A councillor says concerns about a new micro-grants scheme in Lichfield and Burntwood have still not been addressed.
Lichfield District Council will launch the scheme before the end of the month, giving councillors £300 each to distribute to local organisations in their ward.
But Cllr Steve Norman, leader of the Labour opposition group and vice chair of the scrutiny committee at the local authority, said there were still a number of concerns which had not been addressed.
“The council leader was asked to delay its implementation until after the new scrutiny committee could look at the issues raised by members such as where do the application forms go and have we got any safeguards to ensure that a group doesn’t try to get the same funding more than once?
“Some members said at the briefing held earlier this month, and where these questions were not answered, that they did not currently intend to take part because the onus seems to be entirely on the councillor to check out the applicants and if they were to be reported to the Audit and Standards Board their own careers could be affected.
“If the council leadership want this to be a successful scheme, they should not ignore these questions raised by both sides of the council chamber before rushing to get it started.”Cllr Steve Norman, Lichfield District Council
Cllr Richard Cox, cabinet member for community engagement, said the scheme would be looking for feedback from councillors as it progressed.
“This is a pilot scheme, which we have developed to enable district councillors to choose groups to award the funding to, allowing available funding to be spent on local good causes and not on administration.
“As councillors know their communities best, they are well placed to identify worthy local causes.
“As it’s a pilot scheme, we will consider any suggested improvements or opportunities. This includes asking the Community Foundation for Staffordshire to make the payments after concerns were raised about the use of personal bank accounts.
“Councillors will be given guidance for how to award the funding, including clear eligibility criteria and how to abide by the members’ code of conduct.
“We know local communities will be grateful for a funding boost and for the support of their local ward councillor.”Cllr Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council