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Has a parish clerk authority to apply for a grant without council agreement

0 votes
Our clerk applied for and got the Covid 19 small business grant of £10K. The council were not consulted. We have in excess of £100k in the bank way above our needs. I would have voted against this application. I cannot find out what grounds were used for the application as she doesn't have a copy of the application. Does she have the authority to do this?
asked by (140 points)

6 Answers

+2 votes

NO! But of course you should check back to find out what devolved powers have been granted to the clerk at previous council meetings.

answered by (4.7k points)
+1 vote
As per MentorMan, NO!

Also as a public sector body, you would be ineligible for the funding and the council have potentially committed fraud.

UNLESS, the clerk is a director of a subsidiary trading company of the council (e.g. a trading village hall) and the grant was to support the trading entity rather than the Parish Council itself.

Ask for documents, and get ready to hand the money back.
answered by (7.3k points)
+1 vote
You would need to carefully consult your "Scheme of Delegation" that many parish/town councils found themselves reviewing (and indeed creating for the first time) as a result of the pandemic.
On the Covid-19 Small Business Grant whilst your entirely within your right to not wish to pursue said grant curious why you feel that healthy reserves is a reason to not apply for money that the body is eligible for.  I suspect my parishioners would take a pretty dim view if if we rejected grant money and then proceeded to tell them in the coming months/years a) cant afford that b) your precept is going up
answered by (1.7k points)
+2 votes
The Covid Small Business Grant wasn't a grant application in the conventional sense. This was a free handout from the Government. In my district, it was an online process that required the NNDR reference and confirmation that the bank account details hadn't changed since the last direct debit was collected. I don't have a copy of my application.
answered by (22.9k points)
Did you need council approval to apply? Also did you spend it on what it was intended for, small business assistance or Covid related costs for the community?
None of mine were parish council grants. My councils don't operate their buildings. They're all leased to community organisations.
0 votes
I applied for the same grant after a letter of invitation from our Borough Council to do so.  We received the grant and promptly turned it into our own Covid grant scheme.  We invited local organisations who could demonstrate a financial loss to apply and we redistributed it.  The small amount that we have left over will probably now be used to fund a local food bank for Christmas.

I advised the council that was what I was doing and they supported my actions wholeheartedly.  We have not committed fraud in any way shape or form and advice from the SLCC on the same subject backed this up.

So lets all Calm Down on this subject please :-)
answered by (12.5k points)
I wholeheartedly would support you also. My council got the money with a very healthy bank balance and allocated funds from this grant to buying tablets for councillors. A very small amount was spent on hand sanitiser and face masks and a a little PPE which could easily have been paid for without it. No suggestion was made to do anything similar to what you have done. This is why I'm unhappy about it. I have to say since i questioned it i have seen nothing about tablets again, as yet.. I believe its morally indefensible . I am actually more angry with our county council for paying it out without proper checks than i am with the clerk for getting it.
To use the grant for the purchase of tablets, I agree is not an appropriate thing to do - that is something that you need to budget for.  BTW, the use of tablets for councillors is a living nightmare that I have thankfully survived....
Just before you get cross with the county council, it is the borough / district or city councils who were tasked with the distribution of this grant. :-)
+1 vote
No -  unless the Standing orders, a policy  or a scheme of delegation permit it .  Even if they do, grants could have terms, obligations  and conditions attached to it about how and where the money can be spent and cllrs  should be aware of these before an application is submitted as they are collectively responsible for the operations of their council.
answered by (16.4k points)
It was a free handout. No strings attached.
Exactly DtC, it was not a grant as we know it...  But don't stop Graeme_r from blaming the Clerk for this, its his passion in life!!! :-)
Infamy infamy! They've all got it in for me!

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