DD1418 London Schools Excellence Fund Round 2 – Small Grants Programme

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD1418
Date signed: 
05 January 2016
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

MD1132 contains the Mayor’s approval of the establishment of the London Schools Excellence Fund (the “Fund”) to help London schools make progress in raising school standards in literacy, numeracy, science, technology, engineering, maths and modern foreign and ancient languages.  The Director is asked to approve expenditure of £44,569 to provide additional resource to the managing agent of the London Schools Excellence Fund small grants programme to enable them to manage 50% more projects and double the amount of funding.

 

Decision

The Director approves expenditure of up to £44,569 to extend the contract of the Managing Agent (Rocket Science) of the London Schools Excellence Fund round 2 projects from June 2015 to September 2015 (£28,750) and September 2015 to January 2016 (£15,819).  

 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    MD1132 contains the Mayor’s approval of the establishment of the London Schools Excellence Fund (the “Fund”) to help London schools make progress in raising school standards in literacy, numeracy, science, technology, engineering, maths and modern foreign and ancient languages.

1.2    DD1080 contains approval for the appointment of Rocket Science as the external managing agent of the Small Grants Programme – Round 2 of the LSEF and expenditure of £99,250.

1.3    Rocket Science was appointed by the Greater London Authority (GLA) to manage the Small Grants Programme – Round 2 of the LSEF on the basis of their proposal submitted in May 2013.  This was based upon the assumption made by the GLA that round 2 grants would total approximately £1m and that grants would be made to fund 20 projects.

1.4    Due to the quality of the applications received, the GLA agreed to fund 31 projects. The grant fund increased from £1m to just over £2m and the number of projects to be monitored and supported by the round 2 managing agent increased by over 50% from 20 to 31.  DD1142 and DD1195 approved grants under the small grant programme (round 2).  A further two decisions approved additional funding to a number of round 2 projects (DD1281 and DD1304).
1.5    In view of the increase in the size of the Round 2 Fund and consequently the additional workload in managing the grants over the remainder of the LSEF funding period, the GLA varied Rocket Science’s contract in June 2014 to increase to £128,000.  

1.6    Whilst this is in an increase in the total management fees of £28,750, overall this represents a fall in the proportion of the Round 2 grants fund spent on outsourced management from 10% to 6% and  enables Rocket Science to continue to provide a high quality service to the Round 2 projects and the GLA over the remainder of the programme. 

1.7    Rocket Science’s current contract is due to complete in September 2015. However claims and project self-evaluation reports are not due until 30 September.  A number of projects have also applied to extend their delivery period by one term to the end of December. The Managing Agent will be required to manage the closure, evaluation, and dissemination process for round 2 LSEF grants during Quarter 3 2015/16, and approve project final reports in January 2016.

1.8    Approval is sought to extend Rocket Science’s contract for four months to the end of January 2016 at the cost of an additional quarterly payment of £15,819. 

 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The overall objective of appointing a managing agent for the small grants programme is to ensure the successful delivery of this programme. By outsourcing the management of the grants to a dedicated grants manager the Education and Youth Team are ensuring that the correct level of resources will be allocated to manage the programme efficiently and effectively. 

2.2    Rocket Science will be able to provide projects with effective support to embed the learning from the programme in their organisations and develop the appropriate systems to support the future sustainability of the projects.    

 

Equality comments

3.1     Throughout the Education Inquiry, including the call for evidence, consideration was given to factors of economic and ethnic disadvantage, gender differences and special needs and disabilities. Key analysis was subsequently published in the first report of the Inquiry (February 2012).

 

Other considerations

4.1. Key Risks and Issues 

 

Risk description

Mitigation / Risk response

Current probability (1-4)

Current impact (1-4)

RAG rating

GLA risk owner

1

Monitoring and evaluation do not accurately capture the reality of the programme

 

 

The Rocket Science team will monitor the application of the evaluation framework across projects and provide expert assistance to ensure that it is applied consistently and effectively

 

2

2

Amber

E&Y

2

Not able to meet specific timescales or un- anticipated absences or leavers within the programme management team. 

 

 

 

Rocket Science will use a rigorous project management process and use traffic light system to provide early warning of any potential timescale issues reported on a

monthly basis.

2

2

Amber

E&Y

 

Financial comments

5.1       The additional contract costs of £44,569 relate to a variation that took place in June 2014, not previously approved, totalling £28,750 and a further extension from September 2015 to January 2016 for £15,819 as detailed within the main body of this report, and will be funded from the existing 2015-16 London Schools Excellence Fund budget held within the Health & Communities Unit.

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Signing of contract variation

September 2015

Checking and collating final evaluation reports

September 2015

Project Monitoring visits

October 2015

Processing final claims

January 2016