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Decision details

Grant Award - Wintercomfort

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

Members are asked to consider awarding a 18 months grant to Wintercomfort to cover the period 1.10.18 to 31.3.20

Decision:

Matter for Decision

  i.  Wintercomfort is a registered charity in Cambridge, providing a range of services to people who were homeless, formerly homeless or threatened with homelessness. The service has three constituent parts; welfare services, which are primarily designed for those sleeping rough in the city, a learning and development service and the management of two social enterprises, which aim to employ those using Wintercomfort’s services.

  ii.  The service is strategically important to both the City and County Councils and both authorities provide grant funding to Wintercomfort to deliver the welfare and learning and development services element of the operation. The current grant funding agreement is due to expire on 30th September 2018 and Members were, therefore, asked to consider proposals, contained within the Officer’s report, on future grant funding arrangements.

  iii.  A wider report on the anticipated impact of the Homelessness Reduction Act (later enacted in April 2018) went to committee in September 2017 and included recommendations on the Homelessness Prevention Grant Programme. This included a commitment to grant fund Wintercomfort until 31.3.2019. However, this runs beyond the current grant period and the Council now wants to bring both the grant period and awards process for this grant in line with financial years.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Agreed, subject to any changes that may be made as part of the budget setting process and the formal adoption of the 2019/20 budget by Council, to award a new grant agreement to Wintercomfort, initially spanning a two and a half year period from 1st October 2018 to 31st March 2021.

  ii.  Delegated authority for the Head of Housing to determine, in consultation with Legal Services, whether to enter into a joint grant agreement with the County Council to fund the Wintercomfort service or whether to enter into separate agreements.

  iii.  Agreed the principle that from 2021/22 grant applications from Wintercomfort will not be considered in isolation, but will align with the Homelessness Prevention Fund Grant application process.

 

Reason for the Decision

In forming the recommendations for this committee to consider, officers had taken into account procurement, financial and legal advice, along with the views expressed by officers at the County Council, who are considering its own grant commitment concurrently.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Head of Housing.

 

The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Discussion of points to be raised in the response to the extent to which Wintercomfort should be considered a special case.

  ii.  Noted that the County Council provided very little funding for this sort of provision.

 

The Strategic Director (Suzanne Hemingway) stated that there was a need to be open and transparent. The grants process was currently under review and the current aim was to give all services involved sufficient time to plan ahead and to participate in the process.

 

The Executive Councillor confirmed that Wintercomfort had been consulted about the changes.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

Publication date: 08/08/2018

Date of decision: 19/06/2018