Benenden Parish Council - Grants Policy
The Parish Council’s legal powers to make grants Under the Local Government Act 1972, s11 the Parish Council is empowered to do anything (whether or not involving the expenditure, borrowing or lending of money or the acquisition or disposal of property or rights) which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the discharge of its functions. Therefore the council can lawfully issue grants pertaining to its statutory powers.
Grants not covered by these powers can be made instead under the Local Government Act 1972, s137. This Act empowers a local council to spend up to a prescribed amount in any one year per head of the population in the area. Such grants must be for the benefit of the inhabitants of the area or part of it. This limit is set annually by the Government using the Retail Price Index.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has confirmed that the appropriate sum for parish councils for the purposes of section 137(4)(a) of the Local Government Act 1972 for 2020-2021 is £8.32. This is the amount that results from increasing the amount of 2019-2020 (£8.12) By the percentage increase in the retail index between September 2018 and September 2019, in accordance with Schedule 12B to the 1972 Act.
The Objectives of Parish grants.
These are :
- to ensure that the Council tax payers of Benenden parish get value for money from the Parish Council.
- to assist, develop and promote local voluntary and charitable organisations and campaigns, schools and other organisations affording services or benefit to residents of the parish
- to strengthen and enrich the local community and provide opportunities for residents to benefit from education, sports, recreation, enjoyment of the environment, culture, art or history
- To benefit all sections of the community
- This policy will be kept up-to-date. To ensure this, the policy and the way it is operated will be reviewed from time to time as appropriate.
- The Clerk is to inform the Council of the Section 137 expenditure limit.
- Usually, grants will only be awarded to organisations rather than individuals. If awarded to an organisation the grant must be paid to that organisation rather than an individual. All funding must be demonstrably for the benefit of the inhabitants of Benenden Parish.
- All grant applications have to be made on a fully completed application form.
- A copy of this policy will be available to all applicants on the Parish website.
- Grant application can be made at any time. Any grant application will be determined at the next available full Parish Council meeting. Grant applicants will be informed when their application will be discussed. The Parish Council may decide to adjourn any application for consideration at a later time or to a time together with other applications or pending a request for further information.
- All grant recipients will be required to provide evidence of how the grant was spent. Recipients of grants in excess of £250 will need to provide a written report of how the grant money has been used within 12 months of receipt of the grant and will be invited to attend the next Annual Parish Meeting to discuss how the grant was used. The written report may take the form of an annual report or set of accounts which clearly identify the manner of spending. The written report must be deposited with the Clerk of the Council and hence becomes a document liable for inspection by the general public under provision of Section 228 of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
- Recipients of grants maybe asked to acknowledge Council support on stationary and promotional material.
- Grants will not be considered for projects that have already been completed.
- Extended Grants i.e. grants that run over a period of more than one year will not normally be considered. However, in exceptional circumstances the Council may consider such an application which should be supported by a business plan or a service plan in respect of the period for which the grant is being sought.
- Grants over a value of £1000 may be made in scheduled payments during the financial year.
- Grants will be limited to one per organisation per year unless there is exceptional justification for a second grant.
In addition, if the spend is over £500, the Parish Council would welcome a representative at the relevant meeting to answer any questions which may arise whilst the grant is being considered.
After the event the Parish Council requests some feedback in the form of a statement of how the money was used. Where over £2000 has been granted, this is a statutory requirement.
Guidance notes for applying for a grant
Benenden Parish Council asks that a request for a grant be submitted in writing and that as much of the following information as possible is supplied:
1. Some background to the group applying for the grant– its objectives or what it does. For larger grants, a statement of their financial affairs and/or details of previous fund-raising activities.
2. How the grant is intended to be spent and a timescale.
3. The amount required or a suggested amount if this is a contribution.
4. The benefit to the residents or businesses of Benenden. For example, if the money is requested for a group or club, how many local residents are involved.
5. The value for money or appropriateness of the grant request to the Parish Council
6. An indication of the funds held by the organisation/ reason for seeking a grant
7. After the event – some feedback in the form of a statement of how the money was used. Where over £2000 has been granted, this is a statutory requirement.