Consultation meeting with Sir Steve Bullock

London Councils consultation on its grants programme from 2013-14

In mid-February London Funders organised an opportunity for independent funders to meet Sir Steve Bullock, Chair of London Councils Grants Committee, to talk about the implications of further reductions in London Councils’ grants programme and how a London-wide, strategic overview of VCS funding can be maintained. 

In the context of the funding changes for local authorities foloowing the 2010 election, it proved impossible to sustain the London Borough Grants Scheme at its existing level. The focus from now on will be on how to use the much reduced funding to maximum effect in terms of joint priorities as well to have regard for good process both in the transition and funding from April 2013. In its consultation, London Councils asked for comments on all areas of current funding and recommendations on prioritising between them.

London Councils’ core principles are to fund work that addresses London Councils’ agreed priorities; is best supported across borough boundaries; and needs collective action. The priorities up to this point have been of two different kinds:

1 Infrastructure support and capacity-building for service providers, and voice and representation services – offered as London-wide provision.

2 Pan-London services where the mobility of clients is key to delivery and services that are particularly specialist.

In addition, poverty, as a key London issue has mainly been addressed through employment related services funded through the European Social Fund. This should continue though at a much reduced level.

Other funders investing in London’s VCS are encouraging London Councils to treat the reduction in their funding as an opportunity to rethink the programme in the light of the current tough environment. How could more intelligent commissioning stretch the value of funds available? There was discussion about regional strategic priorities, London-wide services and defining and supporting VCS capacity-building – and on each of these funders expressed themselves willing to join in London Councils’ thinking and offer their experience. Any funder wanting to register interest or see notes from the meeting should contact gaynor@londonfunders.org.uk.