Agenda item

New Combined Member Grant Scheme - Decision No 13/00088


(1)     In light of “Facing the Challenge” and the transformation agenda, there had been discussion between Cabinet Members with regards to a new combined Members Grant Scheme (MGS) for Kent. The proposal intended to ensure that demand was managed downward, that a more integrated approach was adopted; and that value for money was a primary focus given the current financial climate the authority found itself within.  The paper set out a range of principles, financial implications, benefits, risks and the next steps for implementation, which was currently scheduled for April 2014.


(2)      The proposal was to cease the four current grant schemes below, totalling £3.52m, and introduce one single Member Grant Scheme (MGS), consisting of £25k per member (£2.1m in total)


·                Member Grants                                   -           £840k

·                Local Schemes Grant                        -           £400k

·                Capital Scheme Grants                     -           £500k

·                Member Highway Fund                    -           £1,780k (after top slicing)


(3)     The new Member Grant Scheme’s budget would be £2,100,000, which was an annual saving to KCC of £1.42m.  The new Member Grant Scheme would be managed and administered through the Community Engagement Officers (CEOs), who would work with local residents and continue to support Members.  A refreshed single application process and performance management system would be implemented and it was intended that it would be predominantly based on the current online Member Highway Fund process, as well as incorporating some of the information required as part of the current Member Grants process. 


(4)     The current criteria for three of the grant schemes stipulated that projects where KCC had withdrawn funding in the past were not eligible for Member grants and given the future transformation, outsourcing and potential down-sizing of services, it was imperative that it remained for the new Member Grant Scheme.  The criteria would be refreshed and distributed in advance of the implementation date.  A menu of costed Highways project options would be developed in consultation with Members of the Cabinet Committee in early 2014.


(5)     The most obvious benefit of the proposal was an annual saving to KCC of £1.42m. The proposed new Member Grant Scheme aimed to provide a more joined up and flexible scheme for Members, with the opportunity to use funds in a way that met local community needs without being restricted on specific funding stream criteria.


(6)     The scheme would be operational from 1 April 2014. To aid the constrained timetable, it was proposed that all final applications for the existing four grant schemes were submitted before 1 March 2014, which would allow time for the old systems to be completed and ensure there was time to get new systems in place.  Once completed, a full set of criteria, a clear flow chart for the new Member Grant Scheme and a copy of the new application form would be circulated to Members and the intention was for user testing prior to implementation.


(7)     Dr Eddy moved, Mr Caller seconded the following amendment to the wording of the recommendation in the report:-


(a)     that the proposal set out in paragraph 1.4 of the paper in relation to the reduction of the Members Grant Scheme be sent to full Council on 13 February 2014 to enable an all Member consideration, debate and decision; and


(b)     that members’ ability to roll over money from one year to the following year is maintained, to fund major projects.


For – 6


Mr M Baldock, Mr R Bird, Mr L Burgess, Mr C Caller, Dr M Eddy and Mr M Whybrow


Against – 7


Mr M Angell, Mr M Balfour, Mrs S Hohler, Mr J Ozog, Mr C Simkins, Mrs P Stockell and Mr M Wickham



(8)     RESOLVED that:-


(a)     the new Member Grant Scheme as outlined in the report, be endorsed; and


(b)     any 2013/14 underspend being used to fund/part fund any adaptations that were required to the existing IT system within EHW, be supported.


For – 7


Mr M Angell, Mr M Balfour, Mrs S Hohler, Mr J Ozog, Mr C Simkins, Mrs P Stockell and Mr M Wickham


Against – 6


Mr M Baldock, Mr R Bird, Mr L Burgess, Mr C Caller, Dr M Eddy and Mr M Whybrow



(N.B. The annual saving to KCC was shown in the report as £1.32m which was incorrect and was amended in paragraphs (3) and (5) above)

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