FAQ’s 2019-07-09T17:32:05+00:00

Using these FAQ’s

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) have been designed to answer all the questions you or your organisation might have about the process of applying to the Community Fund 2020-23. The document is broken down in distinct sections in order to help give clear answers on all the possible topics related to applying to the Community Fund 2020-2023.

The answers given in this document are primarily related to the Outcomes Programme but does provide an overview of the other tenders as part of the Community Fund.

The document will also, in parts, make reference to the Community Grants Programme (commonly referred to as the under £15,000 grant Programme). However, these FAQ’s are primarily for the over £15,000 per annum tenders.

You can either download the document here or scroll down the page to view the FAQ section.

Live Document Status

This document is officially classified as a live document. In this context it means that the Council will be releasing updated versions of this document periodically with updates in light of new questions that are received. The mechanism for releasing answers to questions posed in the live tender stage are dealt with in this section.

Please note that this document is for information purposes and that the full instructions on how to apply will be included in the tender documents for the 5 Programmes of the fund. Applicants should disregard anything included in this document which contradicts anything in any of the 5 prospectuses for the different areas of the Community Fund Programme. Organisations should ensure that they are registered on the London Tenders Portal to get the most up to date documents for this tender. Information on how to apply to the Community Grants Programme can be found here; https://www.croydon.gov.uk/community/advice/community-grants

Understanding the Community Fund terminology

Question Topic Appropriate Contract Medium
Community Fund A fund totalling £2.6 million a year over 3 years. For projects requesting in excess of £15,000 per year, Organisations are asked to complete a tender process.
Community Grants Programme A fund that is designed to fund lower value projects. This fund can fund projects up to 3 years and will be open continually throughout the year, with bids evaluated at three points throughout the year. All funds are in the form of grants and will fund organisations at a maximum of £14,999 per year.
Community Fund Programme The Community Fund has 5 constituent parts: Outcome Programme, Infrastructure, Carers, Advice and Quality Assurance and Contract Management
Outcome Priority The Outcomes Programme focuses on 5 different outcome priorities. Applicants applying to the Outcome Programme will need to select a primary Outcome priority that their service will address.
Prevention Fund A fund targeting community based preventative services designed for adults. This fund will now form part of Outcome Theme 1.

What to do if something’s not covered

These FAQ’s are a dynamic document and have been created by collating questions that have been asked of the Council by the VCS’s over the previous and current commissioning cycles. However, any questions that remain unanswered after reading this document should be addressed to the Council in the following ways:

Question Topic Appropriate contact
General questions about the Outcomes Programme and Community Grants Programme, including technical questions about the portal Email: CommunityFund@Croydon.gov.uk 

Phone: 02087605584

Questions specifically about completing the bids for any of the 5 Community Fund Programmes Use the Q&A facility on the London Tenders Portal
Questions specifically about applying for the Community Crants Program (under £15,000 per year) Email: Communitygrants@Croydon.gov.uk

What is the Community Fund? 2019-07-08T12:37:23+00:00

The Community Fund encompasses five different commissioning programmes, including: an Outcomes Programme; Infrastructure Support; Carers Services; Advice Services and Quality Assurance and Contract Management for the Prevention Fund. Collectively the fund represents £2.6million per year for the next 3 years 2020 – 2023.

The Community Fund will be split into 5 different Programmes. These will all be separate tender exercises and are as follows:

  1. Infrastructure – funding to provide capacity support for the wider VCS in Croydon.
  2. Statutory Advice Services – funding to provide advice services for topics such as housing, legal and debt.
  3. Statutory Carers Services – funding to provide assessments, support and short breaks.
  4. Outcomes – funding to provide services aligned with 5 distinct outcomes.

a) The Prevention Fund will exist as part of Outcome 1 (People live long, health, happy and independent lives) with a ring fenced budget.

5. Quality Assurance & Contract Monitoring – funding to provide both contract management and quality assurance for projects that have received contracts below £15,000 per year from the Prevention Fund.

This is being done to help ensure that the Council funds the broadest range of services throughout the borough and uses the allocated money to best help it to achieve its stated strategic objectives.

What is the Prevention Fund? 2019-07-08T12:39:00+00:00

The Prevention Fund, which is being commissioned as part of the Outcome Programme, is primarily but not exclusively for projects to support older people with a view to preventing, reducing or delaying care and support needs. The funding available will be assigned to Theme 1 (People live long, healthy, happy and independent lives) in the Outcomes programme.

What is the Budget? 2019-07-08T12:41:01+00:00

The total budget for the entire Community Fund is £2.6 million every year for 3 years from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023 (total £7.8 million). The Prevention Fund has a ring fenced budget of £549,000. The Council has also allocated £100k to be held back to help tackle emerging needs, this money will be available from 2020/21 onwards. The total amount that is available to bid for will be announced in each of the tender documents.

For the Outcomes Programme, the funding allocation is inclusive of both the Commissioning Process for bids over £15,000 per year, and the Community Grants Programme for bids of less than £15,000 per year. Applicants wishing to find out more about the Community Grants Programme should email Communitygrants@Croydon.gov.uk or visit https://www.croydon.gov.uk/community/advice/community-grants.

Over what length of time will the funding be available for the Outcomes Programme? 2019-07-09T08:16:52+00:00

Applicants can apply to both the Community Fund and the Community Grants Programme for up to 3 years funding (although applicants can elect a shorter funding time period to support their project).


Will an organisation need to receive their awarded payment equally over the three years? 2019-07-09T08:24:23+00:00

No, subject to agreement with the council, an Organisation can elect to take their payment in a time period to suit their needs within the 3 year timeframe (e.g. frontload the payment). Payments will be made quarterly in advance. Applicants will be asked to provide the costs for their project over the duration of the proposed project.


Can any organisation bid for money for the Outcomes Programme? 2019-07-09T08:29:35+00:00

The Outcomes Programme is specifically targeted at the local voluntary and community sector. Organisations will have to be non-statutory and deliver-in or plan to deliver-in Croydon to be eligible. Conversely the following organisations will not be eligible to apply for funding:

  1. Private Groups of Companies
  2. Profit making organisations
  3. Groups seeking funding for the purposes of fundraising
  4. Political Parties or organisations intending to support or oppose political activity and/or campaigns
  5. Activities which intend to promote a specific religion

All eligibility requirements for both the Outcome programme and the other programmes will be detailed in the respective bid prospectuses.

The Outcomes programme has 5 priority outcomes, why have you chosen these Outcomes? 2019-07-08T13:01:13+00:00

The 5 Outcomes are:

  1. Outcome 1 – People live long, healthy, happy and independent lives – this will include the ring fenced allocation for the Prevention Fund
  2. Outcome 2 – Our young people thrive and reach their full potential
  3. Outcome 3 – Access to homes and prevention of homelessness
  4. Outcome 4 – Everyone feels safer in their street, neighbourhood and home
  5. Outcome 5 – Everybody has the opportunity to work and build a career

These Outcomes themes are directly adopted from the Council’s key strategic document, the Corporate Plan 2018-22 and have been reaffirmed in the Council’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector Strategy 2019-2023.

Can an Outcomes Programme bid address more than 1 outcome? 2019-07-08T13:04:25+00:00

All applicants to the Outcome Programme will find that the Tender application form asks applications to select one principle outcome theme and any additional outcome theme that their proposed service may contribute to.

While applications will be judged primarily against their selected principle outcome theme, services which can demonstrate that they will contribute to more than one outcome will be considered favourably.


Are applicants allowed to submit bids for multiple projects? 2019-07-09T08:31:44+00:00

Yes, organisations may submit more than one bid, however the bids should be for different projects.


Are applicants allowed to submit bids to different programmes of the fund (e.g. Outcomes and Infrastructure)? 2019-07-08T13:08:18+00:00

Yes, Organisations can submit bids for different Programmes. Organisations must outline how confidentiality, impartiality and conflict of interest have been dealt with. Applicants cannot apply for the same project to both the Community Fund (Over £15,000 per annum) and Community Grants Programme (Under £15,000 per annum).


Are applicants allowed to submit bids as an individual organisation and as part of a consortium? 2019-07-08T13:10:27+00:00

Yes, Organisations can bid as individual organisations and as part of a consortium as long as the bids are separate and for different projects. The organisation should outline how confidentiality, impartiality and conflict of interest have been dealt with.


How will the council ensure that one large bid doesn’t receive all the allocated funding for one of the Outcome themes? 2019-07-08T13:13:42+00:00

The Council is committed to ensuring that it supports a range of VCS organisations. To guard against one large bid receiving all the allocated funding, Council has introduced a guide maximum bid level that can be bid for by any one organisation applying to the Outcomes Programme. The guide maximum bid level of £40,000 per year. The Council will allow bids over this level but organisations will need to evidence the following:

  • Extensive collaboration between 3 or more organisation and measures taken to ensure no duplication with other VCS organisations
  • Strong evidence of a high level of need across the borough and an evidence based service which responds to this need and has a track record of delivering positive impact for residents
  • A proposal which contributes to at least 3 priority outcomes or sub-outcomes
  • Very strong quantifiable social value offer for Croydon
  • Draws upon alternative funding streams to ensure VFM

The Council has also placed considerable emphasis on encouraging collaborative bids. The Council, in conjunction with Infrastructure organisations will offer support sessions helping organisations to establish partnerships and submit collaborative bids.

Will there be any support available to help organisations write the content of their bids? 2019-07-08T13:17:13+00:00

The Council, in conjunction with the Infrastructure organisations will run a number of Support Sessions through the open tender period some of which will focus on supporting organisations to write good bids. Organisations who feel they may benefit from assistance are encouraged to receive support through these workshops.

All the Support Sessions are listed, with details of registration requirements on Value Croydon, here.

London Tenders Portal
Why do we have to use the London Tenders Portal? 2019-07-08T13:19:42+00:00

The Council is committed to running this procurement through the London Tenders Portal because it offers the most open and transparent way to operate a tender processes and helps to ensure that the Council conforms to all current legal requirements regarding fair competition. This puts Croydon Council in line with practice for the majority of other Local Government commissioning authorities operating across the UK.


Do all applicants have to use the London Tenders Portal? 2019-07-08T13:21:53+00:00

Yes. All tender applications for sums greater than £15,000 per year will be required to use the London Tenders Portal as this process will follow tender procedures.

Only those organisations wishing to apply for grants for less than £15,000 a year, through the Community Grants Programme, will not be required to use the Portal. Applicants for the Community Grant Programme will need to complete an online form which they can access from the Community Grants Programme section of the Councils website.


Can we save the application and come back to it or does it all need to be uploaded at once? 2019-07-08T13:24:31+00:00

All organisations will submit their response by writing on an editable document that they download from the London Tenders Portal. This means that a copy of this document can be saved and then worked on at an organisation’s convenience. It is only after an organisation has uploaded the document to the portal and then clicked submit that they will then be unable to make changes to the document. As such, the Council strongly advises applicants to check over the document very carefully and to only press submit in the portal when they 100% satisfied with the quality of their bid.

Applications for under £15,000 per year will need to complete an e-form downloaded from https://www.croydon.gov.uk/community/advice/community-grants [the e-form will be available from early September]. This is sent back to the team via email and can therefore be completed at any organisations convenience.


Will a word limit be applied to tender responses? 2019-07-08T13:26:12+00:00

Yes. A word limit will be applied to the tender responses for the Outcome Programme. Details of these word limits can be found on the tender application form, available to download through the London Tenders Portal.


Will other organisations who ask questions and recieve answers have an unfair advantage? 2019-07-08T13:27:52+00:00

In order to ensure total transparency and to avoid biasing any organisation, the Council will publish all responses to questions that it receives during the open tender stage. These will be published via an uploaded document onto the London Tenders Portal and will be available for all registered suppliers to view. The Council will not publish the question and response to all if it contains commercially sensitive information.

For questions that are sufficiently general and can’t be answered by simply referring organisations to this Frequently Asked Questions document, entries will be made into this FAQ document and new versions published onto the Value Croydon website.


What if my organisation has already registered? 2019-07-08T13:29:42+00:00

London Tenders Portal is an open tender portal used by a range of public sector commissioning authorities. As such, any prospective provider can register their details and apply for work through it. Given this, some prospective applicants may already have their organisation’s details registered on the portal. All applicants who applied to the Community Fund in 2016 should have their supplier details already.

Providers with information already recorded on the London Tenders Portal may experience issues related to two problems:

Your organisation has previously been registered but you can’t find or don’t have access to the Email address used

If your organisation has previously been registered, the London Tenders Portal will prohibit you from re-registering the organisations name with a different email address. If you can’t remember or no longer have access to the email address used (e.g. if an ex-staff member did it) you will need to reset the email address associated with your organisations account on the London Tenders Portal. This can be done by contacting Proactis, the supplier of the London Tenders Portal, help desk:

Know the Email Address but can’t remember the password

If you know the email that was used to register but can’t remember the password, you can reset your password from the Suppliers Registration page on the London Tenders Portal.

Will my organisation be notified when the tender goes live? 2019-07-09T08:41:39+00:00

Yes, The Council will notify all organisations who attended one of the Council’s Community Fund engagement events, where the Council has contact details for that organisation.

Additionally, all the registered suppliers that have listed the following two as areas of interest will get a notification from the London Tenders Portal:

  • Region – Croydon
  • CPV code – Civic Betterment and Community Facility Support – 98133100-5

We will also be publishing when the tenders go live on our dedicated supplier website, Value Croydon.

if you need any further direction on accessin the tender documentation and responding to the tender plase feel free to email communityfund@croydon.gov.uk or call on 020 8760 5584

Will there be training and guidance on using the Portal? 2019-06-09T21:11:36+00:00

Yes, one of key points raised through the engagement events with the sector has been the challenge of using the London Tenders Portal. That’s why the Council has offered, at all three of the part 2 Engagement Events, assistance with registering on the Portal.

The Council will also be running a range of Support Sessions throughout the open tender period dealing with all aspects of the Portal, from registering, to navigating the portal and to uploading and submitting a bid.

Additionally, the Council will also publish through its dedicated supplier website, Value Croydon, a guide to registering and how to deal with common registration problems. This will sit alongside several videos produced by Proactis, the supplier of the London Tenders Portal, which will deal with all aspects of engaging with the Portal.


Your Proposed Project
Does the whole project need to cover the whole geographic area of the borough? 2019-07-08T22:08:49+00:00

No, bids will be evaluated on the extent the project meets their stated primary Outcome theme under the Community Fund Programme. In the Tender Application form, organisations are asked to be specific about which ward[s] their proposed project would provide a service to. Any project that focuses on a particular locality will be expected to evidence the need for that type of service in that geographic area. Organisations are encouraged to use Croydon Observatory as a data resource to demonstrate the need of specific localities in Croydon.


Will there be extra marks for innovative projects? 2019-07-08T13:35:36+00:00

Innovation is one of the principles of the Outcome programme. How the proposal will be evaluated can be found on page 27 and 28 of the Outcome Programme prospectus, downloadable from the London Tenders Portal.


What kind of partnership will be required? 2019-07-08T13:49:00+00:00

Improving collaboration is one of the Councils 6 key commissioning principles. As such, for all bids to the Outcome Programme, the Council strongly encourages suppliers to submit collaborative bids. For the quality evaluation assessment, 15% of the score will be based on how the organisation plans to collaborate with others. Collaboration can take many forms and may range from strong communication and sign posting to formal collaboration agreements and joint staffing arrangements.


Can we be successful even if we don’t submit a partnership bid? 2019-07-08T13:50:59+00:00

Yes, while the Council encourages all tender applications to collaborate, it is not a requirement for your organisation. Having said this, bids that offer clear evidence of partnership or collaboration agreements will be considered favourably. Collaboration can take many forms and may range from strong communication and sign posting to formal collaboration agreements and joint staffing arrangements.

Applications should note that for bids exceeding the guide maximum award of £40,000 that “extensive collaboration arrangements between 3 or more organisation and measures taken to ensure no duplication with other VCS organisations” is a stated requirement.


What support is on offer to help organisations create partnerships? 2019-07-08T22:04:15+00:00

The Council allotted time in all of the engagement events that it organised to allow VCS organisations to network and build the foundations for further organisational collaboration. The Council will continue with this commitment throughout all of the support sessions being run over the summer period (both at the Council & Infrastructure Organisation run events). The Council also welcomes VCS’s to make contact (please email communityfund@croydon.gov.uk and we may be able to put your organisation in touch with other VCS’s that you could collaborate with.

Additionally, the infrastructure organisations will be hosting events in the early stages of open tender stage for the Outcome Programme. These sessions have been specifically arranged to help prospective applicants network and form partnerships with other prospective applicants from the sector, assisting the sector to submit collaborative bids.


Costing Bids
Will the council make an offer of funding based on my bid? 2019-07-08T13:54:50+00:00

The council will not be making offers to applicants to the Outcome Programme as there will be no negotiation process. All applications will be judged on the quality and value for money of their proposed projects.

How will the council treat match funding? 2019-07-08T15:11:58+00:00

For the Outcome Programme, match funding, or any external funding sources which the organisation can secure will be treated favourably as it will help organisations demonstrate their proposed service is good Value for Money. The Council will evaluate the submitted costs in the budget template, and consider the following:

    • Are costs in line with the proposal made?
    • Staffing costs are benchmarked against local average
    • All staff are paid London Living Wage
    • Product/delivery costs are benchmarked against local average
    • The project is financially sustainable over the term of the contract
    • The administration costs are proportionate to the cost of running the project
  • Has match funding or in-kind support been committed from other sources

The value for money assessment contributes 30% to the total evaluation score of each bid.

If the proposed project, has already secured alternative Council funding, this should also be included in the budget template. Projects which are already in receipt of Council funding, cannot be funded again by the Community Fund. However different projects may be funded, or the original project can be upscaled/extended or delivered to a different part of the borough.


What excactly can the money be spent on? 2019-07-08T15:13:51+00:00

The Council, taking on feedback from the previous commissioning has been deliberately flexible with regard to what VCSO’s can use the funding for. The Council will allow:

  • Core costs – you must evidence how the funding of staff etc. will contribute to meeting the outcomes
  • Direct delivery of activities to meet outcomes
  • Purchase of equipment if it directly relates to project delivery and helps meet outcomes

The Council will not fund

  • Capital expenditure such as building works

Evaluation and Award
What is the method for scoring applications? 2019-07-08T15:16:05+00:00

All applications to the Outcomes Programme will be evaluated in 4 steps:

  • Step 1: Initial Screening
  • Step 2: Scoring
  • Step 3: Clarification
  • Step 4: Award

All bids will be initially screened to ensure they are complete compliant bids (Please see page 33 of the Outcomes Prospectus for further details).

For scoring, each Tender application form will be evaluated by a panel of evaluators who will score each of the 6 method statements on a scale from 5 excellent, to 0 unacceptable. Any bid which scores below a 2 for any question, or scores a cumulative quality score of below 42% on the 6 project questions will be disqualified.

Next, the evaluators will consider the budget template and make a value for money assessment.

The project quality scores and the value for money assessment will then be moderated by a panel and the total score for each project agreed and finalised. All bids will then be ranked within their specific Community Fund Programme (and by primary theme for those submitting to the Outcome Programme).

The community grants Programme will be evaluated in a broadly similar fashion but applicants will have to just fill in one e-form downloaded from https://www.croydon.gov.uk/community/advice/community-grants [the e-form will be available from early September].

The evaluation process for the Community Grants Programme will be undertaken three times a year by a single panel whom will review the submissions using the e-forms.

Will the assessors ask for clarification if unclear about anything written on the application? 2019-06-09T22:36:54+00:00

Yes, evaluators may seek clarification on points that are not understood.


Can we change the bids once they’ve been submitted? 2019-06-10T08:57:23+00:00

No, while organisations may be requested to provide clarification, there will be no ability to make revisions to submitted bids after the deadline. Deadlines for different programmes of Community Fund may differ so please check the various prospectuses.


When will we find out if we’ve been successful? 2019-07-08T15:21:09+00:00

We expect to notify Organisations in December 2019.


What documents and policies will we be required to submit? 2019-07-08T15:22:08+00:00

The Council has committed to reduce the burden on organisations, therefore documents and policies will only need to be submitted if your bid is successful. For the Outcomes Programmes the required evidence has also been made proportional to the requested bid amount. The only exception to this for the Outcomes Programme, is the requirement for financial information. For the Outcomes Programme, the organisation’s accounts will need to be submitted with the tender application form, so that the financial health of the organisation can be considered. For all other documents, the documents listed on page 25 and 26 of the Outcomes Prospectus, will not be required until January 2020.

What are the implications if we can’t produce a document and/or policy that has been requested? 2019-07-08T15:23:01+00:00

The Council has ensured that it is only asking for the documentation and financial evidence that it believes is absolutely necessary. We are seeking these in order to provide assurances about your organisation’s ability to effectively carry out the services that you specify within your bids. We’ve also ensured a proportional approach by requesting a greater range of documentation and financial evidence from those organisations requesting greater amounts.

However, the Council is attune to the need to support the sector through this process. Therefore, we strongly recommend organisations to get in touch as early as possible if they feel they might struggle in providing any of the documentation or evidence that’s been requested. Organisations can do this by emailing CommunityFund@Croydon.gov.uk for bids over £15,000 per year or Communitygrants@Croydon.gov.uk for bids below this threshold.

Can we get feedback on unsuccessful bids? 2019-07-08T15:24:13+00:00

Yes, the Council will provide feedback.


How should an organisation demonstrate its financial situation? 2019-07-09T09:24:48+00:00

When funding external agencies, the Council requires financial evidence to ensure that tax payer’s money is not being put at unnecessary risk due to the financial instability of any external body. To mitigate this risk, the Council always asks providers for at least some evidence of their financial activity and current position.

The Council is still committed to taking a proportional approach and is therefore requesting different levels of financial evidence depending on the level of funding being sought. For example, it is only for bidders requesting funding in excess of £30,000 per annum that we will request an independently reviewed set of accounts for the last financial year.

Applicants should be aware that unlike the other required documentation (e.g. policies, evidence of insurance etc.), which will be requested upon bids being deemed successful, financial evidence will need to be submitted when one submits their bid (both the Outcomes Tender Application Form and the Budget Template). This is to allow the Council to undertake the required financial checks in timely fashion.