Equity Diversity Interdependence
Promoting a Peaceful and Fair
Society based on Reconciliation
and Mutual Trust.
22 June 2004
MINUTES OF THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL ON 22 JUNE 2004 AT CRC OFFICES, 6 MURRAY STREET, BELFAST
Eamonn Deane (Chair), Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Maria Miskelly, Dr David Stevens, Colin Neilands, Colin Craig.
Maggie Bryson, Pauline Morgan (Observer - CRU), Paul Smith, Patricia Armstrong and Libby Smit (Staff Members)
03 IN ATTENDANCE:
Jim Dennison, Claudine Walls, Vanessa McCrory, Eileen Deacon
04 GENERAL BUSINESS
Meeting commenced at 11.00
Members were welcomed and apologies noted.
Minutes of previous meeting were checked for accuracy and agreed by Members.
05 MATTERS ARISING
06 BRIEFING REPORT
No applications were received for the 'Events and Reporting Co-ordinator' position. The application form and job specification was re-drafted to focus upon the tasks of report writing and the dissemination of key findings, and the position was re-advertised on the 10th and 11th June. Two of the six seminars may go ahead without a staff member in post. The first event is scheduled to take place in Sept 04.
Of the £1.4 million which must be distributed to funded projects in 2004, we have processed just over half that figure. Effectively this means the programme is approximately two months ahead of its spend targets and on course to achieve the SEUPB's 'N+2 2004' target.
Additional Grant Aid
A meeting was held with SEUPB representatives re: a bid for additional funding. Staff were informed that reallocations between Measures will now not take place and further grant aid will not be made available.
There are still a number of groups who are not achieving the aims and objectives of funded activity. Staff are currently working with these groups. Although most projects are progressing well, there are limited number which are experiencing difficulties. Instances of this have been limited - 8 projects of the 62 funded - but it still remains a concern. Staff will be working on assessments of these projects to ascertain the likelihood of them being able to continue or whether a refocusing of aims/objectives is appropriate at this time. CRC are planning to facilitate an independent evaluation of funded activity. It is hoped that this will take place later in the year.
07 RESEARCH APPLCIATIONS
DE BORDA INSTITUTE – MATRIX VOTE RESEARCH PROJECT – 03/0527/011607
Members discussed this application and reviewed all materials which had been submitted in relation to it. Members agreed that, on the basis of the information provided, Measure 2.1 assistance could not be made available. Members based their decision on the low score given against the reconciliation criteria. Committee thought that the application was not research based but focused more on the production of a CD Rom resource.
PUBLIC ACHIEVMENT – 03/0525/011607
Members discussed this application and reviewed all materials which had been submitted in relation to it. Members agreed that, on the basis of the information provided, Measure 2.1 assistance could be made available in principle subject to receipt of additional information. Committee requested that the applicants clarify in more detail what they intend to do, and to demonstrate the community relations- specific nature of the research.
Programme staff have identified a number of projects which currently have large underspends (in excess of £10k). Below is a list of funded projects incurring under expenditure.
LIGONIEL IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION/BALLYSIILLAN COMMUNITY FORUM -
Members were given a synopsis of the reasons why certain underspends have occurred and how these could be addressed. Ligoniel Improvement Association/Ballysillan Community Forum did not provide the requested documentation required to ascertain how the underspend and project activity could be refocused. Committee discussed the proposal and agreed to withdraw c£35k. Committee also recommended that to ensure that project activity was progressing, a number of progression points should be identified and met on a monthly basis. Committee reserve the right to withdraw further money unless the agreed aims and objectives are met.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY – 02/0087/006787
Members were given a synopsis of the reasons why certain underspend have occurred and how these could be addressed. Committee discussed the recommendation and agreed that, pending receipt of a written proposal which satisfactorily documents how the underspend could be addressed, permission be given to reconfigure the emphasis of project activity and the budget headings accordingly.
ARDOYNE FOCUS GROUP – 02/0282/006834
ASHTON COMMUNITY TRUST – 02/0223/008155
CLIFTONVILLE COMMUNITY REGENERATION FORUM – 02/0235/008166
LOWER NORTH BELFAST COMMUNITY COUNCIL – 02/0202/001471
Members were given a synopsis of the reasons why underspends for the projects (listed above) have occurred and how these could be addressed. The Committee requested that the Director of the EU Programme and CEO meet with the groups concerned to outline CRC's position and request that all relevant documentation ie forward plans, budget configuration be provided. Committee recommended that grant aid be clawed back if requested documentation is not received or if it is inadequate, inappropriate, does not evidence value-for-money and does not offer practical peace-building opportunities. Committee also recommended that timescales for completion of the above be imposed on the projects.
THE CORRYMEELA COMMUNTIY – 02/0054/001304
Dr David Stevens declared a conflict of interest and left the meeting.
Members were given a synopsis of the reasons why underspends have occurred and how these could be addressed. Committee were concerned about the fact that the group are trying to undertake 2 ½ years work within a one year timeframe. The Committee requested that EU Programme staff meet with project staff to discuss the issues of budget requirements, future project work and to attempt to determine what is feasible. Committee reserve the right to withdraw any unspent grant aid.
OLD LIBRARY TRUST – 02/0199/007903
TOWARDS UNDERSTANDING AND HEALING – 02/0213/007575
Eamonn Deane declared a conflict of interest and left the meeting.
Members were given a synopsis of the reasons why underspends have occurred and how these could be addressed. Members discussed the proposed weekend residential. Committee expressed concerns about the rationale and methodology of the conference, the learning component and how the target audience/proposed list of attendees was selected. The Committee felt that they should focus on victims groups, and on the possibility of the Conference generating revenue. Committee asked that staff meet with the applicants to ask for a clearer methodology and additional information. A budget readjustment of £20k was agreed, pending a satisfactory outcome from the meeting with the applicants.
Due to the reallocations of grant aid, staff recommended that redistribution of grand aid be provided to the following groups:
THINKBUCKET – 01/0307/001824
Colin Craig declared a conflict of interest and left the meeting.
Members discussed the redistribution of funding and agreed in principle to extend the Thinkbucket project by one year and uplift the award offer by between £30k-£40k (amount to be agreed). Committee approved the extension with the proviso that project reports and an agreeable forward plan for future activity be submitted and agreed that the extension will enhance and develop previous project activity and the impact is has made.
MEDIATION NORTHERN IRELAND – 02/0226/008148
Members discussed the redistribution of funding and agreed in principle to extend the Mediation Northern Ireland contract by one year but took the decision to wait until the first year of project activity had been completed and the progress and impact of the work undertaken within the first year be analysed before making a decision on the amount.
10 ANY OTHER BUSINEESS
UNIIVERSTIY OF ULSTER – DR WILLAMSON 03/0435/19832
Committee discussed the research award offer agreed in principle for Dr Williamson and agreed to uplift the offer to £98k. Committee recognised that the £80k agreed in principle was in sufficient and would mean the project could not be undertaken.
YOUTH ACTION – 02/0055/002210 - Reallocation of Grant Aid Request
Committee discussed the reallocation request and expressed concerns that the proposal to rent additional space within the Ebrington Centre for use as a drop-in was simply to take account of budget underspends. Committee agreed to the reallocation request on a 3 month trial basis and requested that the numbers using the drop-in be monitored so that the long-term viability of the space could be established.
INCORE – 01/0389/004621 – Reallocation of Grant Aid Request
Committee discussed the reallocation request and agree with staff recommendations. Group to be advised that their request to uplift the salaries of Measure 2:1 funded staff in line with the 7% uplift awarded by the University of Ulster was not possible as it would be in breach of the Measure 2:1 salary cap. Committee advised that the group should consider other options for using the underspend.
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