Decision details

Decision details

Review of Community Grants Programme

Decision Maker: City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019)

Decision status: Recommendations approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


This report is a merge of two proposed reports from the July Forward Plan: the Review of Community Grants Programme and progress on the Commissioned Advice Strategy 2018-2021.


To review and request approval for an approach to expand our ‘offer’ to the three year Community and Voluntary Sector grant programme from April 2018; and to update the Board on the progress made in developing a new Commissioned Advice Strategy during 2017/18


The Head of Community Services had submitted a report which to update the City Executive Board on the review of the grants and commissioning programme and to propose how it can be further improved.


Councillor Brown, Board Member for Customer and Corporate Services  repeated the key point that the overall resource available for advice centres would increase under the proposals as given. Councillor Sinclair, Board Member for Culture and Communities said the activities funded by the grants were invaluable and that the Council was committed to seeing that the money available was spent in the best possible way and in line with the Council’s objectives. It was essential that the Council and voluntary sector worked closely together to achieve that.


The Acting Communities Manager,drew attention to the proposal to move to a three year funding programme for both the commissioning and open bidding grants programme which would help with sustainability and long term security for community and voluntary organisations. 


The Programme Manager for Revenue & Benefits, speaking about the proposed development fund for Advice and Money Management,  said that the intention was to enable easy access to it. Officers would work closely with advice centres with the intention of giving them ownership of the fund. Importantly the fund would facilitate implementation of the recommendations from Advice UK.


Councillor Rowley, Board Member for Housing, remarked on the strength and value of the City’s advice centres, based as they are in areas of deprivation.  Looking to the future, the best outcome would be for them to work collaboratively, to provide good quality advice across the city and, in doing so, derive some economies of scale. Conversely, the worst outcome would be if one centre bid successfully for the majority of the pot.


Councillor Tanner, Board Member for a Clean & Green Oxford,  said that the advice centres should be given sufficient time to adapt to the new regime; the anticipated start of which in April did not give a great deal of time to address some practical issues.


The Board agreed with the recommendations subject to the addition of an additional one to require that there should be early discussion of the process of allocating the development fund referred to above.


The City Executive Board resolved to:

1.    Approve the commissioning funding themes and enter into three year funding agreements with community and voluntary organisations through the commissioning programme from April 2018 (subject to a three year budget being approved by Council);


2.    Agree that the Community and Voluntary Sector Infrastructure and  Inclusive Arts and Culture commissioning themes are put out to open bidding from April 2018 and April 2019 respectively as outlined in paragraphs 20 – 29;


3.    Agree that the Advice and Money Management commissioning theme  retains a similar approach to strategic grant funding as now, but with the creation of a service development fund of £44,918 per annum as set out paragraph 35;


4.    Approve a three year funding programme for the open bidding grants programme from April 2018 (subject to a three year budget being approved by Council);


5.    Approve the proposals listed in the report at paragraph 46; and


6.      Agree that officers should arrange early discussions with advice centres about the new arrangements for their funding.

Report author: Julia Tomkins

Publication date: 01/12/2017

Date of decision: 21/11/2017

Decided at meeting: 21/11/2017 - City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019)

Accompanying Documents: