Equity Diversity Interdependence
Promoting a Peaceful and Fair
Society based on Reconciliation
and Mutual Trust.
26 February 2009
26th February 2009
Meeting: 10.30am Thursday 26th February 2009
Venue: Community Relations Council Offices, Belfast
Present: Brendan Mackin (Chairperson), Helen Johnston, Tony O’Callaghan, Breege Lenihan, Eileen Gallagher, William Redpath (OFMDFM), Cormac Woods (DCGRA),
In attendance: Border Action: Denis Leamy, Paddy McGinn, Colette Nulty, Paul Skinnader
Community Relations Council: Duncan Morrow Jim Dennison, Jacqueline Irwin, Emma Jackson (Minutes)
SEUPB: Adrian McNamee
DFP: Martin Tyrell
Apologies: David Stevens, Jim Deery
Jim Deery and David Stevens.
2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
3. Matters Arising
4. Strand 1: Addressing Legacy and Truth in Public Memory
Two draft guidance papers for the roll out of this Strand were considered by the Committee
Paper 1: Storytelling and Archiving
The following key points were highlighted:
· €4m would be allocated to a limited no. of larger scale projects, with €1m being reserved for smaller grants at a later date.
· These larger scale projects should be of international quality in a number of identified areas of activity and work throughout the entire eligible area.
· Large organisations with an in-depth understanding of the conflict who: can implement a bottom up approach; have previous experience; can undertake collaborative work, and; compliment or build on existing work would be desirable.
· Funding would be 100% grant aided.
The Steering Committee approved the paper and the timescale recommended for its implementation. It was recommended that staff try to keep the application process similar for both elements of storytelling and archiving.
Paper 2: Broadcasting
The following key points were highlighted:
· The objective of this element was to collect and broadcast as wide a range as possible of the experiences and communities of the conflict.
· Proposals must demonstrate the ability to broadcast to large audiences during the life of the project.
It was agreed to change the wording of the Objective to omit “stories” to the following:
“To collect and broadcast, as wide a range as possible, of the experiences of individuals and communities of the conflict in N Ireland and the Border Counties”
The Steering Committee discussed the proposal in detail, making a no. of points and requesting a number of clarifications and actions:
· Clarification re. the eligibility of profit-making organisations is required
· Should profits generated by the project be put back into the project
· Copyright issue – who “owns” the project. Need for this to be clear from the outset in order to avoid legislative issues down the line
· Funding to these groups can be 100% (75% EU, 25% Member State) or a percentage – if funding is 100% the Consortium have a stronger claim over the profits.
· Advised to take note and reference from the Channel 4 project under Peace II and create a legal template
· Should profits incurred after the project, e.g. through DVD sales, be repaid in community funds?
· Issue of ownership – Peace III funds do not own the product – commercially it belongs to the project, its production and distribution are (part) funded by Peace III and therefore must be labelled as such – but does this give right to claim profits?
· The Consortium is interested in the audience which is targeted during the project (this is the objective of the Strand) we should not be concerned if (for eg.) after the project a film is sold on as a DVD.
· Could cost of e.g. a DVD be capped/set in a sub-condition of grant aid to avoid grievances arsing if Schools/ Community Groups were charged a premium rate. Parallels could be drawn from the Peace II funded Channel 4 project and Open University practice.
The Committee requested that the Managing Authority consider these issues and advise on the legal issues raised, and in particular, copyright/ownership issues, match-funding requirements and how any profits both during the life-time of the project and therafter should be dealt with.
The Committee advised that the broadcasting element should be discussed again the next Steering Committee meeting.
5. Strand 2: Support for Participation
5.1 Update on Progress
· Strand 2 closed on 30th January 2009 with a total of 53 bids.
· Around €20m has been requested with approx $5m committed across 14 approved applications which are at Pre Contract Check stage.
· Of the outstanding applications it is likely that less than half could be funded.
· Seven applications have requested in excess of €500,000 – the Economic Appraisal threshold.
5.2 Steering Committee Response
It was hoped that all applications could be turned around by early May, subject to EA’s being completed in time. Given that the budget was not deemed to be a limiting factor in relation to the applications outstanding, it was agreed that any applications which are assessed in time should be brought to the April meeting. This should include the 7 requiring EA in an effort to expedite the EA appraisal process. It was noted however that the 16 week timeframe must be kept in mind during the process and projects assessed accordingly.
6. Strand 3: Securing the Future
6.1 Update on Progress
· 28 applications have been approved with 13 LOOs having been returned.
· A number of requests have been submitted for advance payments.
· As an Interim measure, it was suggested that the Consortium may accept manual claims as the SEUPB database is not functioning yet for claims.
6.2 Steering Committee Response
· The community/voluntary sectors generally do not have reserves and advances are necessary.
· Committee advised that bureaucratic obstacles should not be put in the way of groups seeking to claim.
· The guidance for dealing with advance payments is now in place. The need needs to be presented by the project. There are significant checks that need to be undertaken to justify that an advance is required. The Consortium itself is responsible for the approval of requests.
· It was noted that based on forecasts provided there would be no funds available for payment by the Central Payments Unit until April.
· Advances are required to ensure spend begins and N+2 targets are reached.
· It was questioned as to who was responsible for any bad debts resulting from advance payments. SEUPB confirmed that procedures operated under Peace II had not changed in this regard. If the Consortium adheres to the guidance on advances there could be no liability for any such bad debts. As currently the case bad debts will be considered on a case by case basis. Adrian offered to circulate UK Treasury advice in this regard.
7. Update on Future Calls for Strands 2 and 3
It was reported that the Consortium had presented a paper to SEUPB and DFP proposing to amalgamate Strands 2 and 3 and to reopen to application asap. targeting gaps identified. A proportion of the available funds would be reserved and added to decommittals to be allocated in a final call in 2010 to ensure continuity of work into 2013. However, it had been agreed to defer any decision on this until after applications under consideration have been assessed.
It was noted by the committee that allocations currently stood as follows:
Strand 1 €10m (potentially); Strand 2 €6m (allocated) and €10m (potentially); Strand 3 €15m (allocated). Therefore €40m of the €50 allocated to this measure could be potentially allocated leaving €10m going forward for reallocation/reopening of Strands.
The options and timing for reopening and/or amalgamating the Strands were further discussed.
· The effect on N+2 targets. It was noted that allocations at this stage would have limited impact if any on the 2009 N+2 target. In addition the significant level of application and allocation to date should ensure we are well ahead of subsequent N+2 annual targets.
· The risk that at this point we do not know exactly how much will be available for reallocation (applications are still to be assessed and there could be significant decommittals from projects already approved) therefore the projected figures could change.
· Some groups will be disappointed if the reopening date is not until 2010. Particularly those previously rejected, and who had attempted to address the deficiencies in a revised application on the understanding that Strand 3 was reopening. Other groups that had not applied yet, but were working up their application on the understanding from the Consortium that the Strand was reopening. This could therefore be a missed opportunity for the Consortium to fund more worthy groups and for the groups to secure funding to carry out their projects in a timely manner.
· If reopening is held off until 2010 it will allow performances to be noted and de-committals taken from groups who are not achieving their targets – these groups can be noted and this taken into account if they apply for further/extension funding from the excess available.
· If de-committals are likely reopening sooner rather than later would be advantageous – this could be on the form of a short, tight open call.
· The fact that no money is actually available until all current applications are assessed and funded should be kept in mind.
It was agreed that the Consortium staff should prepare an options Paper on reopening for the April/May meeting taking on board the comments made and the up to date situation with regard to available funds and potential decommital.
The Managing Authority (SEUPB) raised the issue of meeting N+2 for 2009 and options being considered. It was reported that the Programme Level target had recently been revised to €19.8m is to be spent by December 2009.
The target for Theme 1.2 is now €5m, and the projected expenditure is €4m, which leaves a gap for this measure of 1 million. To bridge this gap the SEUPB asked the Steering Committee to consider bringing OFMDFM Interim Funding into this theme of the Peace III Programme. It was outlined that there were currently 20 groups in receipt of gap funding to a value of £1m for the period of September 2008 to February 2009. It was suggested that this expenditure could be eligible under Theme 1.2 for those groups that subsequently applied to the Theme and were successful.
While acknowledging the N+2 pressures and the obligations therein, it was suggested that it would be helpful to present the N+2 target for each theme of the Peace III Programme as a percentage of the allocation to that theme for comparison and acknowledgment of the different contributions been made to the overall target.
The consortium raised a number of queries and concerns regarding the possible retrospective inclusion of the interim funding. These primaryly included:
· The precedent that this might set for other applicants who have incurred spend in retaining staff and resources prior to having applications submitted and assessed to other Strands and calls for applications
· The fundamental eligibility of the activities funded in the gap period needs to be agreed, and the verification of this expenditure in line with EU regulations needs to be undertaken before it could be included in the LOO
· Who is responsible for future audit queries that may arise in relation to the eligibility of this expenditure?
It was noted that an early resolution to this matter needed to be made as these groups were continuing to incur expenditure. It was agreed that the parent bodies of the Consortium, the Community Relations Council and Pobal needed to agree to any proposal to ensure they were protected against any future liabilities. In particular, the Accounting Officer’s in both organisations requested assurances of the regularity of this proposal.
The SEUPB undertook to work out with the Accountable Departments the technicalities and mechanics of this proposal and discuss further with the parent bodies.
9. Dates of Future Meetings
· Next meeting - Friday April 3rd 2009 at 10.30am in Dungannon.
· Friday May 8th 10.30am Monaghan
· Thursday June 4th Belfast
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