Community Engagement Fund

Closed 31 Dec 2015

Opened 26 Nov 2015

Feedback Updated 6 Jul 2016

We Asked

We posed a number of questions about maximising the accessibility, relevance and impact of our new Community Engagment Fund.

You Said

You responded in general agreement with our approach, while making comments regarding improving the accessibility and impact of the fund.

We Did

Responses consultation were taken into account when we opened the fund to applications, assessed proposals and awarded support, ensure greater positive social impact.

Overview

Leicester City Council is creating this new fund with the purpose of engaging Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations as active partners in strengthening our response to the Public Sector Equality Duty.

The Public Sector Equality Duty requires the City Council (in exercising our functions) to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not; and
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

 

These are the "general aims" of the Public Sector Equality Duty as defined in the Equality Act 2010.

 

A different approach to community engagement

For many years, the City Council supported several city-based VCS organisations to deliver a bundle of services, including:

  • providing a two-way channel of communication with specific communities;
  • developing the economic, educational and employment potential within these communities;
  • addressing issues threatening peaceful coexistence of communities;
  • tackling inequalities and disparity of outcomes affecting particular communities; and
  • maximising the contribution of communities to the city in general.

 

Under these arrangements, preferential treatment was given to organisations working for, with or on behalf of particular communities. While these arrangements may have been appropriate at the time they were established, the demographic nature of Leicester has changed significantly since then. Some communities have become securely established here while continuing to receive funding from the City Council, while others, more recently emerged on the local scene or less secure, have received little or no support. Times have changed and the character, mood and reputation of the city have changed with them. Leicester today expresses its diversity in more ways than just race and faith. The city now embraces, reflects and welcomes a greater variety of people, families, groups and communities than ever before.

Rather than contract with various VCS organisations for certain services related to particular communities, the City Council will offer support for activities, initiatives and projects that promote one or more of the general aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty (as described above).

This new Community Engagement Fund will be open to applications from VCS organisations identifying with one or more of the protected characteristics defined in the Equality Act 2010. By this, we mean VCS organisations whose main area of work is one or more of the following:

  • age;
  • disability;
  • gender reassignment;
  • marriage and civil partnership;
  • pregnancy and maternity;
  • race;
  • religion or belief;
  • sex;
  • sexual orientation.

 

It is our hope and intention that this fund should:

  • be accessible to more communities, groups and organisations;
  • support a wider range of activities, initiatives and projects;
  • allow more flexible funding arrangements with a wider range of VCS organisations;
  • focus on agreed outcomes from the start, thereby creating more visible impacts;
  • encourage new or existing organisations working with established and/or emerging communities;
  • require a lighter-touch application process all round;
  • facilitate innovative and responsive proposals within communities;
  • address areas of perceived and evidenced need in various communities;
  • focus on outcomes in particular parts of the city rather than be obliged to go city-wide;
  • enable quick actions that can be measured, reproduced and mainstreamed.

 

The total amount available through this fund will not normally exceed £100,000 per annum.

The maximum amount for which any organisation (or partnership of organisations) may apply will not normally exceed £25,000 per annum.

The maximum length of time for any activity, initiative or project supported by this fund will not normally exceed 18-24 months.

Applications will be limited to one per organisation or partnership. If an organisation enters a bid on its own, then it should not also enter a bid as a member of a partnership (and vice versa).

As a way of encouraging a wider variety of applications, the City Council intends to make this fund available in different tiers:

  • up to £10,000 (which may suit newer organisations or smaller projects, with a less demanding application process and a lighter touch in terms of reporting);
  • between £10,000 and £25,000 (which may suit more established organisations or larger projects).

 

What this fund will (and won't) do

Applications from appropriate organisations should fit one or more of these outcomes and should meet a genuine need that is not being met by other service providers (whether VCS or Public Sector).

The fund will provide short- to medium-term support for VCS organisations:

  • Proposing to deliver activities, initiatives or projects consistent with the  purpose of the fund;
  • Looking to establish themselves as organisations whose activities are consistent with the purpose of this fund;
  • Expanding or developing in order to extend their contribution towards the purpose of this fund (which could include a contribution towards capital projects and investments).

 

However the City Council is clear that the fund cannot be seen as a means of providing core ongoing revenue funding and thereby creating a dependency for the organisation in terms of its sustainability.

The Community Engagement Fund will not be available for certain outcomes or for use in the following ways:

  • It cannot be treated as an ongoing source of income for any organisation;
  • It should not constitute more than 50% of the core revenue funding of any organisation;
  • It will not provide retrospective funding for projects already underway or completed;
  • It must not be used for any purposes that involve or promote gambling, or that can be construed as political or discriminatory in any way.

 

Criteria for application

Applicants must state clearly how their proposal contributes to one or more of the general aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty (as described above).

Applicants should be able to demonstrate that they are a fit and proper organisation to deliver their proposal, e.g.

  • Must identify publicly with one or more of the protected characteristics described in the Equality Act 2010 (i.e. age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation) and be working to promote, consolidate or extend positive impact in relation to one or more of these;
  • Should demonstrate appropriate understanding and affiliation with communities in Leicester;
  • Must be a duly constituted legal entity commensurate with the level of funding requested (e.g. Company Limited by Guarantee; Registered Charity; Community Interest Company; or Charitable Incorporated Organisation);
  • Must have in place sound governance and operational structures (or, in the case of new organisations, an outline of what will be in place);
  • Must have in place appropriate policies and practices for trustees, employees, volunteers, client groups and service users regarding accessibility, equality, health and safety and safeguarding;
  • Must be able to evidence that performance of the organisation has not given cause for concern to past or present beneficiaries of their services;
  • Must not have had funding curtailed, withdrawn or clawed back due to poor delivery;
  • Can prove they have capacity to deliver their proposals;
  • Should (ideally) be based in Leicester or Leicestershire and deliver outcomes for the residents of the city;
  • Should be willing and able to partner with an appropriate city-based VCS organisation if the main applicant is not based in Leicester or Leicestershire (including national organisations);
  • Should be willing to consider sharing location, premises or space with other organisations where possible;
  • Should be willing to explore digital, virtual and social media solutions in the context of their application;
  • Should be willing and able to collaborate with organisations sharing a common interest;
  • Should be willing to work with Voluntary Action LeicesterShire throughout the period of any agreement, to become more sustainable and ultimately independent of City Council support.

 

Why We Are Consulting

Following an in in-depth review of how the City Council works with the city's Voluntary and Community Sector to support engagement with communities, the City Mayor has made an Executive Decision to establish this new Community Engagement Fund. This decision will:

  • promote the City Council's leadership and vision for the development of Leicester, our commitment to building a city where there is shared purpose and civic responsibility and to supporting and facilitating a vibrant Voluntary and Community Sector in Leicester;
  • refresh and renew the City Council's relations with the Voluntary and Community Sector;
  • offer flexible support which can respond to new challenges and opportunities faced by the City Council and the communities of Leicester.

 

This public consultation is seeking your input on practical ways to implement the new Community Engagement Fund.

 

How you can get involved

The public consultation lasts five weeks: 26 November to 31 December 2015. As well as taking part in this online survey, you are welcome to attend either of the public briefings that will be held in City Hall, Monday 14 and Wednesday 16 December.

Communities, groups and organisations with questions regarding this new fund should contact George M Ballentyne, VCS Engagement Manager at Leicester City Council. Email george.ballentyne@leicester.gov.uk; phone 0116 454 4146.

 

What Happens Next

Please note that this is a tentative timetable. Dates and activities may vary.

26 Nov - 31 Dec 2015

Public consultation (online survey; public briefings).

 

4 Jan - 15 Jan 2016

Analysis and correlation of responses to public consultation

 

Feb / Mar 2016

Online application process

 

Mar 2016

Assessment of applications; awarding funds.

 

Apr 2016

Launch of succesful activities, initiatives and projects.

Events

Areas

  • Abbey
  • Aylestone
  • Beaumont Leys
  • Belgrave
  • Braunstone Park & Rowley Fields
  • Castle
  • Evington
  • Eyres Monsell
  • Fosse
  • Humberstone & Hamilton
  • Knighton
  • Rushey Mead
  • Saffron
  • Spinney Hills
  • Stoneygate
  • Thurncourt
  • Westcotes

Audiences

  • All residents

Interests

  • Community cohesion