£110,000 Community Fund grants scheme now open for expressions of interest from groups for waste prevention, reuse, recycling or carbon benefits projects in Merseyside and/or Halton

£110,000 Community Fund grants scheme now open for expressions of interest from groups for waste prevention, reuse, recycling or carbon benefits projects in Merseyside and/or Halton                                                                Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party. YouTube privacy policy … Continue reading “£110,000 Community Fund grants scheme now open for expressions of interest from groups for waste prevention, reuse, recycling or carbon benefits projects in Merseyside and/or Halton”

£110,000 Community Fund grants scheme now open for expressions of interest from groups for waste prevention, reuse, recycling or carbon benefits projects in Merseyside and/or Halton

                                                              

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Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority public meeting of 5th February 2016 (where councillors agreed to continue the Community Fund for 2016/17)

Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority 5th February 2016 agenda item 11 Community Fund 2016 17 L to R Unknown, Mandy Valentine (Assistant Director of Governance and Performance), Cllr Graham Morgan (Chair), Carl Beer (Chief Executive) and Peter Williams (Director of Finance)
Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority 5th February 2016 agenda item 11 Community Fund 2016 17 L to R Unknown, Mandy Valentine (Assistant Director of Governance and Performance), Cllr Graham Morgan (Chair), Carl Beer (Chief Executive) and Peter Williams (Director of Finance)

The author of this piece declares an interest as a customer of his business is employed by one of the Wirral organisations that received a grant from Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority in 2014/15 mentioned below.

Last Friday afternoon councillors on the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority agreed to continue the Community Fund for 2016/17 with an allocation of £110,000.

£57,000 has been set aside for regional (Merseyside and Halton) projects with a maximum award of £25,000 per a project in this category.

£48,000 has been set aside for district level projects (districts are Wirral, Liverpool, Sefton, St. Helens, Knowsley and Halton) with a maximum grant award of £8,000 per a project in this category.

Any unspent monies at the regional level will be reallocated to projects at a district level.

Three Wirral based organisations received grant funding last year (2014/15) through this scheme. You can read the full list of organisations that received grant funding for 2014/15 on Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority’s website. There is a detailed report about the projects including photos of some of the 2014/15 projects on Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority’s website (the last photo on the last page of that report includes a photo of former Mayor of Wirral Steve Foulkes and Birkenhead’s MP the Rt Hon Frank Field MP).

Tomorrow’s Women Wirral received £10,000 for their Inspiration Hall project.
Community Action Wirral received £19,982 for their Donate and Create Change project.
Wirral Change received £9,064 for their Too Good To Waste project.

This year the Community Fund is open again for applications from registered charities, not-for-profit organisations (including social enterprises), community, neighbourhood or voluntary groups, faith groups delivering community work, schools, colleges or universities.

It is a two stage grant application process with the first stage being an expressions of interest stage.

Applications are sought for projects that can deliver waste prevention, reuse, recycling and carbon benefits.

A link to the expression of interest form, guidance document and terms and conditions can be found linked from this page on Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority’s website. This page also has contact details for Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority in connection with applications for grants.

The deadline for the first stage (expressions of interest) for this two stage grant process is Wednesday 2nd March 2016.

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What are the changes next year to the public's right to inspect documents of public bodies during the audit?

What are the changes next year to the public’s right to inspect documents of public bodies during the audit?

What are the changes next year to the public’s right to inspect documents of public bodies during the audit?

                                             

Wirral Council lease Neptune Wirral Limited Neptune Developments Limited Neptune Projects Limited 20th June 2011 for New Brighton Phase II draft car parking management plan page 2 of 2
Wirral Council lease Neptune Wirral Limited Neptune Developments Limited Neptune Projects Limited 20th June 2011 for New Brighton Phase II draft car parking management plan page 2 of 2

Above is one of the documents I requested under the 2013/14 audit last year, which is a page of a lease that Wirral Council have with Neptune that states that if Wirral Council introduce car parking in the Fort Perch Rock car park, then charges can be introduced in the free car parks part of the Marine Point development.

Each year for the past few years I have exercised a right you get to exercise only for three weeks each year, which is a right under section 15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 to inspect documents relating to the previous financial year (2014/15) during the audit.

This has in years gone past has been the only way to see such financial information and to give one example of a story that resulted in many interesting stories on this blog (ranging from councillor’s expenses and taxis to an unsigned contract for a million pounds worth of work).

This year I have exercised my s.15 right not just with Wirral Council, but with Liverpool City Council, Merseytravel, the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority.

A couple of weeks before the three-week period when the public can inspect these documents each of these bodies has to publish a public notice in a newspaper that circulates in the area covered by that body. The regulations also require each body to publish this notice on their website. Wirral Council’s notice can be found on their website here.

To save myself trekking off to Birkenhead Central library and spending an afternoon going through back issues of the local newspapers trying to find the public notices, I found this website that has a searchable database of all public notices published by the Trinity Mirror group.

All of the notices (apart from the Merseytravel one) had a name of someone at that public body who I wrote to (whether by letter or by email). In the case of Merseytravel I wrote to the Chief Executive, who passed my request on to the person at Merseytravel dealing with it.

So far the responses have been as follows:

Merseytravel – dates of Monday 27th July 2015/Tuesday 28th July 2015 agreed to come in and inspect the documents. They have a “paperless office”, but will be printing off copies of the invoices/contracts I requested so their legal department can redact parts of them.

Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority – dates of Friday 24th July and Wednesday 29th July 2015 have been agreed to come in and inspect documents.

Liverpool City Council – email sent yesterday, no reply received yet

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority – email sent and acknowledged on the 15th July 2015, no further reply received since

Wirral Council – email sent with request for contracts & councillor expenses on 19th July 2015, reply received yesterday, list of invoices sent this morning, no reply received yet or date/s arranged

Next year, any right of access to invoices and contracts will be under the new section 26 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

The main differences will be next year that a new ground of refusing a request on grounds of “commercial confidentiality” has been added in to the legislation unless there is an “overriding public interest in favour of its disclosure”.

This puts on a statutory footing the Veolia case, see [2010] EWCA Civ 1214 if you’re curious about what I mean.

The new section 26 also means that determinations about what is “personal information” on documents (therefore not open to inspection) will in future be made by the public body themselves and not the situation at present of the public body having to get agreement from their external auditor to this. It does make it crystal clear that the names of sole traders on invoices is not covered by the definition of “personal information” and defines “personal information” as “identifies a particular individual or enables a particular individual to be identified”. The restriction on information about the public body’s staff remains in section 26 next year.

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