Transition fund for community initiatives for open access children's services | Oxfordshire County Council

Transition fund for community initiatives for open access children's services

To provide pump priming grants for community solutions for open access services for 0-5 age group

What is the Transition Fund?

In February 2016 the council agreed to set aside £1m for creating a transition fund to provide pump-priming grants for establishing universal provision of children’s services in communities across Oxfordshire.

Read further details about the council’s decision.

This approach supports the council’s commitment to a new way of delivering open access services across communities. Under Oxfordshire Together we have been working with town and parish councils, voluntary sector organisations and local community groups to encourage the continuation of open access sessions such as stay and play and youth group sessions where the council can no longer provide funding for these services. Further information about this work.

How will the funding be allocated?

Any proposals for funding will need to demonstrate sustainability and the ability to self-fund in the long term. This will be a key criterion for assessing all applications. In addition match funding is strongly encouraged, and we will be asking all applicants to put together a robust business case showing how the project will self-fund in the long-term.

What are the eligibility criteria?

Funding is available for sustainable community solutions for open access children’s services. As the county council is withdrawing funding for some non-statutory children’s services, we want to see communities come forward with their proposals for open access services for children and their families, reflecting local need and priorities.

It is entirely up to each community to decide what the new arrangements might look like. In order to be eligible for transition funding, projects must meet a number of key eligibility criteria, and we require all applicants to submit a fully developed business case that demonstrates how the criteria will be met.

If you need help developing the business case, you can contact OCVA, who will be able to offer guidance, or you can consult the government’s advice on writing a business plan at: www.gov.uk/write-business-plan

To make sure you have included all the relevant information in your business case we have put together a suggested checklist:

  • Description of the project/activity
  • Needs analysis
  • Desired outcomes and beneficiaries
  • Costs
  • Sources of funding and long-term sustainability
  • Performance Measures (how results will be monitored)
  • Governance

Grant criteria

  • Sustainable solution for open access children’s services in the local community
  • Ability to self-fund in the long-term, as outlined in the business case
  • Clearly defined costs and timescales for implementation
  • Evidence of the need for the project
  • Community buy-in
  • Engagement, partnership working and collaboration
  • Projects must benefit Oxfordshire communities, be inclusive and provide good value for money
  • To what extent we can have confidence that the project will have a lasting impact, beyond the funding period.

We want to see projects which are rooted in their communities and which have grown out of a specific local need. All applicants must work closely with their local community to ensure their project is properly connected locally, responds to recognised need and does not duplicate other provision. We would also ask to see evidence of a strong buy-in from the local community, and any successful initiative would need to be accessible, inclusive and open to all.

Funding will only be awarded on a one-off basis and must be spent within a maximum of two years (depending on your business plan, it could be by end of financial year; set number of years or as per the milestones identified in the business case).

Funding can be awarded for salaries and overheads if these were part of the sustainable business plan. It is important to emphasise though that the grant will be a one-off payment so organisations need to take this into account when building their business case.

Who can apply

In order to be deemed eligible for funding, applying organisations must have a committee and/or a constitution or appropriate rules setting out aims and objectives and how the group will operate, and a *bank account. 

*Please note we will not make any payments into individuals’ bank accounts, so it is very important that your group has a bank account.

  • Not-for-profit community groups
  • Town and parish councils
  • Schools
  • Social enterprises
  • Charity organisations
  • Community associations
  • Companies limited by guarantee
  • Parent teacher associations
  • Cooperatives
  • Friendly societies
  • Youth Clubs

What we don’t fund?

Organisations

  • Individuals or sole traders
  • Profit-making organisations
  • Organisations not established in the UK
  • Organisations that give funds to other charities, individuals or other organisations
  • Groups that have previously received transition funding

Projects

  • Projects that duplicate an already existing service
  • Activities which a statutory body is responsible for
  • Activities with a religious or political purpose
  • Activities that contradict or act against any of the council’s agreed policies such as Equalities and Safer Recruitment, or fail to comply with all the other relevant statutory requirements, such as health and safety legislation

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and if you are not sure whether you are eligible for funding you should get in touch with us at: localities@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

How to apply

Application process:

  1. Completion of the Application form (doc format, 161Kb) and business case
  2. Review of bid by transition fund cross party group with recommendations to Cabinet
  3. Assessment of bid by Cabinet
  4. Decision
  5. Notification to bidders

Deadlines

There are four application rounds, with deadline dates of:

  1. 25 October 2017
  2. TBC December 2017
  3. TBC February 2018
  4. TBC March 2018

We encourage applicants to contact us early with their expressions of interest or any questions they might have, to avoid any delays in the council assessing the bids and making a decision. There is a limited amount left in this budget and early applications are encouraged to avoid disappointment

How will applications be assessed?

We will assess your application against the key criteria set out above and we may also seek feedback from community stakeholders and the local county councillors.

A cross party panel will review all applications and then make recommendations to Cabinet. The final decisions will be made by Cabinet meeting in public on 28 November 2017 (first round), 23 January 2018 (second round), 20 March 2018 (third round), 17 April 2018 (fourth round). The Cabinet will judge each application on its own merits, giving due regard to local circumstances and need.

Cabinet decisions can be called-in by the Performance Scrutiny Committee, which can decide to approve the decision, ask Cabinet to reconsider, refer it to full council for further debate, or require further information of further work to be done.

Awarding the grant

Applicants, along with their local county councillor, will be notified by email of the Cabinet’s decision within a week of the decision being made.

Successful applicants will be asked to sign a legal agreement with the council (for any grants over £5,000). Once the legal agreement is signed, we will then transfer the funding into the organisation’s bank account.

For larger grants/ where appropriate, funding might be phased depending on the outcomes achieved following the first stage of delivery.

Unsuccessful applicants will be offered feedback on their proposal and, where possible, we will work with organisations to help them identify alternative funding opportunities.

Monitoring

Successful applicants are expected to comply fully with any monitoring requests from the Council and must agree to this when signing the funding request form.

All successful applicants need to be prepared for a review of their project.

This may include:

  • Receipts recording how the money was spent
  • Reports on the activity funded
  • Feedback from individuals impacted
  • Any other record of the activity funded (e.g. promotional flyers and posters)

Successful applicants will be strongly encouraged to keep us informed about the progress of their projects. Any setbacks to the implementation of the projects should be reported to the Transition Fund Team. Delivery of the projects will be monitored in in line with the monitoring approach (pdf format, 255Kb).

Any unspent grant funding will be recovered by the county council.

Other sources of support and funding available

Last reviewed
13 October 2017
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