THE way charities, community groups and voluntary organisations can apply for council grants will be streamlined.

Cuts to the budget have been reversed and decisions on funding will be "depoliticised", council chiefs have promised.

The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Strategy (VCSE), which sets out the changes, was approved by the cabinet on Monday.

Cllr Nadim Muslim, who is responsible for the Stronger Communities portfolio, said that the council is "reshaping" its relationship with the sector.

He said: “This will bring it into one place so that we are able to track this money centrally. It will ensure that we are constantly reviewing priorities. One thing that we want to make sure with this is that it’s fluid."

A pooled budget, which will be managed by the chief executive’s directorate, has been drawn together from several existing funding streams and external organisations, giving the sector a grand total of £2.3m to bid for.

Chief executive Tony Oakman said that the move has been welcomed by the third sector which helped designed the new policy.

Council leader David Greenhalgh said that politicians will no longer sit on committees which award these grants.

Instead, town hall officers will make decisions according to "strict guidelines" in a move which he promises will "depoliticise" the process.

He said: “We think the community sector is actually an enabler of this council and we actually see the benefit."