What do I do if an applicant doesn’t return their project completion report?
We suggest the following:
- Send out a letter/email requesting the report within a specified timeframe, and explaining that a condition of receiving the funding was that they would complete the report. (It may also be useful to remind them that unless they submit a report all future applications will be ineligible).
- Explain that if the project hasn’t been completed, they will need to negotiate an extension or return the funds.
- Consider making a phone call in the first instance and then follow up with a letter/email if you still haven’t received the report form.
- Ask your committee if anyone knows the applicant personally. If appropriate they may be able to remind the applicant that they need to submit the report.
All projects MUST remain on the ‘In progress’ tab of the Grants Tracking Tool until they have submitted a satisfactory report. This is how we keep track of those who haven’t submitted reports.
What if a project completion report isn’t satisfactory?
A project completion report is considered ‘satisfactory’ if all sections have been completed in enough detail for the Council to be satisfied that the project has been carried out as agreed – keeping in mind that there is often a bit of allowable variation in projects e.g. some things cost more or less, some components may have been replaced by others. If the report lacks enough detail for you to feel confident that it has been carried out as agreed, we suggest you go back to the applicant for more information.
We don’t want people to be writing PhDs and we don’t want you to have to spend ages combing through reports. These funds are small but are public money none-the-less and therefore it is important that we can report back with confidence.
What audience and participant numbers should be captured?
On the application and project completion report forms we ask applicants to note participant and viewers/audiences numbers.
Participants are people who have been actively involved in the creation or presentation of the art or attending a workshop. So it is about hands on participation.
Audiences or viewers are the people who have attended a presentation or showing of the project.
It can sometimes be difficult to estimate numbers of active participants or audiences/viewers. Sometimes applicants also inflate these as they feel this will help to secure funding. As much as possible we want our capture of these numbers to be accurate so that we can demonstrate the reach of CCS.
Public art is a tricky area as the numbers of people who pass by a public art work can be huge. Therefore we ask people to only note down the number of people who have specifically attended a showing of the work e.g. the launch.
We ask administrators to keep an eye on reported numbers and to go back to applicants if they feel the figures are inflated and/or include casual viewers.
Do we need applicants to send in their receipts?
Successful applicants are obliged to keep a clear record of how they have used their funding. This includes keeping receipts. We have amended the ‘CCS letter – successful application’ so that this is clear to them.
Viewing receipts from projects is one way to confirm that a project has been carried out as agreed. You may also feel that this level of accountability is important in your community, that it is a way to help groups to understand best practice. However, checking receipts can be very time consuming. It is therefore up to each administrator (and your management) to decide whether applicants need to send you receipts with their project completion reports. If you do you will need to amend the letter to successful applicants.
CCS funding recipients must carry out projects as outlined in the funding application. Any significant changes to the project must be agreed in writing by the Council before the project takes place. If a project has taken place without significant changes there is no requirement for funding recipients to return funds. Any unspent funds can be applied to future projects or other costs that may have been incurred as part of the funded project.
Where a project has varied significantly and the funding recipient has not sought prior approval and there are significant levels of unexpended funds, a refund may be required. The following should be considered
have the funds been used to cover other eligible project costs (no refund required)
does the group intend to apply these funds towards a future project (no refund required however any application for additional support for that project would need to incorporate these unspent funds)
These guidelines are aimed at simplifying the project acquittal processes for both funding recipients and administrators and at making sure that groups/artists who manage their budgets more effectively (as a result of securing more in-kind support or increased sales for example) are not being disadvantaged.
This places the emphasis on the assessment of the application. If a group is consistently showing a profit for like projects, or is consistently not requiring the full amount of funding allocated it is expected that this would be considered at the point of assessment. This emphasises the importance of information from project completion reports being made available to assessors.
Funding recipients are still able to return unspent funds but note that this is not a requirement unless the project has varied significantly.
Please refer to the FAQ on the CCS Administrators Hub re ‘Are projects allowed to make a profit’