Present: Ms Libby Keys, Mr Michael Wardlow, Ms Eileen Gallagher, Mr Barney Devine
Apologies: Dr David Stevens, Ms Jane Leonard, Ms Maura Muldoon
Staff: Dr Duncan Morrow (Chair), Ms Jacqueline Irwin, Ms Micháela Mackin, Mr Paul Jordan, Ms Alison Keenan, Ms Marianne Laird
Where are we now?
Ms Keenan gave a brief presentation on the purpose of the Core Funding Programme and the current budget, criteria and contract for the programme.
Committee discussed the paper provided on the current geographical mapping of organisations supported by CFP and their main area of CR activity.
Discussion ensued regarding the current budget and what we should be allocating the money for – innovation or sustainability?
Committee discussed the importance of the lobbying and advocacy role of CRC to help lever more funds for CR work. Other possible funding providers/partners were discussed. Our communication strategy is important to support and use policy as leverage for further support.
The above was seen as important particularly in relation to how we can assist government departments meet their triennial plans.
It was suggested that focus needed to be taken off money/funding and onto the work that was required ie CRC/CFP should establish what we want to do and how much funding is required to do it.
We need to establish what our long term vision is and to present CRC's funding portfolio as short, medium and long term interventions and argue for the need for a long term, strategic fund
What is clear is that there is a need for a long term strategic fund for the Council and ASF work needs to be resourced by Government. Government need to prioritise finance around the achievement of the goals relating to ASF.
Committee discussed the identification (and prioritisation) of key partners.
It was suggested that there is less value for money in terms of the social and political objectives in a smaller fund/portfolio. CRC has partners to underpin the strategy on the ground so finance should be prioritised around this goal.
It was suggested that 'transition work' needs to be undertaken in order to build capacity within departments to manage CR groups
Committee discussed the possibility of identifying themes for work under ASF – thematic development – groups could apply to deliver under certain themes/areas we require work to be carried out.
CRC and groups might look for alternative funding streams – semi-statutory body support.
It is not healthy to be the sole funder for any one group
There is a need to develop service level agreements or strategic partnerships. Members queried whether SLA arrangements might stifle innovation and discussed the difficulties of such a relationship – maintaining critical distance
It was pointed out the CRC approaches run counter culture to government mechanisms to provide funding.
Where do we want to be?
Committee discussed the following planning assumptions:
1. No growth in CFP budget and no obvious external capacity
No additional funding – concentrate funding on a smaller number of key groups (this would still need to be tested with Government particularly in light of ASF).
Transition to smaller number of groups presents significant problems particularly in the context of Peace funding ending.
Longer CF cycle than the present 3 year cycle might be valuable for some groups – SLA would need careful thought – one-size-fits-all approach will not work for all.
9 areas and a thematic approach
Fund 10 'best' groups
Best outcomes/best groups. Possibly merge some groups together - best groups can join up and get support for each other
£1.3m must deliver best possible outcomes so work can continue
What does 'strategic' mean?
2. No growth in CFP budget and capacity
Government departments should take responsibility for some themes (measurable) :
Cultural diversity – DCAL
Training – DEL
Youth and education – Ded
Community development – DSD
Local – district councils
a) Co-working with Depts
b) Establishment of minimum thresholds
c) Champions – CRU, External Appointments
d) Top-down, sticks and carrots
It was noted that this could present considerable difficulties and suggestion was made of establishing the levers of change within government departments or the use of secondments from the community and voluntary sectors.
Regular level of interaction between CRC and departments (measurable)
CRC to provide a training/mentoring and support role for Government departments, particularly in relation to development support.
Need to reflect upon what CRC wants to keep and not give up – what doesn't fit into department themes?
Need to consider the groups that don't fit easily into departments but need long term funding?
We need discussion around the work that requires to be done across themes/sectors and to invite groups to bid/tender – CRC to stage the themes e.g. 3 per year which identify three priority themes for the Council.
We need consideration on how we do this without disadvantaging groups coming to the end of the funding cycle. Possibly phasing themes in over the next 3 years and make groups aware of changes throughout their contracts.
Strategic Funding Partnership Arrangements or Service Level Agreements? A collaborative funding arrangement where CRC doesn't lose flexibility would be best. CRC could fund 75% of what the group needs and the group finds other funder(s) to make up the rest. Groups can apply for project funding from other sources e.g. small grant scheme.
The goal is for work to become outcome focused but not prescriptive
There is a need to ensure that we get the right information from groups re: monitoring and evaluation.
There is a need to review grant award criteria.
Equality issues – how do we make this equal to everyone particularly in a context of negotiating contracts
3. Growth in CFP budget
Some of the issues outlined above require consideration including reviewing grant award criteria.
We need to consider where the work is going/long term strategies regardless of the amount of funding in the pot.
We also need to integrate some of the current portfolio into other mainstream provision.
We need to support capacity building in local areas that has a multiplier effect.
There are issues relating to:
Reach – beyond geography
Groups that don't fit in easily to single sectors.
Need for Council to lobby for additional funding support for the CFP.
CEO needs to meet with CRU to discuss Review of CFP (2nd draft). Important to use this document as a reflection upon what has happened in the past and a basis to identify the way forward for the Programme.
CIC to have an extraordinary meeting in January to discuss CFP Review with CRU.
Requirement for an update with options/possible ways forward from today's meeting to be presented to the January meeting to fully brief others not present.
Programme to have change in place or be in transition by 2006/2007 round of funding
Ms Keenan informed committee that 13/14 renewal applications have been submitted and asked them to advise on whether to assess these on the same basis as last year – committee agreed that she should.
Date of next meetings:
15 December 2005 @ 10am – 4pm @ CRC's Dungannon Office (to discuss renewal applications and research award applications)
19th January 2006 10am – 2pm @ CRC's Dungannon Office (extraordinary meeting to continue today's discussion and evaluation of CFP)
17th February 2006 10am – 4pm @ CRC's Belfast Office (full discussion of all eligible applications to CFP)