Decision to deny Southern Brooks charity £7,000 ‘was unlawful’

Published on: 15 Apr 2013

Decision to deny Southern Brooks charity £7,000 ‘was unlawful’

A decision by the Filton Town Council finance committee to deny a community charity organisation £7,000 in funding was unlawful and has now been reversed.Julie Close

Southern Brooks Community Partnership, which runs projects to support young people, families and the elderly in Filton, Patchway and The Stokes, had applied for the funding which would mean Priority neighbourhood worker Katie Donovan could work an extra day in Filton.

The money had been identified during the town council’s budget setting processes earlier this year but at a meeting of the finance comittee in February, councillors voted by a majority (eight to three with one abstention) to reject the funding.

However subsequent meetings of the finance committee and full council heard that this decision was unlawful because the money had been allocated in the budget and also, the finance committee did not have the powers to overturn a decision of the full council.

Southern Brooks director Julie Close, pictured, told Filtonvoice that she was delighted the decision had been overturned and this would give the charity the ability to work with the town council and residents to identify funding opportunities such as Lottery grants.

She said: "Last year we were able to pay the extra day out of reserves but we were facing losing that day this year.

"I am really pleased the town council has decided to invest in this community development which will mean an extra seven hours each week in Filton, working with the residents and council on the town plan and other projects to generate extra income."

At a meeting of the town council, chairman Adam Monk said: "We took legal advice and  the position is that the full council sets the budget and the finance committee only oversees the budget so the original decision stands. The council had two chances at full meetings to remove this funding from the budget if they wished but this did not happen."

Cllr Rikki Teml, who had seconded an earlier motion backing the funding with the proviso that Southern Brooks provided quarterly reports, restated his position that such reporting should take place and councillors accepted this.

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