Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Tiverton
Contact: Julia Stuckey Member Services Officer
Link: audio recording
Apologies and Substitute Members
To receive any apologies for absence and notices of appointment of substitute Members (if any).
Apologies were received from Councillor Mrs E M Andrews, Councillor Miss C L Slade and from Councillor F W Letch, who was substituted by Councillor N A Way.
Public Question Time
To receive any questions relating to items on the Agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Note: A maximum of 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
Referring to item 5 on the agenda Mr A Pilgrim informed the Group that he took exception to the funding for the canal being considered as payment to an external agency and that the canal was imbedded in the psyche of our communities, beneficial to Mid Devon District Council and geographically very important to Mid Devon. Mid Devon District Council proposed completely removing funding over the next couple of years, this was unhelpful, the canal was an economical and far reaching facility, with all people able to dip into a free at point of use facility. The total budget for the canal compared to the cost of leisure services was economical and leisure centres did not have such a broad catchment area. Mr Pilgrim stated that he was opposed to the cut, that the County Council could not top it up and the impact assessment suggested that in a very few years the canal would decline in its ability to provide a service. He said that it would be a disservice to the community if cuts were made, to mental and health benefits. Many people took solace from using the canal; it was one of the best in the country and provided wide ranging benefits.
Mr R Gould, referring to item 5 on the agenda stated that he was opposed overall to the proposals to cut grants, he stated that this was meant to be a Community Well Being Policy Group but it was not a development to cut grants, nor was it good for wellbeing. He pointed out the impact assessment matrix within the report. He informed the Group that the payment in respect of the canal was never a grant, it went back to 1971 when Tiverton Borough was a partnership with Devon County Council, and Mid Devon had gradually reduced support over time. He stated that all of the agencies being cut were necessary and that the intended reduction of grants next year almost depleted the whole purpose of the committee.
Mr M Lucas, referring to item 5 on the agenda stated that he had lived in the area for 33 years and had been involved with the canal for 28 years. This was a tourist attraction which brought in many, many tourists. He said that he met people along the canal that had travelled from all over the country. The cuts proposed meant it was time to turn round and say enough is enough to central government. He urged that the council not cut this grant, destroying something that has been worked hard on for 25 years by everyone. The facilities were enjoyed by one and all and something to behold. He asked that the Group please look at the amount being taken away, people love the canal, we should love the canal, it is a hard task to make but the canal brings people into this area and helps prosperity in this part of the world.
Referring to item 5 on the agenda, Mr M ... view the full minutes text for item 37.
Minutes of the Previous Meeting
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the last meeting (attached).
The Minutes of the last meeting of the Group were approved as a correct record and SIGNED by the Chairman.
To receive any announcements that the Chairman may wish to make.
The Chairman, referring to comments made by Mr Gould in public question time, explained to those in attendance that the Group looked at more than just grants and had a full agenda of other items throughout the year.
The Chairman informed those in attendance that any recommendation made today would go forward to the Cabinet meeting scheduled for 19th November 2015.
To receive a report from the Grants and Funding Officer seeking Member approval for the level of grant awards to external organisations for 2016/17.
The Group had before it a report * from the Grants and Funding Officer seeking Member approval for the level of grant awards to external organisations for 2016/17.
The Head of Communities and Governance outlined the contents of the report, explaining that the authority had paid grants for a number of years and that in 2011 there had been 25 organisations that received grants totalling £250K. In 2012/13 a fundamental review of the grants process was undertaken and this prioritised the recipients into three groups, high priority, medium priority and low priority. Those of low priority received a tapered reduction in their grants to the end of 2014/15. At this time Members also agreed to allocate £32K to a seed fund so that organisations could put in bids for projects. Since then the Authority had worked with organisations to help them become more self-sufficient. The Grants and Funding Officer had brought in a considerable level of funding to the District over the last few years.
Last year a reduction of £20k was made to the grant budget and remaining funds in the Seed Fund were allocated.
In accordance with the process previously agreed by the Group organisations were asked to submit annual accounts, which formed appendix 4 of the report, along with an impact assessment. Each organisation had been/were being given the opportunity to come along to a meeting of the Group to explain what they did and how the grant was spent.
The Officer went on to remind the Group that it was a reality that cuts had to be made and that it was not possible to fund community grants at the same level as in the past. A balanced budget had to be set by the authority and grants were discretionary and not a statutory service.
Referring to appendix 1 of the report the Officer worked through the list of recommended grant allocations for 2016/17, highlighting the following areas:
· Records submitted indicated that the Blackdown Support Group showed a profit and healthy reserve;
· The Citizens Advice Bureau had dealt with a lower number of queries in the last year than in previous years and the council itself was providing advice from Moneywise;
· Detailed financial information provided by the Crediton Arts Centre showed a healthy turnover, a profit of £40k and a healthy reserve;
· Sunnymead Community Association generated a substantial income and had healthy reserves;
· Grants payable to the Tiverton Museum and Tourist Information Service had been set for a three year period and were now in their final year of protection.
Discussion took place regarding:
· The overall budget for both discretionary and statutory services;
· The need to look at income and reserves within financial information provided by the organisations;
· The percentage of cuts to some organisations being higher than others;
· The need to maintain a presence in Crediton;
· The need to make savings in order to set a balanced budget;
· £100k that had been pledged towards the repair ... view the full minutes text for item 40.
Identification of Items for the Next Meeting
Note: This item is limited to 10 minutes. There should be no discussion on the items raised.
Anti-Social Behaviour stats
Performance and Risk
Grant Recipient Presentation
Anti-Social Behaviour Stats
Performance and Risk
Grant Recipient Presentation
Update from the Grant Working Group