme and those which may arise in delivering a future programme including one which may differ in scope.  Regard was also had to the pressures on local authority budgets arising from significant cuts to local government funding in recent years and the additional adverse impact of HM Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review announced on 25 November 2015 – subsequently confirmed by the final Local Government Financial Settlement announced on 8 February 2016 – which will reduce local authority funding further.

The evaluation and analysis by officers was considered by Grants Committee on 18 November 2015 and Leaders’ Committee on 8 December 2015, which agreed a new grants programme should be delivered from April 2017 (retaining the Principles underpinning the current programme) and that it was minded, subject to further consultation, to endorse future  priorities around combatting sexual and domestic violence and on poverty through worklessness, on tackling homelessness (subject to certain provisos); but not to support a priority around capacity building for the third sector. Further Leaders’ Committee resolved officers should work to strengthen programme management and relationships with boroughs at a local level to support the management of each priority and delivery of outcomes. This position was outlined in a resolution passed at Grants Committee in November 2015 and subsequently considered at Leaders’ Committee in December 2015 (appendix seven).
A subsequent additional consultation took place from 17 December 2015 to 22 January 2016 to seek further views on the position the Committee was minded to take as outlined above.  This report summarises the findings of this consultation and includes further evidence in the form of a report commissioned from Homeless Link into homelessness need in London and information gathered at a London Councils borough event focused on sexual and domestic violence which took place on 23 February 2016.

There is also other work currently underway by London Funders (and funded by the City Bridge Trust) to review infrastructure support in London and the outcome of that review is due to be delivered to London Councils at the end of March 2016.

At its meeting on 9 March 2016, Grants Committee considered a report on the additional consultation alongside other evidence and factors, as outlined in this report. Grants Committee unanimously agreed:

• To make recommendations to Leaders’ Committee to agree to deliver a Grants Programme from April 2017 operating in accordance with the current principles and focused on the following priorities –
o Priority 1 Combatting Homelessness
o Priority 2 Tackling Sexual and Domestic Violence
o Priority 3 Tackling Poverty through Employment (European Social Fund match funded)

• That officers develop a proposal to work with City Bridge Trust  on the implementation of the review into infrastructure support in London  (being undertaken by London Funders) and that this be reported to the next meeting of the Grants Committee in July 2016

Recommendations 

Leaders’ Committee is asked:

1. to agree that there should be a Grants Programme from April 2017 to March 2021, operating in accordance with the current principles and focused on the following priorities -

i. Priority 1 Combatting Homelessness
ii. Priority 2 Tackling Sexual and Domestic Violence
iii. Priority 3 Tackling Poverty through Employment (European Social Fund match funded)
2. To note that Grants Committee has asked that officers develop a proposal to work with City Bridge Trust  on the implementation of the review into infrastructure support in London  (being undertaken by London Funders) and that this be reported to the next meeting of the Grants Committee in July 2016.