Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 26th November 2009
Title of Item/Report
Voluntary Sector Support Fund (VSSF) and Community Empowerment Network (CEN) Review
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report that provided Cabinet with information on the outcomes from the review of the Voluntary Sector Support Fund and Community Empowerment Network.

The core purpose of the Voluntary Sector Support Fund was to facilitate the development of a thriving and sustainable third sector in order that voluntary and community sector organisations were well placed to access the significant amount of public service and private sector funding through commissioning and access external grants. In 2008/9 this amounted to expenditure of 11m by the Council.

The proposals in the report addressed all the main findings arising from the review and would see continued support for most of the organisations currently funded but at a reduced level (by 12% for 2010/11) in most cases, a reduction that was less than what the sector were expecting.

A time-limited additional piece of work as part of the Communications, Consultation and Engagement EIT review recommendations would be carried out in order to develop a coherent and transparent framework for future core funding decisions from 2011/12, alongside seeking financial contributions from other key public sector partners and linking with strategic sector development work which was being proposed by Catalyst.

The proposals would see continued support for the strategic infrastructure for the sector via Catalyst, support to grass roots organisations via Stockton Residents and Community Groups Association and the CEN without the need to utilise voluntary sector support funding for the latter. The financial impact on the sector for 2010/11 had been minimised whilst a more strategic and transparent framework for the allocation of VSSF was developed in 2010/11.


1. the report be noted.

2. allocations for 2010/11 be approved.

3. the approach to determining a model for future funding allocations through securing (possibly via RIEP) an independent organisation with an understanding of the Third Sector and Stockton to work with Catalyst be endorsed and a core funding commissioning framework be agreed.

4. an update be brought to a future Members Seminar.
Reasons for the Decision
To ensure the most effective use of the voluntary sector support fund in helping to develop and sustain a thriving third sector.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Councillors Mrs McCoy and Nelson each declared a personal, prejudicial interest in respect of the item entitled Voluntary Sector Support Fund and Community Empowerment Network Review as a result of their membership of the Stockton District Advice & Information Service.
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Not later than Midnight on Friday 4 December 2009

Date of Publication: 30 November 2009

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