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FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

London Councils invites voluntary and community organisations working in London to consider applying for a grant to support the delivery of commissions based on our principles and priorities and our service specifications.

Organisations wishing to apply should read the guidance and following notes and ensure you submit your application before the deadline of Thursday 15 September 2017, 12 noon.

Key points to consider when making proposals are:

  • can the project be delivered effectively against the specification
  • what is the evidence to show the need for the service
  • does the scheme show value for money and is it an efficient way to deliver services that can not be delivered locally at a borough or sub-regional level
  • which organisations will the project work with
  • how will the project contribute to promoting equality and foster good relations between the protected groups in the Equality Act 2010
  • how will the project work across London and partner with organisations, including boroughs to offer a London wide service to support people

Services must satisfy all of the principles and must operate within at least one of the priorities if they are to be eligible for funding from the scheme.

The principles and priorities, together with the specifications set out our expectations of the commissions.

Frequently asked questions

Q. How will my application be assessed?

A. There are 11 scored questions in the online form. A breakdown of the scoring framework is provided at the end of the guidance document. Views of borough officers on the applications will also be sought.

Applications will be recommended for funding based on having a high score against the answers provided to the application questions and based on a number of other criteria as set out below.  This is to ensure services are commissioned both in accordance with the principles and relevant priority of the Grants Programme 2017-21, and across all priority areas to enable funding of the best possible spread of Pan-London services to meet the needs of target groups identified in the relevant service specification and within the budget available.  This assessment may therefore result in officers not recommending the highest scoring bids. Commissions may be awarded to more than one applicant to deliver a joint or complementary service to meet the requirements of the relevant service specification and the Grants Programme.

 These additional criteria are:

  1. receipt of mandatory information (including satisfactory references);
  2. available budgetary resources i.e. services across the Grants Programme as a whole will be commissioned on the basis of the total budget available; and
  3. with reference to the relevant service specification:
    1. target groups
    2. equalities characteristics
    3. delivery methods

Q. Can I apply for more than one priority/ strand?

A. Yes, but you must complete an application form for each.

Q. Can I make a joint application?

 A. Yes, London Councils welcomes proposals that are partnerships and support a London wide programme. London Councils will not fund schemes that could be provided locally or sub-regionally as these are a matter for boroughs or groups of boroughs working together to consider.

 

Q. What is an output?

A. An output is an activity that your organisation delivers.

Q. What is an outcome?

A. An outcome is a change in the service user.

Q. Do I have to use the outcomes listed in the service specification?

A. Yes. Each service specification has a table with headline outcomes. Some specifications have a number of bullet points under each headline outcome. Typically you will need to choose 1-2 of the bullet points under each headline outcome. For some specifications (under Priority 1) the specification states how many bullet points must be addressed and whether any are mandatory.

Q. What do I need to give London Councils to support my proposal?

 A. You must apply using the online form, which includes a series of questions and a requirement to upload a number of attachments (details of which can be found on the form and in the guidance document.

Access the online form

You will be asked to set up an account before you start your form. Full information on how to do this is in the guidance document. You will need to provide evidence of need for the service and your actions to address that need.

Q. How do I return to a form that I have started?

A. Once you have created an account, started a form and saved it you can return to it.

Return to your account

  

Q. What is a partnership?

A. London Councils welcomes proposals for partnerships between organisations. We will consider partnerships that may not be fully formed provided there is evidence that they will be before funding is made. Please tell us in the application form how far the partnership has developed, what action is needed to complete the partnership and agreements and how the arrangements will provide the service that London Councils should commission. Please provide on the application form evidence of the existence or commitment to partnership working and any informal and formal agreements as these will be helpful. One of the partner organisations must be made the 'lead organisation', or a new partnership organisation must be set up. If one organisation is seeking funding on behalf of other organisations, then the lead organisation needs to supply us with a letter from each organisation in the partnership confirming their role in the service. You will need to submit an attachment using the partnership template providing information on each partner and their role in the project.  You will also be required to send us a partnership agreement form signed by each partner before funding can start.

Q. Can my organisation apply for running costs?

A. Applicants must be clear that London Councils does not provide funds to organisations but only provides grants to support a particular commission or service. Please see the notes in the guidance document to assist you in providing realistic costs. 

Q. How much could be available?

A. As part of our commitment to clarity and assisting groups decide whether they should make an application, members of London Councils Grants Committee have agreed indicative funding levels for each specification.  However, the indicative funding levels may be subject to change and could be reduced by London Councils when the budget is set in November/December 2016 for 2017/18 financial year.  

London Councils has provided indicative allocations for each of the specifications as a guide to assist applicants. Please note that each amount is subject to change and dependant on the total budget when agreed, the quality of the applications we receive and recommend to the Grants Committee and the decisions made by the Grants Committee in February 2017, on the balance of the priorities and schemes agreed to meet each priority.

Each individual application will be assessed. London Councils will aim to recommend a balanced programme that will fund quality commissions or services that meet the principles and priorities of the grants programme. 

London Councils will publish its officer recommendations in January 2017.

Q. What happens if I disagree with the recommendations?

A. Organisations may respond prior to the Grants Committee meeting. We will publish our initial proposals in January 2017. Organisations that do not agree with our assessment will have a Right of Reply and those we receive will be reported to committee when it makes its decision on the content of the 2017-21 grants Programme in February 2017.

Q. When will funding start?

 A. We expect all schemes to start on 1 April 2017 or as soon as is practicable afterwards.

Q. Can I access the form in Community languages/ other accessible formats?

A. Please email us on [email protected] if you require help in translating material and/or access to large print (see the capacity we offer on the web to view in large print), audio tape, Braille or translations into another language. 

Q. What if this page does not answer all my questions?

A. Firstly, make sure you have read the guidance document thoroughly.  

If you still have not been able to find an answer then please email [email protected]. Your question and our response may be posted on this FAQs page. Please send your questions before 7 September 2016 as we may be unable to answer questions after that date.

 As is standard practice in commissioning, London Councils will publish on the web questions raised about the applications and our response as and when these are received. Please check the web site regularly to see what is developing in addressing any frequently asked questions and our replies to inform your thinking and enabling all applicants to offer considered and quality applications.

Constraints on staff time and fairness will prevent London Councils from engaging with applicants during the assessment process after the closing date of Thursday 15 September 2016. 

 

Q. Do all applications have to be made online?

A. Yes all applications must be made online. London Councils can only accept online applications (unless in exceptional circumstances in which a group has written in advance to seek permission before 31 August 2016). All must be received by 12 Noon, Thursday 15 September 2016.

Q. Can a reference be sought from London Councils for this application process?

A. No, London Councils can not provide a reference. The team is small and it may be the same person who is then scoring that bid.

Q. what period of time do the indicative funding levels in the service specifications relate to?

A. They are annual figures (subject to change as part of the budget setting process in autumn 2016 and award of commissions February 2017)

Q. Does London Councils only support London wide schemes?

A. Yes. London Councils principles emphasise schemes that offer access to people from all London boroughs; we will consider applications from organisations wanting to address a commission (for example) of tackling violence against Asian women where the majority of people expected to use the service live in for example 22 boroughs provided, it also makes provision for women living in the rest of the London area either directly or in partnership with other organisations. 

Q. How many grants do you anticipate awarding for each specification?

A. We can’t anticipate how many grants we will award for each specification as it will depend on the bids we get in. If one organisation (maybe a consortium bid) is able to demonstrate that it can deliver the outcomes across London then the funding could be awarded to a single organisation. However, the funding could go to a number of separate commissions.

 

Q. Can an organisation bid for less than the indicative amount?

A. Yes applicants can bid for less than the indicative value. It really depends on what you are offering. Please note that we will consider value for money.

 

Q. Can there be provision for substance misuse under a project delivering against Priority 1 ?

A. The first outcome objective under Specification 1.3  is that frontline organisations deliver higher quality, specialist housing provision as a result of this service. Outcomes under this heading refer to the specialist and equalities needs of clients. Substance misuse is an acknowledged need within this group and so could be included as long as the relevant outcome(s) were sufficiently addressed.

Q. Regarding Strand 2.4, please can you advise if the housing element is to deliver work only or primarily with the services funded under this strand or is it broader?

A. The housing element of service area 2.4 relates to that service area only. In other words, there may be women referred into refuge that do not require refuge provision. This should only be explored where appropriate, but could be a solution for a number of women.
 

Q. If a lead organisation needs to submit two references, can one of these be from a partner organisation?

A. The reference should be a London local authority (council), funder or an organisation that you have delivered services for.

Q. Are we able to include attachments/appendices to support our responses other than those already asked for?

A. There is not an option to upload other attachments.

Q. Can you clarify whether the indicative funding levels for each specification in the new Grants Programme 2017-21 are for one year or for the whole of the four year programme?

A. The indicative figures are for one year.

Q. Please provide a definition or some examples of ‘beneficiary costs’

A. Beneficiary costs are any that relate to the beneficiary for example, workshop materials, interpreters, etc

Q. Would you consider applications from one organisation for multiple service specifications?

A. Yes, London Councils will accept applications from an organisation under more than one specification. A separate application form should be used for each application. Each will be judged separately against the scoring matrix in the guidance document.

Q. Can you tell me if you have to be a formally constituted partnership or would it be acceptable if we agreed to deliver a project across London with organisation leading on the project?

A. Please read the section in our guidance on our partnerships. Yes, London Councils will consider partnerships. There are requirements to be met (such as submission of letters from each partner), and there are important things to know about the responsibility of the lead partner which are set out in the guidance document on the website.

Q. Does TUPE apply?

A. London Councils operates a Grants Scheme made under section 48 of the Local Government Act 1985. Under the Scheme London Councils operates a fixed term grants programme in which grants are awarded for a specific period in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the relevant grant-funding agreement. The grants current programme is coming to an end on 31 March 2017 and the new 2017-21 Programme will then commence.  As the programmes provide for the award of grant funding, TUPE legislation (which relates to outsourcing of services, transfer of business) does not apply.

Q. Please could you confirm that the age group is 16-24 year olds? The specification seems to indicate two different age groups: the age given in the service aim (16-24) and the target groups (18-24)?

A. It is 16-24 year olds. However, we would expect there not to be duplication with boroughs’ duties re 16-17 year olds and applications will need to demonstrate that they are supporting services users in this age group to access relevant provision.

Q. Under the outcome indicators, please could you clarify if the ‘Number with one/more protected characteristics in the 2010 Equality Act ‘ is an optional outcome (to be counted to the total of five) or will instead be required as part of the mandatory ‘N

A. The ‘Number with one/more of the protected characteristics in the 2010 Equality Act (excluding age)’ is a mandatory element of ‘the Number supported to obtain suitable safe settled accommodation’. The two elements count as one outcome.

Q. In Question 7, are we able to use experience of being London Council's funded provider?

A. Yes

Q. Do we need to attach our full Employer and Public Liability insurance documents or will the certificates showing their value suffice?

A. Certificates are fine. If successful you may be asked to show the full document.

Q. Do copies of our Memorandum & Articles or Constitution have to be signed or will copies of the most recent documents suffice?

A. These should be signed.

Q. In Question 9, London Councils asks the following: ‘How will you ensure that all staff are accountable to the governing body and what arrangements will you be making to report achievements and issues to users, funders and management bodies?’ Please cou

A. The governing body referred to is your organisations (for example your organisation’s board). Essentially we want to make sure that there is a mechanism for reporting issues both up and down the organisation and to us (and where relevant other funders). You may have more than one management body, hence why it is stated as ‘bodies’.

Q. We notice that on specification 2.4 some outcomes have a list of indicators and some don’t have any. To capture the range of specialisms, can we have more than two indicators per outcome?

A. Where it states how many outcome indicators to pick please follow that. Where there are not bullet point indicators you can chose to include a number of indicators, but no more than three.

Q. Can the lead partner receive a smaller allocation of funding than the other partners?

A. London Councils has not set a requirement on the level of funding that should be allocated to the lead partner.

However, you should ensure that you have read the sections on partnership applications on the website, guidance document and specification. There are requirements that the lead partner will need to meet, and this should be adequately resourced. The lead partner should also have sufficient capacity and experience to be able to manage the project. For example, although there may be a number of partners the project would be viewed as one project and sufficient monitoring systems run to track users as they move from one partner to another.

It is worth bearing in mind that if the lead partner  in an application is allocated quite a small proportion, it might be questioned what role the lead partner has in the project. All partners need to be eligible and be constituted to carry out activities relevant to delivering the outcomes set out in the specification. We expect the lead partner to bring something to the project in terms of delivery (rather than just project managing the project), and a lead partner that was allocated a very small proportion might bring this into question.

Q. Does London Councils fund exit costs.

A. London Councils funds outcomes and not organisations. We would not expect to fund wind down or exit costs.

Q. Can we cross-reference between questions?

A. Yes – so long as it is clear where you are cross referencing.

Q. If a lead partner is subcontracting to partners and they procure services through a further partner, would this partner need to report to the lead or the sub-contracted partner?

A. The lead partner is responsible

Q. Some of the tender questions relate to our approach/experience in each borough, given the word limits would a pan-London explanation and approach covering all boroughs be accepted?

A. We would expect brief information per borough.

Q. Do we need to have a physical presence in each borough?

A. It is not an absolute requirement to have a physical presence in each borough. However, please see the scoring matrix at the bottom of the guidance document. You will be scored against your ability to reach people in all boroughs and your ability to link into local provision. Typically applicants undertake this through having outreach/ satellite services in all or a large number of boroughs.

Q. I have forgotten my password, what should I do?

A. If you have forgotten your password please click on the link https://www.GrantRequest.com/SID_668 and then click on ‘forgot password?’.

Q. Do we need to apply under all three service specifications (Priority 1)?

A. You do not need to apply under all three specifications. Each specification is separate. If you wish to apply for more than one strand you should use a separate application form for each one.

Q. Do all partners need to be eligible?

A. Yes

Q. I can’t return to my account to see my application.

A. To return to your account (where you can access forms already started) click on:

https://www.GrantRequest.com/SID_668

Q. What do you mean by “resolved landlord/ accommodation services issues”

In terms of “resolved landlord/ accommodation services issues” these could be a number of solutions including:

  • Ensuring minimum standards for rented housing
  • Disputes over noise levels with other tenants resolved
  • Complaints over the behaviour of the landlord resolved
  • Clarity over rights and responsibilities (for example, charges for renewing a tenancy, a landlord that has responsibility for paying gas and electric bills but has not)
  • Ensuring a ‘rent book’ or receipt of rent payments is provided