I am the Treasurer of the StreetWorks project which is financed by TFL. Normally TFL manage the community collaboration budget in-house however what makes StreetWorks unusual is that we are a community-led project and so TFL have given us the cash to oversee. In practice what this means is that TFL have transferred funds to Lambeth Council and Lambeth sends funds to the bank account of Norwood Forum, of which I am also the Treasurer. Nor
wood Forum, acting on behalf of Norwood Forum and Tulse Hill Forum who are the drivers of the project, segregate StreetWorks funds from Norwood Forum funds and produces separate reports to each body. To give it an extra twist Lambeth Council are also funding side-projects related to StreetWorks and have deposited cash with Norwood Forum to also maintain on a segregated basis. This may sound quite daunting but it's not so difficult.
Of crucial importance is governance. All decisions on spending are taken at the Steering Group and we create annual budget headings to guide us. It is my responsibility as Treasurer to give a sense check to expenses and advise the Steering Group of overspends to budget. My biggest responsibility is to arrange payment which involves getting cheques signed and delivered. I think we have a good reputation for paying people on time and without any bother.
As mentioned this is very innovative and is likely to set a precedent. Community groups managing private and council money makes more sense as we can react to projects rapidly with a lot less bureaucratic process. We write a lot of cheques mostly for small amounts and if we had to complete requisition orders for each item and wait for the cash to turn up it would be a nightmare.
Personally I really enjoy being involved in the project. As Treasurer I run a simple spreadsheet which auto-checks itself and doesn't require a lot of maintenance. Also more importantly I like being part of a group who actually do things and improves our neighbourhood. Little things like giving my input on bicycle racks may seem small and insignificant but someone has to and why not me!
Here I am at the opening of Station Rise, on the left behind the Mayor - in my high vis jacket!