Decision Reference Number: WPCC3-0089
Lead Officer: Sara Ansell
Chief Officer approval: N/A
The 2023/24 Commissioner’s Grants round has been concluded, following a full and comprehensive process. The PCC has awarded a total of £525,179 (breakdown summarised in this decision notice and as part of the supporting documentation) to various community projects in Warwickshire split across the small grants scheme, road safety grants and community safety partnership priority (CSP) funding. Aside from these grants the PCC also commissions and funds various other services which are outside the scope of this decision notice.
The costs of the annual grants and partnership funded works will be met from within the 2023/24 PCC budget and the ring fenced road safety reserve, and this decision notice seeks formal approval of the allocations to the various specific organisations.
I confirm that my register of interests declaration is up to date and that none of my interests preclude me from making this decision.
Signature: Philip Seccombe
Date: 4 April 2023
1. Background information
The annual grants process operates alongside the various PCC commissioned services and partnership working initiatives and projects. This decision notice relates solely to the annual grants awarded by the PCC for 2023/24.
In 2023/24, the total budget for these grants was £510,000. The PCC has agreed with the Treasurer that based on application merit, an over allocation of awards against the budget could be permitted, of approximately 10%. This has been agreed following year on year underspending on projects by a number of partners due to a variety of reasons, and there is therefore, a strong possibility that this will happen again in 2023/24 to some extent. The over allocation of awards can be offset by this anticipated underspending in year, but if this is not forthcoming, the costs will be underwritten and financed by the PCC grants and initiatives reserve.
The proposed allocations are summarised below:
|Community Safety Partnership priority funding
|CCTV £10k per LA – one off
|Road Safety Grants
|Earmarked CSP funding pending further information
In total, 67 grant applications split across the small grants scheme, road safety grants and community safety partnership fund were received for the 2023/24 schemes. Applications for grants were varied and were spread across the five key priorities of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan 2021-25, as outlined below:
- Deliver visible and effective policing
- Fight crime and reduce re-offending
- Keep people safe and reduce harm
- Improve the justice experience
- Strengthen communities
The overarching theme for the small grants, road safety grants, and the CSP priority fund this year is prevention and diversion. These are defined as:
Prevention: targeting the causes of criminality and/or anti-social behaviour, seeking to break the generational cycle of offending to prevent it from occurring in the first place, and/or
Diversion: supporting individuals who have already begun a journey of perpetrating crime and/or anti-social behaviour, but who, armed with the right knowledge, understanding and commitment, can be diverted from this path towards a brighter future.
Counselling projects were excluded from this year’s grants schemes, and this was communicated at the outset, due to such services being provided for within the commissioned services and other direct awards, including projects which are funded through our commissioning programme and/or Ministry of Justice, Home Office grants.
The 2023/24 grants process was launched on 5th December 2022. Media releases were issued, and a grants landing page was created on the PCC website to promote and publicise the Commissioner’s grant schemes. Applicants were advised and directed to the OPCC Grants page to access application criteria, guidance notes and a recorded online briefing session to help them gain further insights and information in relation to the grant scheme.
Applications were required to be submitted from all applicants through the website and the process was met largely favourably by recipients. The application process will be reviewed again for next year, to ensure that it is both simple and easy to navigate by all users and provides for a seamless and less onerous process for the OPCC.
The deadline for grant applications was 31st January 2023.
The model and process for evaluations of the 2023/24 grant applications was reviewed this year, and a slightly different approach taken to that of previous years.
The first phase of evaluations took place between the 3 February 2023 and the 6 March 2023, utilising 6 OPCC staff, working in three teams. They reviewed applications and made recommendations based on this year’s thematic and financial criteria.
This was following in mid March by the Finance and Commissioning team undertaking qualitative and quantitative checks for all grant applications in preparation for the round table discussions, which took place later in March.
The first round table discussion was held by the senior management team at the OPCC, and the next phase included the formal decision making process and was attended by the PCC and DPCC. As part of the PCC formal grants panel meeting, the PCC and DPCC have agreed to fund a one-off £10,000 contribution to each district authority, via the CSP, to address and enhance CCTV provision in their locality. This contribution is one off and there are no plans to extend the funding beyond 2023/24.
The evaluation process included whether a project represented value for money, if there was evidence to support the need for the project in Warwickshire and if so would the project meet that need. Policies such as safeguarding, insurance and data protection were also checked, as was the financial resilience of each organisation based on their submitted previous years accounts. This due diligence was conducted in order to best ensure the safety of the public, and other volunteers and employees involved in delivering the projects, and to safeguard public money.
The grant scheme awards must comply with the Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) framework which allows the PCC under the Subsidy Control Act 2022 to award subsidies of up to £315,000 over a period, to intended grant recipients. Before awarding grants, the OPCC undertook an assessment of all subsidies to ensure successful projects meet the requirements set out in the Subsidy Control legislation. MFA notifications were issued to inform successful applications that the Commissioner intends to award them a subsidy by way of a MFA.
All successful grant recipients will be requested to provide written confirmation to the OPCC confirming that the MFA threshold specified in section 36(1) of the Act will not be exceeded by the grant recipient receiving the proposed assistance. Upon receipt of confirmation, successful organisations will then be issued with an MFA confirmation that the subsidy is given as MFA, the date on which it is given and the gross value amount of the assistance.
A full breakdown of the PCC approved project funding and how they are expected to contribute to the Police and Crime Plan is provided in the supporting documentation to this decision notice. The table includes the second year of the Independent Offender Management Coordinator (IOM) funding that was agreed for two years in 2022/23. For those bids which were not successful, information on why they were not successful has been retained as part of the evaluation process.
2. List of additional information attached as appendices
Original guidance for applicants:
- Guidance notes for Small Grants Scheme and Community Safety Partnerships Priority Fund, 2023/24
- Guidance notes for Road Safety Fund 2023/24
List of awarded grants:
3. Expected benefits
The annual grants process is comprehensive. It was openly advertised and applications were encouraged from all stakeholders including potentially new and existing grant recipients, who could identify projects that would help progress Police and Crime Plan objectives. Finance is earmarked within the OPCC annual grants budget to fund this work. Projects are robustly evaluated against an agreed set of criteria in line with the Police and Crime Plan priorities. The project outcomes and spending are performance managed throughout the year and the PCC actively engages with many of the organisations as part of this process. If the grants process was not undertaken, this could jeopardise the achievement of some of the key Police and Crime Plan priorities, and our ability to effectively work with partners would be stifled. The supporting documentation outlines some of the key benefits that have been identified as part of specific projects that funding has been approved for.
4. Impact of not approving the application
The expected benefits from the approved projects would not be achieved and Police and Crime Plan priorities and objectives would potentially remain unmet, unless other interventions were put in place.
5. Costs (including any identified savings)
The specific awards are included in the supporting documentation that accompanies this decision notice.
6. Equality considerations
All relevant policies apply.
7. Legal comments
All legal advice effecting the grants process has been followed.
8. Social or Environmental considerations
A number of the projects supported through the grants scheme, are aimed at improving social issues by addressing police and crime plan priorities.
Information in this form is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act) and other legislation. Unless the information provided is covered by an exemption and stated to be either confidential or partly confidential, the information contained in the form will be published on the OPCC website.
Comments from the Treasurer
The costs of these grant awards can be met from within the 2023/24 PCC budget. Payments of grants will be subject to due diligence checks at the OPCC, and terms and conditions for each of the awards will be issued and require agreement by grant recipients, for the approved projects, prior to payments being made. The terms and conditions include a requirement that any unspent funding is to be returned at year end and the performance and outputs from projects will be monitored during the course of the year to ensure that they meet the agreed outcomes and priorities in the Police and Crime Plan.
Road Safety grants will be funded from the ringfenced road safety reserve as approved in the PCC’s annual budget. Some of this budget has been allocated to the commissioning of an independent road victims advocate service form September 2023, and the grant therefore only covers this service provision until that point. The road safety grants will also be performance managed against the outcomes and any underspending will be recovered if it arises at year end. The same due diligence checks and requirement to agree to the terms and conditions of the grant will be required as for small grants.
Comments from the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer
The supporting information details the thorough process that has taken place to ensure the grants meet the Commissioner’s priorities identified in the Police and Crime Plan. Funding has been identified and award documentation prepared to ensure that the process runs smoothly, and that value for money and outcome information is obtained.