Agenda item

To enable the Committee to scrutinise the Council’s grant funding with its external partners and submit any comments as appropriate to the Cabinet.


At Cabinet’s meeting on 10 November 2023, (minute 48 referred) the Leader of the Council had confirmed that external funding matters within the Cabinet’s initial Budget proposals for 2024/25 would be scrutinised by the Community Leadership Overview & Scrutiny Committee.


The Committee had before  it in attendance the Leader of the Council, supported by the Assistant Director of Finance and IT, plus the Portfolio Holder for Partnerships, supported by the Assistant Director of Partnerships and the Head of Health and Community.


Members were provided with a report (agenda item 5, appendix A) that was to be submitted to Cabinet on 16 February 2024. This report was to meet the recommendation within the Cabinet report in respect of the creation of a subsidy scheme for the purposes of direct grant funding for Citizens Advice Tendring which had been submitted  to Cabinet on 21 July 2023. One of the recommendations arising from that July meeting was that a review of grant funding across the Council be  carried out and a report following  that review considering the options available during 2023/24 then be presented to Cabinet in readiness for 2024/25.


Members heard that the Council allocated a significant amount of funding across the voluntary and community sector, either from external provision such as from Government, for example, the Shared Prosperity Fund, and from internal resources such as for the Tendring Community Fund. At the time of the meeting funding was allocated individually by services within the criteria of any funding received but could potentially be subject to a more joined up approach. The existing governance across services included, in many cases, the criteria for applying, an application form and approval routes, which included Member sign off. Consideration could be given to developing governance criteria to help ensure funding allocation was based on a sound process, was transparent and allowed for decision making at an appropriate level. Although specific aims could be set for allocating funding, for example, in line with the Corporate Plan, care needed to be taken to ensure sufficient flexibility that allowed for funding to be allocated in relation to need. A general policy could also be considered which set the giving of grants in context, for example, by highlighting the underpinning principles, eligibility etc. Within the allocation of funding reference needed to be made to the Subsidy Control Act 2022 to ensure all allocations were legally compliant.


A series of written questions had been previously compiled by the Committee and put to the Portfolio Holders.  The Portfolio Holders’ responses had been provided in writing and circulated to the Committee prior to the commencement of the meeting.  The Minutes of this meeting record those questions and responses below. Further supplementary questions were asked of Cabinet Members and responses provided and they are also recorded below.


Councillor Doyle, with the aim of transparency, informed the meeting that she worked with a local hospice and also worked with the Compassionate Communities organisation.




Portfolio Holder/Officer

Member of Committee




Cllr G Placey






Cllr Doyle

Do we monitor the spending of grants we give out, to make sure they are used correctly?




































Do we carry out financial risk assessments on organisations that are successful in being awarded a grant?




















The draft policy at Appendix A2 doesn’t appear to reference guidance to aid people in applying for grants, can this be included?

The monitoring of grant allocation is undertaken. For example, the health inequalities funding provided by the Integrated Care Board includes ongoing liaison with the organisations to ensure  utilisation of  the funding along with the provision of reports highlighting the work being undertaken.  Specific evaluation of  projects will also be undertaken


Officers undertake monitoring of Tendring Community Fund grants by keeping in regular communication with grant recipients to understand how their funded work is progressing and by requiring impact reports to be completed and returned. These reports ask for details on how the funding has been spent, any issues or delays that have arisen, resident feedback and photographs of the projects where appropriate. Officers also collect information about any underspend of funding.



Steps are taken to determine the financial position of organisations that are successful; for example with the Tendring Community Fund application, particularly with larger grant amounts, the application form asks the applicant to confirm that they have the appropriate governing documents, that they have a bank account with two unrelated signatories and that they could provide a copy of their annual accounts or a budget forecast for the coming year if requested. The cross party working group that allocated this fund also adds the local knowledge element



Guidance could be provided to assist those applying for grants and can be included in the final grants policy.





Head of Health and Community

Cllr Doyle

Supplementary Question



When would the Grants Policy be in place?






No timescale in place.

Cllr G Placey





Cllr Griffiths

Would it be possible to building into the structure of TDC that Portfolio Holders are responsible for the grants that come out under their remit, that a sub committee is formed, that meets once every six months or so, that then goes through the grants, somewhat similar to the licencing committee.


Can we have someone in to explain the Subsidy Control Act 2022? Ref page 25.

We will take the suggestion back and look at appropriate mechanisms for ensuring that, in so far as is possible, there are common good practices and procedures applied to grant giving by the Council.







The Subsidy Control Act 2022 seeks to regulate the provision of subsidies.  Provision of grant funding may constitute a subsidy if it is provided to an enterprise which provides them with an economic advantage so that other similar enterprises could not access the funding.


Four criteria are used to determine if allocation of funding is a subsidy and these are a) is funding from a public authority, b) does it provide an economic advantage to an enterprise (an organisation offering goods and services on the market) c) is the funding provided to specific beneficiaries and d) does it have an effect on competition or investment.


Allocation of funding must be in accordance with the Act although there is the opportunity to develop a Subsidy Control Scheme which will permit the allocation of funding to a specific beneficiary if it is in line with the scheme which would amongst other things include reference to the policies and aims of the funder.


If there is an open call for funding allocations so different organisations can bid or if a procurement process is used then funding is unlikely to be regarded as a subsidy.





Head of Health and Community

















Deputy Chief Executive







Head of Health and Community.

Cllr Griffiths

Supplementary Question


Can you further explain the Subsidiary Control Act and its relationship with the Jaywick Sunspots development?





















If Government changes grant criteria, would it change current grants?






The Subsidiary Control outlines 4 criteria for compliance:


A local Authority provides the funding.


That the funding is not conferring financial advantage to an entity.


That the funding is given to specific requests.


Will the funding have adverse effect on competition?


In terms of the Sunspots there was an open call for potential tenants. Government Guidance stipulated that an “open call” was considered “not conferring an advantage”.


Not really, once money is granted and or allocated that is the end of it, i.e. it is a one off.

Cllr G Placey





Cllr Steady

When applicants make their submission, do we scrutinise their financial situation? Do we check if they have applied for/received other grants from us or partner organisations under the same or similar schemes?

The Tendring Community Fund application form asks the applicant to confirm that they have the appropriate governing documents, that they have a bank account with two unrelated signatories and that they could provide a copy of their annual accounts or a budget forecast for the coming year if requested. Evidence of these being in place may be required before an application is approved and this will depend on the level of funding applied for.

Applicants are asked in the TCF application form to provide details of any other grants they have been successful with as well as any they have applied for and are waiting to hear about. Officers will determine the levels of funding an organisation has recently received for other projects by consulting with grant givers internally at TDC, such as for the Shared Prosperity Fund, as well as externally with CVS Tendring and the Health Alliance’s domain funding for example. These steps ensure officers would be aware of any risks of funding duplication for the same project before a grant is awarded.






Head of Health and Community













Portfolio Holder Partnerships




Cllr M Stephenson

Cllr Steady

Supplementary Question




Is there any alternative to a Grants Policy?



What is the purpose of the Policy?





Will there be a review of external funding?










Will there be any change to the level of funding?









Continue informally with no Grant Policy.



Consolidation of different approaches across the Council, it will strengthen governance and transparency.


This is difficult, Grant Policy will channel external funding through its criteria.


Policy will need to link into TDC Corporate Strategy but also need to be flexible to react to emergencies.


We can’t say if TDC will get any more external funding. Subsidiary Control has made TDC focus on the way it gives out grants and review to who and why and for how long. Maybe the Committee (CLOSC) could take ownership of the production of the Grants Policy? e.g. via a Task and Finish Group.




Head of Health and Community

Cllr Oxley

Supplementary Question


I have concerns about the complexity of the forms, will they be reviewed?



They do need to be accessible to all and reactive to the criteria that comes forward.




After an in-depth discussion it was moved by Councillor Steady, seconded by Councillor Ferguson and unanimously RESOLVED that: 


(a)  a Grants Task & Finish Working party be set up; and


(b)  the Head of Democratic Services & Elections, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee, be authorised to decide the Working Party’s terms of reference (including its size and composition).


In relation to resolution (a), it was decided that the terms of reference of the Task and Finish Group should be:-


Terms of Reference


·         the production of a Grants Funding Policy;

·         examination of ‘funding overlaps’ within the Council;

·         exploring mechanisms for providing Member overview to keep track of external funding within TDC’s systems; any issues around those funds; and how TDC can get in more external funding and particularly to ensure that TDC does not ‘miss out’ through ignorance of the existence of external ‘funding pots’.



Supporting documents: