The Facilitation and Grant Management project involves two separate aspects: the administration and organisation of RIC meetings, and development of associated projects and protocols; and the administration of grants. Grant management took place under the old consortium process; projects were asked to submit bids which were then rated and the top four awarded funding. Funded projects received monitoring visits and completed performance monitoring returns. To conduct this evaluation, email questionnaires were sent to three stakeholder groups: RIC members, Regional Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG) members and Infrastructure Strategic Partnership (ISP) members. 14 RIC members and 8 others returned completed questionnaires. The researchers also interviewed the Senior Policy and Development Manager at VONNE, who oversees the project, and undertook a deskbased review of reports and papers relating to the project. The Facilitation project has successfully supported the RIC in its first year in its new structure, helping it to, for instance, achieve Fit for Purpose status, produce a Delivery Plan, Business Plan and Strategy, carry out a self-assessment, and commission research projects. The Grant Management project has managed to create the appropriate procedures for grant management, and make grants to FINE and the ICT project (the Facilitation and Grant Making project also receives funding). Survey findings revealed that RIC members and stakeholders regard the facilitation of the RIC to be successful. For instance, the majority of respondents thought that RIC meetings were well run, that VONNE project staff facilitating RIC meetings are helpful and supportive, that the materials provided to RIC members are of a high quality, and that meeting minutes are accurate. For the grant management aspect of the project, most RIC members and stakeholders agreed that the prioritisation and rating procedures used to assess grant applications were useful and valid, and that grants were awarded based on a fair process of appraisal. Concerns were raised about the short timescales previously involved in the grant management process, and about the need to ensure that any funding opportunities are advertised right across the third sector. At a Change Check review session, RIC members and stakeholders were asked to use the survey findings to assess the impact of the different aspects of the RIC with reference to the resources devoted to each. The results of this process were also largely positive, although future funding and grant management issues are in question for the RIC. It was not considered appropriate to make recommendations for the project. The Facilitation project operates in a way that responds to the developing needs of the RIC, and the research findings did not reveal any particular problems with the way that it has worked up to now. The Grant Management aspect of the project has been completed in its current form. However, there were some potential transferable lessons emerging from the findings for future grant management programmes, e.g. minimising time pressures in the bidding programme, and making sure all the third sector is made aware of funding opportunities.
|Place of Publication||Newcastle upon Tyne, UK|
|Publisher||Sustainable Cities Research Institute|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|