Council to tighten up rules around grant funding for local groups
councillors in Burnham-On-Sea want clearer rules put in place
around how grants are given to local groups in a bid to increase
accountability and reduce duplication of some costs.
20 event organisers attended a meeting in Burnham's Town Council
Chambers on Monday evening, as pictured, where Cllr David Hogarth
explained that a number of proposed changes are necessary.
said: "The council has limited finances and we don't have
an unstoppable flow of money. The amount given in grants may well
be reduced in future and we need to think about how we use financial
resources to best advantage. Lots of groups come to us wanting
money, but we may not continue to be able to help them all."
Phil Harvey explained that while the Town Council has a budget
of around £40,000 a year to help local groups with capital
and events grants, that figure may be reduced as Sedgemoor District
Council reduces its revenue support funding.
Hogarth went on to say that he's "amazed at the lack of accountability
around Town Council grants to local groups - in fact I have been
absolutely stunned. There is no auditing to check that funding
goes to where it should - we just say here's the money, get on
with it. That isn't right when it's tax payers' money and we need
far greater accountability in place."
Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton said: "We definitely don't just
give grants and turn a blind eye. We ask for audited accounts
and to see the group's constitution. When large grants are given
to groups like Project Coach, we ask them for regular updates
on progress and financial statements."
Cllr Phil Harvey conceded: "We are not so good as a council
at checking that the money has been spent how it should be, and
that can change."
council therefore wants to see local groups give measures of success
when they apply for grants so that when funding is awarded, the
council can clearly see if the benefits have been delivered.
council is also also keen to see groups working closer together
to pool resources and plan events together rather than going separate
council is seeking earlier sight of advance requests for funding
from local groups at the start of the calendar year so that it
can better plan its distribution of funding.
the council wants the standard of grant applications and presentations
to be improved - it says that it will put clearer rules in place
to encourage this.
council also wants to see better sharing of resources used by
local groups and events to avoid repeat financial requests for
the same items.
group is to meet again early in 2016 and proposals will be put
before the full town council.