Ofcom's Community Radio Fund Panel (‘the Panel’) met on Tuesday 25 June 2019 to consider applications in the first round of funding for 2019-20.
The Panel considered each application and awarded funding based on the information provided, and with reference to the Community Radio Fund (‘the Fund’) guidance notes. For each grant bid the Panel decided whether to make a full award, a partial award or not to award any funding.
At the meeting:
The grants awarded ranged from £6,830 up to £34,320 for individual positions, with an average of £16,567. A summary of the awards is at the end of this statement.
The Panel considered that, as much as possible, grants from the Fund should help further a station’s financial stability and future sustainability. Therefore, proposals to promote long-term financial security and posts which could become self-sustaining were favoured by the Panel over applications for other support roles.
Regarding the applications considered in this funding round, the Panel would like to make the following points:
|Feedback||The Panel does not provide individual feedback as a matter of course. Some verbal feedback may be available, should stations wish to contact Ofcom. The Panel would however recommend that stations request feedback if they re-submit proposals for the same post or project in the future.|
|Application deadlines||Community Radio Stations should sign up to the Broadcasting Update to receive email notifications of application opening and closing dates (in our monthly radio broadcast updates), and check our Community Radio Fund webpages.|
|Change in circumstances|
Applicants should provide details of any significant changes in station circumstances, such as changes to the station’s financial position or any change of company director, which may not be evident in the most recent published accounts.
|Station overview and broadcasting philosophy||The panel found that the responses to question 2 on the application form, requesting and overview of the station and broadcasting philosophy, were sometimes weak. Applicants should endeavour to provide a detailed description of the station, community served, ethos and any other information that will give the panel an accurate understanding of the station.|
|Why the grant is needed||The Panel encourage applicants to made it clear how the grant would help the station’s financial stability and sustainability. Applicants are reminded that this is a key priority for the panel. In some cases, applicants did not give a clear explanation of how the role or project would contribute to the financial stability and future sustainability of the station, or what the aims, and anticipated outcomes and impact of the grant-funded post or project would be. Applicants should explain this in their application and ensure that it is given an appropriate level of prominence in the accompanying Job Description (if the application is for a role) or a detailed project description (if the application is for a project).|
|Grants to engage a third party||If funding is sought to engage a consultant, to outsource a service or any aspects of a project, applicants must provide details of the individual or company they seek to use in addition to a work plan with clear targets and milestones.|
|Joint bids||Applications for joint projects should name all partner stations and describe how it will benefit all the stations involved and/or the wider community radio sector.|
|Grant awards||Grants are to cover a one-year period only, and grants to successful applicants are made as a single lump sum. Applicants should refer to the guidance notes which set out how the Fund works and what can be funded.|
|Previously supported roles||A request to further fund a role previously supported by the Panel should give details about why the additional funds are needed and why the role was not already sustainable.|
|Welsh language requirements||Stations for which the requirements apply should provide details about the effects of a grant upon the station's use of the Welsh language.|
|Provide all the information requested||Applicants should supply the requested supporting information, such as a job description containing clear targets if applying for a post, and the relevant company financial data. Applicants should refer to the guidance notes for further detail on what should be provided.|
|Employment status of new postholders||If the grant request is to support a new role, the Panel would draw applicants’ attention to HMRC’s guidance on determining the employment status of workers when they are planning (and costing) the post. This has implications for the way tax and National Insurance (NI) contributions are calculated and whether or not PAYE (Pay As You Earn) is operated on their earnings. In particular, the Panel noted that a number of applications included inaccurate calculations for the employer’s NI (see further information here).|
|Employment costs||Applicants should specify a salary rather than a salary range. If you are requesting ‘on-costs’, please provide an itemised breakdown of these costs.|
Fundraising and Sustainability Manager
Sales and Revenue Executive
Fundraising and Promotions Manager
Business Development Officer
Burgess Hill Radio
Burgess Hill, Surrey
Controller of Community Content and Development*
Business Strategy Manager
BRFM 95.6 FM
Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey
Sales Representative and IT and Broadcast Technical Development
Chief Operating Officer*
Business Development Manager
Salford City Radio
Salford, Greater Manchester
Advertising and Sponsorship Sales Executive
Stockport, Greater Manchester
*Applicants demonstrated how these roles, which would not ordinarily be funded by the Panel, would help build financial sustainability for the station concerned.
**Figure amended on 26 June 2020 to correct an incorrect grant amount.