Pride in Breckland (Agenda Item 8)
Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.
The Community Development Manager presented the report which sought approval to increase the establishment by one full time equivalent (FTE) to appoint a Pride Officer.
The Pride Board wanted to reinvigorate the Pride project and had proposed that a dedicated officer be appointed using funding accumulated from the Second Homes Council Tax Grant which had to be used for community engagement.
The Pride Board had a large amount in its reserve which could not be used as revenue for the Council. The Pride Officer would focus on Health & Wellbeing linking in with other projects in the district, such as the Master Gardener Project which was already underway.
Councillor Borrett asked who sat on the Pride Board and was advised that it was made up of representatives from the Police, Fire & Rescue, Public Health, Area Partnerships and various community groups, together with the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council.
The Deputy Leader & Executive Member for Community & Environmental Services said they had tried to make it as all-encompassing as possible and had recently invited new people to sit on the Board which was completely independent. She supported the views of the Board.
Councillor Bambridge thought it would be useful if a back-bench Member could sit on the Board to provide a different perspective. He endorsed the Board and said that lots of little organisations could be helped by small grants but they were afraid to apply.
Membership had been discussed at the last Board and new people had been invited to replace those that had failed to participate. The grant application process had also been discussed and the form had been refreshed to make it easier. It was also planned to hold another round of Participatory Budgeting.
Councillor Williams noted that most of the money had gone to the bigger towns during the last round of Participatory Budgeting and he was advised that it would be done differently as lessons had been learned.
Councillor Steward said it was up to Ward Representatives to make their areas aware that funding was available. She was more concerned that the money was put to the right use and hoped that the Pride Officer post would be able to ensure that it was.
Councillor Williams asked about the processes and procedures used by the Board. He felt it was extremely important that the public could see how decisions on grant applications were made. He was advised that the Policies and Procedures were all on the Council’s website. Grant applications were scored by the Group and those which received enough points were awarded a grant. Each area or group represented on the Board had one vote. If the application was for their area or by their group they did not participate in the voting. The application form made clear the criteria that needed to be met.
The Deputy Leader & Executive Member for Community & Environmental Services advised that she could sign off grants up to £5,000 that had been approved by the Board. Larger grants went to Cabinet for sign off.
Councillor Borrett asked if grant applications needed the support of the local Ward Member and it was confirmed that they did. The first question on the application form asked if the Ward Member had been informed. If that question was not answered or the Ward Member had not been made aware the application was returned.
RESOLVED that an increase to the establishment by 1 FTE and the creation of a Pride in Breckland Officer post, on a 2 year fixed term contract, funded by the Second Homes Council Tax Grant received from Norfolk County Council for community related projects, be approved.