A Guide to Ward Budgets
Ward budgets are designed to act as a catalyst to encourage resident led activities that are autonomous and self sustaining. Each ward has £10,000 to award to community projects.
- Who should receive funds from ward budgets?
- How will funds be awarded?
- What are the criteria for awarding funds from ward budgets?
- How will decisions about applications be made and when?
- The decision making process
- What rules apply to spending ward budget funds?
- Ward Budget Application Form
Local community organisations, charities, statutory bodies (e.g. the police), businesses and sole traders can receive funds, either separately or in partnership. Ward budgets cannot be used to support any kind of political activity.
A small group or individual that has a sponsor that is a constituted local organisation that is willing to administer the funds on their behalf can also apply.
Ward Councillors, working together, will be responsible for agreeing proposals to be put forward for approval for the award of funding. Wards may wish to do this in different ways and will have the flexibility to do this in the way that best suits their ward. Some suggestions are:
- Ward Councillors may wish to agree priorities, perhaps in consultation with the local community, at the start of the year and invite applications that will further that agenda (for instance, a focus on enhancing local high streets, or tackling social isolation.
- Ward Councillors may wish to maintain more flexibility and adopt a combination of seeking community groups to take forward specific initiatives, or to maintain complete flexibility to allow anyone to come forward with a proposition in line with the general aims of the ward budget.
- The frequency with which decisions are made on spending of the budget is for Ward Councillors to agree – and could be annual, quarterly or monthly, for instance. If awards are to be made at specific periods during the year, Councillors will wish to weigh up the benefits of speediness of decision making versus ensuring that the budget is not all spent within the first few months of the year.
All the Councillors in the Ward will need to agree and set out for publication how awards are made, on what timescale, and how they will ensure that the money is disbursed in accordance with the overall aims and objectives of ward budgets. Ward Members will need to make available this information before applications can be submitted or decisions about spending made.
In order to ensure that there is transparency and clarity, it is suggested that a standard template is used across wards, and this will be provided. Successful applications must:
- improve the well being of the local community in Haringey, or its environment or economy
- be one off expenditure with no expectation of future funding
- be a minimum of £1,000, for applications from external organisations. (Applications from Ward Members, such as for room hire and printing, will not be subject to a minimum) and
- be for revenue or capital expenditure.
Examples of applications that are likely to meet the criteria are:
- providing access to tools for a community garden or impacting positively on resident engagement
- providing seed or match funding for a larger scale project. For example to help fund the painting of shop frontages in a particular street.
- funding to be used to engage a particular part of the community on a specific issue.
- funding to support ongoing and regular ward or community engagement and development
Ward budgets can be used to fund joint projects between two or more wards providing each ward has identified the project as something that would benefit residents in all the participating wards.
Ward budgets cannot be used for the following purposes:
- Projects that would adversely impact the local community or environment like for example funding a parade for a socially excluded body
- Projects that would undermine council approved priorities
- To fund existing, changing or decommissioned council services
- To fund the mainstream activities of a commercial or voluntary sector organisation.
- To fund retrospective applications (eg equipment etc cannot be purchased and then an application submitted)
- Projects that are political in nature or campaign against the council or its agreed priorities or funding for lobbying
- Must not have on going revenue or capital implications
- Projects/proposals that would be unlawful for the Council to support
A named officer (currently the Assistant Director of Environmental Services and Community Safety) will have the delegated decision making authority to approve applications for money from ward budgets. Ward members will therefore make their recommendations on the spending of the budgets to the named officer. However, ward members are expected to make recommendations that meet all of the above criteria for awarding ward budgets. The named officer should then be able to agree spending without further information. The decision of the named officer will be final and is not subject to appeal. Unspent ward budgets will not be rolled forward to the following financial year.
- At the start of the year the ward members agree criteria, strategic objectives and timescales for the applications – these are published on the web
- Councillors, residents and organisations make applications
- Ward members agree which applications they recommend to be funded, on agreed cycle – these are published on the web
- A final formal decision on spend is made by the named officer
- Ward Members are notified of decisions
- Applicants are notified of decisions – successful/unsuccessful applications and spend are published on the web.
- Funding is released and projects commence
- At the end of the year, a final list of all projects and spend are published on the web, unspent funds will not be carried over to next year
Ward budget funds are public money and so the same rules apply as would apply to any other council spending. All spending is subject to the Council’s Constitution, Contract Standing Orders and Financial regulations, as well as the appropriate scrutiny and accountability.
The Council will not be putting resources into checking that projects supported by a ward budget have been delivered. There is an element of trust between the Ward Members and the applicant to ensure that the money is spent in accordance with the application. If Members believe at any point that the funds awarded have been used for different purposes than those applied for, they should notify the named officer who will make a decision on the most appropriate course of action.
Ward Councillors must consider and identify any potential conflicts of interest in relation to proposals they are supporting.
The officer delegated decisions will be published on the Council’s website in accordance with the Council’s Transparency policies. The Council’s internet site will include a section on ward budgets, and a ward by ward page.This will be pre-populated with ward profiles. It will also include:
- Information about how wards are awarded, what frequency decisions will be made on, and priorities and objectives – to be provided by ward members
- A full list of applications, and which ones have been recommended by ward councillors for funding
- Any applications rejected by the named officer (expected to be small in number)
- Information at the end of the year about how money has been spent
- Any declarations of interest from ward members in relation to budget applications
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