{meta} Agenda item - Urban Tree Challenge Grant for City of Trees

Agenda item

Decision:

Salford City Council - Record of Decision

 

I Councillor David  Lancaster, Lead Member Environment and Community Safety, in exercise of the powers contained within the City Council Constitution do hereby  give approval for Salford City Council to provide a grant of £159,951 match funding to City of Trees to deliver the DEFRA Urban Tree Challenge Fund

 

The Reasons are: The Urban Tree Challenge is a DEFRA funded grant to plant trees in urban areas. A successful partnership bid from City of Trees and Salford City Council secured funding to plant and maintain 489 trees in roadside verges and parks across the city.

 

The City Council has approved match funding of £159,951 from the Place Directorate Green City Capital Budget. The project is being managed and delivered by the Greenspace and Streetscene Team.

 

Options considered and rejected were: N/A

 

Assessment of Risk: LOW

 

The source of funding is: Place Directorate Capital Budget

 

Legal Advice supplied by: Tony Hatton, Principal Solicitor, tel. 219 6323

 

Legally speaking it is important to remember that 'procurement' is a public authority acquiring specific goods, services or works through commissioning a third party to provide these on the Council's behalf under a contract. The delivery of these is usually measured against some form of service specification and key performance indicators (e.g. targets, outcomes, timescales etc), and the delivery of such works/services/goods is usually in exchange for payment (if the requirements of the contract are met).  Usually a services contract will contain robust mechanisms to enforce the terms of the contract - e.g. if the service was underperforming, a review mechanism requiring the provider to address any shortcomings. This might make a services contract more favourable than a simple grant depending on what outcomes are being sought.

 

In contrast, grant funding can be used as a means of supporting the operations or objectives of third party organisations. This may in turn may supplement, compliment, develop or further the services and objectives of the Council, without directly commissioning that organisation under a services contract.

 

Grants are not subject to procurement rules so the Council is free to distribute grant monies directly to organisations fairly easily and flexibly (although being mindful of state aid rules). But the scope and drafting of the grant should be carefully considered to ensure that it is not just in fact a services contract in disguise (which then may be in breach of procurement rules and provide the Council with less protection under the agreement). Under a grant, the Council can restrict the use of the monies to a particular purpose, or set time periods for when the grant can be used, and provide for refunding of the grant if used outside of the grant purpose.

 

The grant shouldn't be too prescriptive as to exactly how the organisation should spend the monies to further the grant purpose, or how the service should be delivered. For example, measures giving the Council a high degree of control or influence over how the service is designed or delivered would suggest it is commissioning the organisation to deliver a specific or bespoke service on its behalf, rather than providing money to support the ongoing aims of the organisation.

 

The Council should ensure that the terms of any grant funding agreements are adhered to in the event that clawback provisions may apply for non-compliance.

 

Financial Advice supplied by: Alison Woods

There is an approved unsupported borrowing allocation within the Place Capital Programme for 2020/21, to allow for a grant payment of £159,951 by Salford City Council to Community Forest Trust, which will act as match funding towards the successful bid to DEFRA’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund for £344,902.

 

Procurement Advice supplied by: Deborah Derbyshire

There are no procurement implications as grant funding is not subject to procurement rules, however before any monies are spent with the chosen provider it would make sense to review and assess the company.

 

HR Advice obtained:N/A

 

Climate Change Advice supplied by: Mike Hemingway

The proposed project to plant trees in highway verges supports the city-wide programme to help mitigate and adapt to Climate Change.

 

The following documents have been used to assist the decision process:

Report from Strategic Director for Place submitted to the Environment and Community safety Lead Member Briefing on 12th October 2020

Contact Officer:  Annie Surtees - Principal Officer (Green Space)                 

Telephone number: 0161 925 1153

 

This decision is not subject to consideration by another lead member or strategic director.

 

The appropriate scrutiny panel to call-in the decision is the Community and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Panel.

           

 

 

Signed: Councillor David Lancaster        

Lead Member for Environment and Community safety

Dated: 12 October 2020

 

 

This decision was published on Monday, 12 October 2020                                           

This decision will come in force at 4.00 p.m. on Monday 19 October 2020                                  unless it is called-in in accordance with the Decision Making Process Rules.

 

 

Supporting documents: