§ Mrs. Ray Michie
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to ensure that the grants from revenue currently available to community and voluntary groups in Strathclyde region will continue to be available after reorganisation of local government.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
The Government value highly the work of voluntary organisations in their local communities and wish to ensure a smooth hand-over from the existing to the new authorities. For this reason, the Scottish Office will make a direction under clause 55 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 requiring each existing authority to inform shadow authorities of all funding which is given to voluntary organisations by means of a grant, service agreement or contract. This direction is designed to ensure that the new authorities are aware of the full extent and purpose of the existing authorities' funding of the voluntary sector, and526W in particular, of the full range of annual discretionary grants. This information will then inform their decision on assistance to community and voluntary bodies.
This direction complements the general provision in the Act for all existing liabilities, obligations and contracts entered into by existing authorities to be transferred to the new councils. This provision will safeguard contracts with voluntary bodies.
The Scottish Office will also issue guidance to the new authorities on the key role of voluntary organisations and the importance of avoiding disruption and delay in grant decision making.