A PLAN which will see county councillors given £945,000 to spend on projects to improve their divisions is set to be launched next week.

As part of the county council’s budget, it agreed that all 63 of them would be given £15,000 over 2018/19 and again in 2019/20.

Next week the county council’s cabinet will be asked to sign off plans for the Councillor Priority Fund.

All money must be spent on projects or services that ‘meet a recognised community need’ and ‘pump prime’ a commitment, rather than one that has been ongoing.

The proposal, which is likely to be passed by the cabinet next Tuesday, say that any unspent funds at the end of this current financial year can be rolled on to give a bigger pot in 2019/20.

As part of that, it could mean a councillor could choose to spend a total of £30,000 on a project as late as the end of January 2020.

In council papers, officers warn that councillors ‘will need to be mindful of equalities in determining how the funding should be allocated’.

Before the plan was formally agreed in the council’s budget in February, leader Ian Hudspeth said: “It would be each councillors’ decision how their £15,000 would be spent. They know best what the priority is on their own patch.

“I am sure many will view highway maintenance and repair as important, but others might choose to put funding into community buses, libraries or children’s centres.”

Officers say that the council has built on its £250,000 Communities Fund, which was agreed in February 2017. The point of that was to match fund schemes and projects to supplement services after cuts to funding the council receives.

All the projects ‘must address recognised needs of local communities in Oxfordshire’ – but can only be funded if they have ‘clearly defined costs and timescales’.

Projects must benefit communities and ‘be inclusive and provide good value for money’.

No money would be provided directly to any individuals or sole traders, profit making organisations, any organisation not based in the UK and others that give funds to other charities, individuals or organisations.

They must also not duplicate a service that already exists, things a statutory body is responsible for, activities with a religious or political purpose and holidays, trips or any travel overseas.

Organisations can bid for money from their councillors throughout the year on a rolling basis until January 31, 2020.

The council said it will notify any successful bidders by email, while unsuccessful applicants will get feedback on their proposal.

‘Where possible,’ the council said, it will help the organisations get money from an alternative source.

Any money given by councillors over £5,000 will require a funding agreement is in place before any money can be handed over.