Despite Dudley being unsuccessful in becoming a Local Area Agreement (LAA) pilot for 2006/07, all local authority areas needed to have in place the Safer and Stronger Communities Fund block to commence in April 2006.
The SSCF was introduced for all Local Authorities in England in April 2005. It brought together funding streams from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and the Home Office aimed at tackling crime, anti-social behaviour and drugs, empowering communities and improving the condition of streets and public spaces, prioritising the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
The first year of SSCF (2005/06) was transitional as it brought together funding streams with delivery plans already attached and funding commitments already made. The SSCF Implementation Guidance 1 said that SSCF Agreements ‘may therefore need to be substantially reviewed for 2006 to take account of future developments’.
Areas that were planned to have an LAA in place from April 2007, including Dudley, were tasked to develop their SSCF Agreement in a way consistent with LAAs to ensure it could be more readily worked into the Safer and Stronger Communities block.
The overall goal of the SSCF was to build safer and stronger communities. Underneath this goal were four mandatory national outcomes:
Reduced crime, fear of crime, perceptions of anti-social behaviour and harm caused by illegal drugs
Cleaner, safer, greener public spaces
Increased capacity of local communities to participate in local decision making and influence service delivery
Improved quality of life in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods with service providers more responsive to neighbourhood needs and improving their delivery.
From 1 April 2006, new resources were available to selected areas for inclusion in SSCF Agreements to support SSCF outcomes in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. These two new funding streams were referred to as the Neighbourhood Element and the Cleaner Safer Greener Element. Dudley was not eligible to receive any of this additional funding and therefore Dudley were not mandated to deliver on outcomes number 2 and 4 above.
Outcome 3 was addressed through Dudley’s Community Empowerment Network (CEN), Dosti. ODPM was keen to build on the investment made in CENs since 2001 and to see CENs co-ordinate, on behalf of all partners, LSPs’ community empowerment activities. SSCF allocations for 2006/07 included resources to support CENs that were fit for purpose in areas receiving NRF. This was to ensure that money was available to cover the core functions of the CEN work. The core functions would vary from area to area, but Networks should have been able to maintain a core staff team to support Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) representation on the LSP and communication with wider Network members.
Dosti has had its funding allocation reduced through SSCF from £250,000 to £83,213 for 2006/07. The DCP addressed how Dosti could continue to be adequately supported to engage the community and voluntary sector within its structure and processes. Dosti received an additional £15,720 NRF from the DCP for this purpose and agreed its action plan and outcomes for 2006/07.
SSCF funding was paid to Local Authorities as the Accountable Body. From 2006/07 areas only needed to monitor spend against their total allocation, removing the requirement to provide separate returns or claim forms for the individual elements of the Fund. Chief Finance Officers must certify spend.
Dudley's SSCF agreement for 2006/07 can be found at the bottom of this page.
During 2006/07, the SSCF for 2007/08 was negotiated with all partners for inclusion in Dudley's Local Area Agreement.