Community Funding now aligned to Council’s strategies

Press Release – Palmerston North City Council

Earlier this year a new Community Funding Policy was adopted by Palmerston North City Council in a bid to align the Council’s funding of community groups with Council strategies.2 November 2012

Community Funding now aligned to Council’s strategies

Earlier this year a new Community Funding Policy was adopted by Palmerston North City Council in a bid to align the Council’s funding of community groups with Council strategies.

Community groups seeking ratepayer support will need to demonstrate how their activities align to aspirations set out in the Arts, Active Recreation, Events & Festivals and Social strategies.

Mayor Jono Naylor says the strategies were developed by Council with input from the community groups affected, ratepayers and the wider community.

“Last year ratepayers contributed $1.2million to 41 community groups. If we as a city are to achieve our aspirations then we need to start putting our words into action – That is what this new policy does.”

Community development manager Cathy McCartney says “community groups will need to show how the services they provide will really make a difference to communities in the City. For some it may be beneficial to partner up with other groups in a bid to deliver outcomes in line with Council’s strategies.”

Reporting requirements have also changed. At most, groups receiving substantive amounts of funding will be required to provide quarterly reports. The level and types of reporting will be agreed as part of the contractual arrangement.

Cathy McCartney says the funding spread across the sectors is based on existing funding breakdowns.

In a bid for greater clarity of the financial support Council provides to community groups, rates remissions are being phased out. “Support for groups will eventually be through the new processes. Council wants to make access to this ratepayer subsidy more transparent and contestable. Groups receiving rental subsidies will need to acknowledge receipt of the subsidy in annual accounts and acknowledge the support provided by Council.”

“We’ve been talking with community groups about the changes through a series of meetings, letters and emails and Council staff are on hand to answer any questions on 356 8199.”

The first funding round subject to the new conditions starts tomorrow, 1 November and closes on 7 December.

Questions and answers

What is the level of funding available?
The budget has not changed. The total grants and fees for service previously paid out to organisations will continue to be paid out. In the past grants and fees-for-service have varied from $3,000 to $75,000 per annum in the sports/arts/social/environmental category. It is anticipated that future funding levels will be similar to these however; they will not be necessarily constrained to these levels or funded fully up to these levels. Programmes will be judged on merit and against each other. Council also reserves the right to negotiate with organisations where programmes are identified as having merit but Council wishes the scale to be larger or smaller.

What’s happened to rates remissions?
Council has decided that rates remissions funding should be part of the contestable funding. As a result, groups that currently receive rates remissions will be gradually transitioned into the new community funding process. Affected organisations will shortly receive a letter outlining this change process. Current rates remissions will carry through until the end of this financial year. Following that a similar application process will occur and successful applicants will be paid a grant for the amount in order for them to pay their rates in the 13/14 financial year. During that year council officers will work with applicants as they transition to the full community funding process at the start of the 14/15 financial year.

Previously Council adjusted the grants amounts made to existing recipients by inflation each year, will it continue to do that?
We are asking for organisations to submit their costs to deliver. If they believe their costs will increase due to inflation they should be costing their work appropriately.

What will the Council fund?
The Council has determined its community funding outcomes and a copy of these can be found with the guidelines.

How will the allocation decisions be made and by who?
Council officers will make the funding decisions. The decisions will be based on the assessment criteria outlined in the funding guidelines. An organisation may fit the criteria for funding however decisions will be effected by budget constraints.

Who will be eligible for funding?
Funding will be open to any not for profit organisations that support the Council to deliver its strategic outcomes.

By when do proposals need to be submitted?
Hard copies of proposals need to be delivered to the Council by 4pm on 7 December 2012. Decisions will be made during the week commencing 10 December 2012.

Will these contracts be for three years?
The funding agreements will be for up to three years. However, consideration will be given to shorter timeframes where it is more appropriate. This may be dependent on the delivery of a specific projects’ outcomes being met.

Will Council fund one-off projects?
If the project meets the Council’s strategic outcomes and can be clearly demonstrate a positive effect on an on-going basis.

How often will we need to report progress?
Accountability requirements will be dependent on the amount of funding received, the expected outcomes and the level of risk that the project carries. At most groups receiving substantive amounts of funding will be required to provide quarterly reports as well as audited accounts. The level and types of reporting will be agreed as part of the contractual arrangement. Groups receiving rental subsidies will need to at least acknowledge this in their annual accounts and acknowledge the support provided by the Council. On-going engagement and regular engagement with council staff will form part of the contractual arrangement.

Can our organisation be funded for more than one outcome?
Proposals can be for multiple outcomes, although a clear demonstration on how the proposed service will contribute to the Council’s strategic outcomes, the applicant’s ability to deliver activities that demonstrably meet the outcomes and how these will be measured are essential components of the assessment process.

Is other external funding essential?
The Council will require evidence that your organisation is able to deliver the services outlined in your proposal and has on-going long term viability.

Can organisations make joint submissions?
Yes. The Council is seeking to maximise the resources available across the community sector where groups with common interests and goals are working effectively together.

Can I sub-contract?
Council will consider this based on the proposals submitted.

Is there an appeal process?
There is no appeal process. All applicants are able to enquire about the basis of the decision and obtain feedback.

What happens when a conflict of interest is identified?
The Council’s Conflict of Interest Policy will apply and all staff members involved will need to comply with this policy.

ENDS

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