The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 To seek Members consideration of a citywide pre-policy position in relation to the programming of new transferring open space assets to inform future policy positions on how to effectively programme those assets in partnership with the stakeholders and communities.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
- Agree the proposed citywide pre-policy position for programming new transferring open space assets using the approach detailed in the report; and
- Agree the maximum budget of £15K per asset, up to a maximum of £45K per annum for animation and programming;
- Note this pre-policy position and budget is only proposed until a formal policy position is developed and agreed by Council on the management of community based assets.
3.0 Main report
3.1 Members will be aware our assets play a significant role in supporting meaningful outcomes for individuals, families and communities at a local level, in particular the role our community based assets have played throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
3.2 Members will also be aware through a range of central government grants (Building Successful Communities, Urban Villages etc.) and private funds like The Heritage Lottery, Council has secured significant amounts of capital investment in our community based assets and has taken ownership of strategically important community based assets previously owned by DfC, DfI, NIHE, etc.
3.3 Officers recognise the importance of developing a more coherent policy approach to how Council assets are used to support meaningful outcomes for communities, particularly taking in to account the rich partnership arrangements we have in place with a number of community and voluntary partners who play significant roles in managing and positively programming our assets across the city.
3.4 However, it is also recognised the development of a future policy position will take time, particularly given our strong commitments to co-design and the genuine participation of communities in our work but that operational pressures in relation to COVID-19 may also delay the commencement of this work.
3.5 Taking all of the above in to account, however, there remains a number of new community based assets and investments transferring to Council as a result of external funding in 21/22 and 22/23. Experience has demonstrated the importance of ensuring those spaces are animated and programmed from day one. This ensures they are well used by local people to reduce the anti-social behaviour and vandalism, but many of these assets and investments are coming on board without additional external revenue funding to support animation and programming.
Proposed Pre-Policy Position
3.6 Given all of the above, the following is proposed as the citywide pre-policy position in relation to new open space assets coming in to the ownership/responsibility of Council and/or where significant investments are being made to enhance existing Council assets.
1) That every new community based asset or significant investment in an existing community based asset would require an initial one year animation plan
2) Where existing external revenue funding is available, that should be used to support the animation plan
3) Where existing external revenue funding is not available, Council agrees a maximum one year animation budget of £15K per site from within existing revenue budgets.
3.7 Key Elements of the Animation Action Plan Process
· Develop a local stakeholder group, with agreed terms of reference to support the development of an action plan to animate the space for the first year following the opening of new asset;
· Work with the local community and elected members to develop an action plan to include elements that can be delivered by the community, Council Officers and other statutory partners;
· Assign a maximum revenue budget of up to £15,000 per year for each site, but with a focus on bringing forward partner match funding;
· The financial management of the action plan will be managed by Council officers within the agree financial and procurement policies of the Council;
· Council officers will work closely with the local stakeholder group in a collaborative way to ensure there is joint ownership to deliver the plan;
· Work is undertaken throughout to ensure the animation and programming can be mainstreamed into normal Council service after one year.
3.8 Financial Implications
Based on timelines for assets coming on board, the expected budget for this is estimated at approximately £30,000 for 2021/2022, which can be met within existing revenue budgets.
None at present, this will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.”
The Committee adopted the recommendations.