Exeter City Council: Review of Community and Arts Grants
In April 2018 Council agreed to undertake a review of the current grants programme to help us to develop future policy that will:
- Ensure we make best use of council funding.
- Implement a consistent approach to match funding.
- Better link grant funds to deliver city council priorities.
- Encourage and embed sustainable ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) approaches supporting people and communities to create community solutions to local issues.
Through a public procurement process the City Council has contracted an independent agency, Red Quadrant, to undertake initial engagement and consultation exercises with elected members, community groups and organisations, as well as other key stakeholders to find out about what works well now and what we could improve in future. Red Quadrant have a wealth of experience in the public sector including community engagement, libraries, archives, museums, arts development and festivals.
We are including art grants in the review because there are clear links with art projects and our aspirations around supporting resilient communities. Red Quadrant are a great partner for us as they have considerable experience and understanding of the arts world as well as generic experience of community engagement. They understand the importance of ensuring that any proposed changes to community and arts grants will need to be in line with the Exeter Cultural Strategy’s key objectives and priorities for arts grant giving.
The review process started in July with an engagement and listening exercise which will inform a draft policy for discussion with members in the autumn. This will be followed by a formal public consultation and eventually a final report and recommendations on future policy going through the democratic process early in 2019
Alongside this we are piloting new approaches to grant giving using digital platforms including crowdfunding to see how these modern approaches could maximise the grants available and better align the spending to city and council priorities.