Equality Impact Assessment

Name of the proposal : Adult Services Grants to Voluntary and Community Organisations 2012-13

Department : Adult Services

Name of lead officer : Linzi Gow

Publication date: 17/02/2012

Review date: 30/03/2013

Departmental Manager Approval by : Richard Ellis

Departmental Manager Approval date : 13/02/2012

 

 

Main purpose and aims of the policy, plan or project

Adult Services awards grants to Voluntary and Community Organisations if the projects, services and activities meet the aims and objectives, priorities and policies of the Department. This EIA refers to the main Adult Services grant programme 2012/13; grant aid to support the development of a User Led Organisation 2012/15, support to people infected with or affected by HIV 2012/13, funding to hospices to support carers 2012/13and support to people with learning disabilities and their carers 2012/13.

The purpose of this EIA is to consider whether changes to Adult Services grant funding in 2012/13 will have an impact on the voluntary sector organisations receiving funding. In 2012/13 there has been no reduction in the programme budget and the recommendations regarding grant awards in 2012/13 are expected to have minimal impact on voluntary and community organisations.

Adult Services Main Grant Programme 2012/13

There is a proposed increase to the main adult services grant programme in 2012/13.

The Adult Services department maintains an annual grants programme. Grants are awarded to voluntary and community groups who apply for funding to the authority. The principle purpose of the grants programme is to support these organisations in activity that contributes to Corporate priorities and priorities of the Adult Services department. In order for organisations to qualify for consideration for grant funding they must first meet the following criteria:

The proposed service or activity must support one or more of the Corporate priorities, i.e. Hampshire Safer and More Secure for All, Maximising Wellbeing and Enhancing our Quality of Place;

The proposed service or activity must support Adult Services Priorities, in particular Personalisation;

The services, projects or activities are for people living in Hampshire;

The organisation has a clear management structure within its constitution; and

Where appropriate, depending on the grant sum requested, the organisation shall have adequate insurance in place and relevant policies and procedures, in particular Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities and Safeguarding Adults which includes obtaining checks carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau.

Organisations will not normally be eligible for grants where they hold unallocated reserves in excess of one year's running costs, or where it is judged that these reserves are unreasonably in excess of what is required or not allocated for legitimate purposes. Those organisations receiving recurring funding which hold unallocated reserves in excess of three months' running costs may receive a reduced grant. The Adult Services Grant Programme has adopted the Charity Commission's reserves policy in this respect.

The programme is advertised on the Adult Services Grants website at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/grants/asgrants.htm

Organisations are also notified when the programme is open via the Council for Community Services (CVS), Community Action Hampshire and directly through the Grants Officer.

The balance of grants made reflects the applications received. This results in some regional variation. Adult Services have processes and resources in place to engage actively with excluded groups to address this.

Support to User Led Organisations 2012/15

Adult Services has also been working in partnership with the Voluntary and Community sector to continue to improve the involvement of service users and carers in the strategic planning and delivery of adult social care. The grant recommendation to award funding to establish a lead User Led Organisation (ULO) will greatly improve the opportunities for disabled people and their carers to participate in strategic decision making and receive support to establish new ULOs in Hampshire.

Support for People infected with or affected by HIV 2012/13

There is a proposed increase to the HIV grant budget in 2012/13.

All social care services for people infected with or affected by HIV is now provided by voluntary and community organisations. Hampshire County Council recognises the valuable work provided by these organisations and therefore a contribution towards their core running costs is recommended in 2012/13

People with infected with or affected by HIV often face a number of social issues, including the stigma and prejudice attached to being HIV+, isolation, barriers in accessing specialist health and social care, poverty and homelessness, and the continued long term impact on relatives and friends of those who are infected by HIV.

In addition to this the incidence of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV is increasing across the whole community, in particular middle aged heterosexual adults, the gay and bisexual community and newly immigrant communities.

The organisations recommended for grant funding are proactive at addressing these issues. It should provide countywide coverage of services in order to promote equity of services.

The organisations are proactive at sensitively meeting the needs of particular groups of people who may be additionally marginalised, e.g. specific BME communities.

The HIV grant budget has received an increase of £28,000 to reflect the increase in incidence of HIV and this will be apportioned in full between the two organisations.

The services will continue to address barriers to receiving services and ensure people are receiving adequate support.

Adult Services Grants to Hospices 2012/13

There is a proposed increase in the amount allocated to this budget in 2012/13.

In 2008/09 the Health Overview Scrutiny Committee identified carers supporting people nearing the end of life did not feel their needs were adequately met by standard carers support services. Since then, Hampshire County Council has been committed to support this specific group of carers and has awarded grant funding on an annual basis to develop local services to meet their identified needs. Evidence suggested this grant funding was successful in achieving positive outcomes for carers, in particular by promoting mental well being and reducing barriers to access support.

The funding is recommended to be allocated to all hospices supporting Hampshire carers. This includes Phyllis Tuckwell hospice, Farnham which supports a high proportion of Hampshire residents. Naomi House Children's Hospice is also recommended for grant funding in order to ensure all carers are supported irrespective of the ages of the person being cared for.

Whilst the grant funding is recommended to be distributed to the hospices, the funding is not solely for carers of people receiving palliative care. The funding is for carers of people with a range of conditions that are nearing end of life. In order to increase accessibility of the funding it will therefore be promoted in a range of settings, including hospital departments and community health care settings.

Learning Disability Grants 2012/13

There has been an increase of £81,053 in the amount allocated to LD Grants in 2012/13.

Learning Disability Grants is an annual programme providing grant funding to Voluntary and Community Organisations providing services and activities to people with learning disabilities and their carers in Hampshire.

The funding was initially provided from an identified ring fenced budget within the Area Based Grant. From 2011/12 this is no longer a ring fenced budget and has been rolled into the formula grant.

Adult Services is continuing its commitment to the programme by recommending grant funding to organisations which provide support and services to adults with learning disabilities and their carers. People with learning disabilities often require additional support to express their needs or make informed decisions regarding certain aspects of their lives. In order that they are not disadvantaged, the organisations recommended for grant funding provide opportunities for them to access additional support.

Both Choices Advocacy and Hampshire Advocacy Regional Group act as umbrella bodies and work closely with local agencies and co-ordinators to ensure the needs of local residents with a learning disability within Hampshire are most appropriately met. Whilst it aims to provide countywide coverage, it is dependent on the existence of local advocacy services to meet local need. Therefore in some rural locations, clients may be required to travel in order to receive a service.

Main elements of the policy, plan or project

Adult Services Main Grant Programme 2012/13

Hampshire County Council Adult Services Department maintains an annual programme to award grant funding to Voluntary and Community Organisations providing services and activities to vulnerable people and their carers in Hampshire.

All grant applications have been considered in a staged process, initially for recommendation by senior operational and commissioning managers and then at a grant panel where applications and recommendations were considered within the context of the available budget. The grants panel consisted of the grants officer, senior Adult Services officers and the Deputy Equality and Inclusion Manager. All grant applications have been subject to scrutiny on need for the service vis-ŗ-vis the Departmentís strategic commissioning objectives and priorities, as well as financial need.

The programme awards grant funding to support services and activities which contribute to the objectives of the Council and the priorities of the Adult Services Department.

In 2008 a countywide consultation was undertaken to review the grant programme. Stakeholder events were held which generated feedback from Voluntary and Community Organisations, District and Parish Councils. The outcome was approved by the Executive Member for Adult Social Care in October 2008 and has underpinned the Adult Services grants process since the 2010-11. The main outcomes were as follows:

The grant programme is linked to identified local priorities and these are clearly publicised, explained and are flexible to suit locally identified needs.

The focus of the grant programme remains on supporting the sustainability of existing projects rather than focusing on new innovation. 5-10% of the overall budget was recommended to fund new projects.

In terms of the Adult Services grant programme for 2012-13 the priorities have been linked to strategies which have been developed through consultation with Hampshire residents, in particular the Hampshire Model of Personalisation.

The Adult Services programme has also taken into consideration the need to maintain stability within the voluntary sector, particularly for organisations that have received core funding for a number of years. For 2012-13, 7% of the budget has been recommended to fund projects which had not received grant funding in the previous year.

Voluntary and community organisations provide valuable locally based services that are often rooted in the communities which they serve. Significant benefit is produced through this activity, often through voluntary action and focused towards activity that clearly assists in providing early intervention and prevention initiatives. Grant funding by Adult Services contributes to and helps sustain this activity.

In addition, as grants are a contribution to costs the economic benefit to the department can be significant, levering in additional funding, the benefit of volunteer time and therefore providing good value for money to the authority. For example, Club Hampshire; Adult services funding equates to circa 50% of the cost of running the service. It provides 56 clubs across the county to in excess of 1,100 older people with the assistance of over 300 volunteers.

There has been continued pressure placed on the grants programme budget in terms of the number of applications received for 2012-13. The programme has been significantly oversubscribed, with £1.5 million worth of applications received. This pressure has inevitably impacted on the recommendations and as such some organisations who have received grant funding in the previous year have been recommended a reduced level of funding in the forthcoming financial year.

All applications were initially assessed against the programmeís criteria. This included whether the proposed service/activity linked to the corporate and departmental priorities, the organisationís governance procedures, the level of free reserves held by organisations and plans for future sustainability.

Due to the high level of applications, those which most strongly linked to departmental objectives were given priority. The objectives highlight the importance of early intervention and preventative services to empower people and communities to maintain independence, and the value of partnership working to provide services, e.g. the links between voluntary action and departmental activities such as Community Innovations Teams.

Continued support to the voluntary and community sector through a targeted grants programme remains critical. Areas which are identified in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment as experiencing multiple deprivation were also considered although the extent to which significant priority is given is dependant on the number of applications received from organisations operating in these areas. Applications providing services to people who may have difficulty accessing mainstream services, e.g. people with sensory loss or BME communities or other hard to reach groups were also given added consideration.

Full consideration has been given to the potential impact of the recommendations to reduce or not award Adult Services grant funding in 2012/13 to organisations awarded funding in the previous year. All organisations awarded grant funding in 2011-12 have been recommended grant funding in 2012-13. Five of the organisations have been recommended funding at a reduced level. This was discussed with individual organisations in December 2011 in order to assess the impact of the potential reduction and to enable organisations to have reasonable time to plan for this possibility. one organisation independently applied for a reduced amount. One organisation has been recommended a reduction in levels of funding as the application did not full meet the programme criteria.

The judgement is that these recommendations should have minimal direct impact as organisations have agreed they are able to manage the reduction or there are new services being commissioned in Hampshire which will positively impact on levels of provision. In 2011-12 the Best Value Statutory Guidance came into place, which requires local authorities to give statutory notice to all organisations receiving grant funding. All organisations awarded a grant in 2011-12 were notified by letter of our new obligations in November 2011 and received formal notice to terminate the funding agreement in December 2011. At the same time organisations were advised as a prudent measure to prepare for a likely reduction in grant funding, and were signposted to a number of organisations or websites to assist them explore alternative options for funding.

Those organisations which have been unsuccessful in their applications will be offered information regarding other potential funding options.

The Adult Services grant programme is involved in the Corporate Services Grant Review, which is exploring how the Councilís grant programmes can become more effective and user friendly. It is also updating the application forms to enable applicants to consider how their services and activities are accessible to protected groups identified in the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Impact Assessment for the Corporate Services Grant Review will reflect this.

The grants to support people infected with and affected by HIV and the grant to support User Led Organisations were also considered through this process.

The Learning Disability Grants 2012/13

Since 2002/03 Hampshire County Council Adult Services Department has, through the Learning Disability Development Fund, made annual grants to Voluntary and Community Organisations providing services and activities to people with learning disabilities and their carers in Hampshire.

Until 2011/12 grant round, a panel process decided and approved the allocation of such grants, following the submission of bids. This has ensured the involvement of key stakeholders, and members of the Hampshire Learning Disability Partnership Board.

The Learning Disability Partnership Board and the Locality Implementation Groups are longstanding and successful stakeholder groups which enable all partners to be involved in the development of services and provide an infrastructure for communication and consultation with people with learning disabilities and their carers, statutory and voluntary sector organisations.

For 2011/12 allocations, a grant panel was established to consider the applications and make recommendations. The panel consisted of senior Adult Services Officers and key stakeholders from the Learning Disability Partnership Board and the Locality Implementation Groups. This format was replicated for the 2012/13 programme.

Detailed Assessment

Age: Impact : No Impact
Any specific issues identified:  
What action will be taken to address any identified issues:  
Disability: Impact : No Impact
Any specific issues identified:  
What action will be taken to address any identified issues:  
Faith: Impact : No Impact
Any specific issues identified:  
What action will be taken to address any identified issues:  
Gender: Impact : No Impact
Any specific issues identified:  
What action will be taken to address any identified issues:  
Transgender: Impact : No Impact
Any specific issues identified:  
What action will be taken to address any identified issues:  
Race: Impact : No Impact
Any specific issues identified:  
What action will be taken to address any identified issues:  
Sexual Orientation: Impact : No Impact
Any specific issues identified:  
What action will be taken to address any identified issues:  
Marriage / civil partnership: Impact : No Impact
Any specific issues identified:  
What action will be taken to address any identified issues:  
Pregnancy & maternity: Impact : No Impact
Any specific issues identified:  
What action will be taken to address any identified issues:  
Other factors: Impact : No Impact
Any specific issues identified:  
What action will be taken to address any identified issues:  

Details of why some groups are low and/or no impact

Organisations submit a profile of intended users, including age profiles and range of disabilities that their service/activity is able to support.

The grant funding is intended to fund vulnerable adults and the applications are assessed in terms of how well they link with the departmental priorities, in particular the Hampshire Model of Personalisation. The programme also gives higher consideration to new applications which operate in areas identified within the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.

The programme focuses on improving access to services and activities for vulnerable or marginalised groups. The aim is therefore to have a positive impact on their lives.

There is no proposed reduction in overal grant funding in 2012/13. This significantly reduces the negative impact on the Voluntary and Community Sector. The budgets are subject to final approval at the County Council Budget setting meeting in February 2012.

All organisations who were awarded a grant in 2011/12 from the main Adult Services grant programme and reapplied in 2012/13 have been recommended the same level of funding, except 5 organisations. These organisations have been recommended a reduced level of funding. The proposed reduction was discussed with each organisation in December 2011. All feel they are able to absorb this reduction within minimal impact on the services delivered. Discussions were held in December 2011 in order to allow sufficient time for organisations to plan for this potential reduction.

The Adult Services grant programmes have been part of the corporate grant review. Changes to the application process will ensure there is greater emphasis on organisations applying for grant funding to consider the accessibility of their services to under represented groups. The EIA relating to the corporate grant review will address this further.

Conclusion

The purpose of the Equalities Impact Assessment was to consider whether changes to Adult Services grant funding in 2012/13 would have an impact on the voluntary sector organisations receiving funding. In 2012/13 there has been no reduction in the amount of grant funding recommended to the voluntary and community sector. There is an expectation therefore that this will have minimal impact on voluntary and community organisations and subsequently to the people receiving the grant funded services.

The recommended grant funding continues to reflect the priorities of the Adult Services Department, which have been set through wide consultation with the voluntary and community sector, and through needs identified in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.

The organisations recommended for grant funding will positively address barriers to participation and inclusion, in particular by supporting access to activities in local communities, improving access to information, advice and advocacy, and through improving mechanisms to enable people to participate in strategic planning and decision making.

The balance of grants recommended reflects the applications received. This results in some regional variation. Adult Services has processes and resources in place to actively engage with excluded groups to address this. In future all grant programmes will also be promoted via the Community Development Officers to improve access for marginalised groups.

The Adult Services grant programmes have been involved in the corporate grant review. Changes to the application process are aimed at improving access to grant funded services for socially excluded or marginalised groups. The Corporate Services Grant Review will be exploring how the Council's grant programmes can become more effective and user friendly. It is also updating the application forms to enable applicants to consider how their services and activities are accessible to protected groups identified in the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Impact Assessment relating to the Corporate Grant Review will reflect this.

 

For more information please visit the Hampshire County Council Equality & Diversity web page.