Update 19th September: Glasgow Communities Fund – Call for Applications. The new fund is now open for applications for funding for up to 3 years. Deadline for applications is 20th October.
Glasgow Equality Forum’s Manager Lorraine Barrie provides an update on the development of Glasgow City Council’s New Grants Fund, and outlines the expectations and concerns of equality groups in the City.
Glasgow City Council’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022 sets out a commitment to “Review how we fund third sector and community groups to reflect a partnership approach and simplifying procedures”. Glasgow Equality Forum has been working closely with Glasgow City Council to ensure that the views of equality groups are at the heart of any new proposals. We submitted a policy paper to Glasgow City Council earlier in the year detailing our members’ expectations and concerns, and we are involved in contributing to the Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) of the new funding proposals.
On 29th August, Glasgow City Council City Administration Committee will decide whether to approve the proposed aims of the new fund, the proposed budget of £20m per annum for the next 3 financial years and approve the proposed budget allocation methodology. The paper was continued from June’s meeting to address councillors’ questions.
Glasgow Equality Forum’s members look forward to working closely with GCC to ensure the new fund best serves people with protected characteristics and equality groups in the city. The following is a summary of our members’ views:
- City-wide v localities
The proposed new fund intends to change the proportion of funding allocated between city wide and local sectors. We are aware that further clarification of the process will be detailed in the papers going to Committee and we welcome this. Organisations carrying out equalities work are more likely to be funded currently from the City-wide fund, and our members seek reassurances that any change to the allocated proportions would not adversely impact upon this work.
We suggest that third sector infrastructure organisations and umbrella groups be supported as part of the fund, including equalities infrastructure groups (on the basis that they demonstrate need as required within the application process).
- Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)
The EQIA of the process must be robust, transparent and co-produced. We suggest that the application form draft should be circulated around GTSIN partners for final comment before it is finalised.
- Capacity building
We welcome Glasgow City Council’s decision to allocate funding to allow capacity building for groups who have not accessed Council funding before. We consider the biggest barrier will be the tight time constraints which allow very limited time for groups to obtain training. This may impact on the ability of community and equality groups run by volunteers to apply.
We echo Glasgow Third Sector Interface Network’s (GTSIN) call for a 6 week period to allow applicants to obtain support and complete their applications.
Paragraph 1C6 of the Third Sector Concordat Action Plan states GCC will “co-produce the development of the new Grant Programme” with the third sector. Going forward, we would like to see co-production threaded through every aspect of the new fund, including devising the application process and monitoring and development of the fund. Given this is a new piece of work that is hugely important for the third sector, this area is one where co-production can be bedded in most effectively and demonstrate results.
- Application process
We welcome the Council’s intention to have equality and human rights embedded in this process as a priority.
We suggest that application forms include questions in the style of a mini-EQIA so that information can be lifted by GCC and monitored. Crucially, projects must then report on how they have met equalities needs in their communities and how they are moving forward. This neatly fits in with the human rights legislative requirement of demonstrating “progressive realisation of rights”. GEF members would like to be involved in drafting a range of questions about equality and human rights, such as:
- What are the specific needs in local community/ area you work in?
- Demonstrate understanding about local community needs, for example are there a higher proportions of BME communities or disabled people within your area?
- How will you improve access to your service to equality groups?
- Which equality groups are under-using your services at present and how will you go about improving this?
- How representative is your Board/staff of the local community?
- Has your Board/staff received training on equality and human rights best practice?
At a national level, the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) have recommended to the Scottish Government that all groups applying to them for funding should have to make a statement on the diversity of representation within their board, and include details of how they will aim to address under-representation. A similar approach could be taken here.
- Full cost recovery
We welcome the council’s commitment to enabling ‘full-cost recovery’ for grants made under the New Grants Fund. We echo GTSIN’s call for three year grants to increase over the period to enable the organisations to pay cost of living wage increases, and agree that it should be a condition of grant that organisations will pay staff at least the Living Wage.
- Longer term aims
We welcome the Council’s aim to grant 3-5 year funding, which is a massive improvement on year on year funding. If the application incorporates equalities questions as suggested above, these answers can be reported on to establish a baseline and then evaluated to show longitudinal improvements.
Longer term objectives for the new fund could include further embedding co-production, phasing out rental costs for City Property premises for third sector to reduce rental costs, moving towards co-location of services where that is appropriate, improved data collection, equalities disaggregation and mapping of services, better recording and publicising of outcomes achieved and more clarity about how other community planning partners are supporting the third sector, particularly what is being funded by GCC Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP).
You can find out all the details about the fund here: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/grants2020
If you would like to apply to the fund but wish to find out more about capacity building or training opportunities, please contact email@example.com and I will endeavour to signpost you to organisations that can meet your needs.
Glasgow Equality Forum Manager
Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights
8 John Street
0141 418 6535