The TSI Scotland Network welcomes the announcement of the successful Community Renewal Fund applications and offer our congratulations to the successful Scottish bids.
We recognise that this has been a transitional year and significant work went into making the move from European Structural Funds to a UK-based distribution. The TSI Scotland Network has reflected on their members’ experience and urge the Government to consider the following when developing the new programme:
- The need to go through local authorities puts an additional barrier in the way of third sector organisations accessing the funding. We urge the Government to consider an application process that allows the third sector to apply directly, without the need to go through local statutory structures;
- It was unclear how decisions were made on the existing Fund. We urge the Government to be explicit on the criteria it will use in allocating funding;
- There were unfortunate slippages in the timescales for distributing the funding. We urge the Government to be flexible with the new June deadline, as it will be a tight timescale for projects to recruit new staff and deliver the outcomes that the Government and applicants are seeking to achieve.
- Greater clarity over the contract arrangements is required – a wide number of questions have been raised over procurement, consortia and evidence of delivery already, which are proving difficult to get answers on and it would be beneficial to ensure these are worked up to be reflective of and achievable in the timescales in future.
- We further urge the Government to take steps to ensure a more timely distribution of the 2022/23 funds.
- We look forward to working in partnership with the Shared Prosperity team, and hope that strong channels of communication will be developed between the team and the TSI Scotland Network. Using the TSI Scotland Network is a highly effective method of engaging the third sector at a local level in the design and delivery of funds due to our local bases and understanding of local areas; the funding will be weaker without our input. We would welcome an early meeting to discuss how these might be developed.