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VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE

 

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 8th May, 2014.

 

Present: Councillor N. Moore (Chairman); Councillor E. Williams (Vice-Chairman); Councillors C.P.J. Elmore, Dr. I.J. Johnson and R.A. Penrose.

 

Representatives from the Voluntary Sector: Ms. T. Burris (Age Concern), Ms. R. Connor (Vale Centre for Voluntary Services [VCVS]), Ms. L. Donovan (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board [C&VUHB]), Ms. L. Pritchard (Vale Centre for Voluntary Services [VCVS]), Ms. A. Steere (Vale Volunteer Bureau [VVB]) and Ms. K. Quinn (Atal y Fro).

 

 

1104   APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors Ms. R. Birch, G.A. Cox, Ms. K. Edmunds and Mrs. M. Kelly Owen; Ms. A. Harris (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board) and Ms. C. Chapman (MIND in the Vale).

 

 

1105   MINUTES – 

 

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 22nd October, 2013 be approved as a correct record, subject to the amendment that Ms. K. Quinn from Atal y Fro was in attendance at the meeting.

 

           

1106   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – 

 

Ms. R. Connor and Ms. L. Pritchard from the VCVS declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 5 – Allocation of Funding under the Voluntary Action Scheme 2014/15 in that their organisation had submitted an application for funding and would vacate the room when this item was under consideration.

 

 

1107   COMMUNITIES FIRST – THE STORY SO FAR –

 

The Committee received a presentation from Colin Davies, Manager of Barry Communities First Cluster Team, to apprise them of the work carried out by the team in Barry.  Communities First is an initiative which supports the Welsh Government’s Tackling  Poverty Agenda and works with the most disadvantaged people in the most deprived areas of Barry; with the aim of contributing to the alleviation and mitigation of persistent poverty.  At present their work is carried out within the wards of Cadoc, Buttrills, Castleland, Court and Gibbonsdown; the cluster population of these wards is approximately 16,440.  The initiative had three main themes, Learning, Health and Prosperity and currently has funding until May 2016. 

 

Mr. Davies informed the Committee that the prosperity objective was aimed at supporting individuals into employment and covered different groups such as 16-24 year olds who were not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and 25s and over.  The Communities First Team had established a strong working relationship with Job Centre Plus and Careers Wales and had recently organised a jobs fair in the Memorial Hall in Barry which had been very successful with over 1,250 attendees.  Several training organisations were present and provided information on important basic skills such as interview techniques. Another of the initiative’s aims was to develop links with employer organisations in order to achieve the objective of getting job seekers back into work.  One such successful project had been established with Admiral Insurance, which included workshops involving mock interviews which had led to job offers for some attendees. 

 

The Health objective aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and involved a range of services such as weight loss groups, smoking cessation clinics and drug and alcohol misuse support sessions. 

 

The Learning objective involved putting a Families First programme providing support for individuals with children aged 0-11 years and involved eight cluster schools in the Vale which provided support for children in areas such as ICT, Science, Technology, English and Maths.  In addition a school transition project had been established, which aimed at increasing the confidence of year 6 and 7 pupils moving from primary to secondary school and had assisted over 2,000 pupils in the last two years. 

 

Mr. Davies advised that the future challenges for the service were to build on and continue the programme’s successes and consolidate those achievements and to continue to work with a variety of voluntary organisations to this end. 

 

Following the presentation the representative from the Vale Volunteer Bureau (VVB) advised the Committee that they worked very effectively with Barry Communities First Team and had directed potential volunteers to them which enabled them to provide a more holistic approach for some of the most vulnerable people in the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

Following the presentation it was

 

AGREED – T H A T Mr. Davies be thanked for his informative presentation.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To have regard to the work of the Barry Communities First programme.

 

 

1108   ALLOCATION OF FUNDING UNDER THE VOLUNTARY ACTION SCHEME 2014/15 (DR) –

 

The Committee received a report which sought their views regarding the awarding of grants under the Council’s Voluntary Action Scheme 2014/15. 

 

The Committee was informed that the "Arrangements and Priorities for Funding" in respect of the scheme was considered by them at their meeting on 10th July 2013 and confirmed by Cabinet at its meeting on 29th July, 2013.  The availability of this funding was advertised in local newspapers with applications invited for return by the end of October 2013.  Applications received were circulated to Partnership Co-ordinators and other relevant Council officers for their views / recommendations as regards funding. 

 

The applications received together with the Partnership Co-ordinators’ views and recommendations in respect of each of the applications were attached as an appendix to the report received by the Committee.  The Application Guidelines given to all applicants which provided information for eligibility requirements, priorities for funding, and other administrative issues were also received by the Committee, as were details of grants already committed in respect of 2014/15 and 2015/16 which totalled £158,000 and £102,000 respectively.  Members were afforded the opportunity to view the full application forms as submitted by applicants prior to the meeting by contacting the report author.

 

Following receipt of the report a Member requested a progress report on the Barry Elim Church project which had received previous grant funding and also queried whether Members of the Committee could more easily access the Voluntary Action Scheme applications.  The Committee was informed that in view of data protection issues and the format of applications received, it had been agreed to afford Members the opportunity to view the forms prior to the meeting.  Furthermore, it was confirmed that the applications had been considered by the officer group and had been discussed in detail by that group. 

 

A discussion ensued on the various applications and the Committee was informed by a representative from the voluntary sector that in the near future third sector organisations would be bidding for public sector contracts in competition with much larger organisations and therefore needed to prepare for this and that a Consortium Development Officer would help with this objective.  A Member stated that projects allocated funding through the Voluntary Action Scheme should be accountable on an annual basis with reports being made to the Committee.  The Committee was advised that, over the years, the scheme had been refined and all projects now had allocated Supervising Officers to oversee the projects.  These officers ensured that each project submits quarterly claims and year end reports to the satisfaction of the Supervising Officer before release of grant is made. 

 

The Committee was further advised that in the past an application with a medium priority would be likely to receive funding, however, this was not necessarily the case now with budgetary constraints.  Furthermore, the Committee was informed that under the new Social Services Act it was necessary to work with various enterprises which provided an opportunity to work with smaller organisations and that the appointment of a Consortium Development Officer for the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services was new and innovative and should help with service provision.

 

Following consideration of the report, it was

 

AGREED –

 

(1)       T H A T applications 7, 8 and 14 referred to as high priority for grant assistance as detailed in the report and listed in the table below, be recommended to Cabinet for approval: 

 

 

 

 

 

Draft Allocation

 

 

 

 

 

2014/15

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

 

 

 

 

Grant Requested

per Annum*

Single Yr

Multi Yr

 

Ref

Applicant / Project

Details

Funding

Funding

Funding

Funding

Comments

 

 

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

£’000

 

FORWARD COMMITMENTS ALREADY GRANTED.

 

0

158

102

0

 

Applications approved under 2014/15 scheme:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Applications seeking three year funding:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

Crossroads in the Vale (EMI)

-  Social inclusion groups for those with dementia

Project expanding existing groups from 2 no. to 5 no.

-  Employees costs 9 hrs / wk £14k pa + other costs £8k

(Additional groups 2 no. in Barry & 1 no. in Penarth)

22

0

20

18

16

Health, Social Care & Well Being – High Priority

Supports individuals to remain active and carers to continue in their caring role.

Organisation currently receiving c£300k pa funding from VoG Council.

Exit strategy – None other than further grant applications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

Dinas Powys Voluntary Concern

-  "Independent living" project

 

Expansion of existing service delivery through increased opening hours at Murchfield Resource

4

0

4

4

4

Health, Social Care & Well Being – High

Priority

Centre.

Balance of funding from internal reserves.

-  Employees costs 9 hrs / wk £4k pa + other costs £1k

       (Service provided out of Murchfield Community Centre)

(Subject to developing a charging policy to users)

Supports individuals to remain active and to maintain contact with their peers.

Exit strategy – increased volunteer base, increased fund raising.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

Vale Centre for Voluntary Services

-  3rd Sector consortia development

Appointment of a Consortium Development Officer to assist with 3rd sector bidding for public sector contracts

-  Employees costs pt 21 hrs / wk £17k pa + other costs £7k

(Community Enterprise Ctre., Skomer Rd., Barry)

24

0

21

21

21

Health, Social Care & Well Being – High Priority

Regeneration – High Priority

Positive development to prepare the third sector to bid for public sector contracts.  Some concern re level of oncosts

Organisation core funded by VoG Council £84k pa

Exit strategy – future costs would be incorporated within funding bids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL NOW RECOMMENDED

 

 

45

43

41

TOTAL NOW RECOMMENDED

 

OVERALL TOTAL APPROVED

 

 

203

145

41

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUDGET (ASSUMED)

£203,000

*approximate

 

 

 

*delete as appropriate


 

(2)       T H A T a progress report in respect of Barry Elim Church project be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To progress the award of grants in accordance with the approved scheme.

 

(2)       In order that the Committee can monitor the progress of this project.

 

(N.B.  Ms. R. Connor and Ms. L. Pritchard were not present when this item was being discussed.)

 

 

1109   VOLUNTARY SECTOR PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT AND ACTION PLAN – PROGRESS REPORT (MD) –

 

The Committee received a progress report on the Voluntary Sector Partnership Agreement and Action Plan. 

 

The Action Plan and monitoring report were made in accordance with the provisions of the Compact with the Voluntary Sector.  Progress on the Action Plan was attached at Appendix A to the report with additional items introduced since the last report shown in bold type.  It was noted that the Action Plan reflected the Council’s corporate priorities. 

 

AGREED – T H A T the progress made against the current Action Plan attached at Appendix A to the report be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members.

 

 

1110   THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT FRAMEWORK (MD) –

 

The Corporate Consultation Officer presented the report advising that public engagement was the process by which organisations invited citizens to participate in deliberation, dialogue and action in relation to issues that they care about.  When done well it allowed Vale of Glamorgan residents to have a meaningful say in the decisions that affected them and provided the Council with a wealth of information that enabled it to take important decisions.  The Vale of Glamorgan Council was committed to improving the way in which it engaged its residents and key stakeholders in decision-making.  The Framework sets out how this would be achieved and offered guidance to staff.

 

There were a number of drivers for improved public engagement: The Local Government Measure (2011) established the principle that service improvement must now be monitored by a number of indicators including residents’ views.  This made capturing meaningful feedback from residents vital.

 

In May 2012 the Wales Audit Office published a report, Public Engagement in Local Government.  The report concluded that "public engagement activity frequently lacks strategic direction and co-ordination; feedback is rarely provided to the public; and monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the public engagement are weak".  Following this report it was expected that there would be greatly increased scrutiny of the manner in which local authorities in Wales undertook consultation and engagement work.

 

The specific Welsh regulations under the Equality Act (2010) required that consultation be undertaken by services in order to fulfil the specific duties related to the requirement to collage and publish "Equality Information".  There was therefore a legal obligation placed upon public sector bodies to build the collection of equality-related data and evidence into its service provision.  Consultation should be one of the specific methods used to collect this information. 

 

The Williams Commission Report on Public Services Delivery and Governance noted that "Citizen engagement influences perceptions of service quality: those who feel they are kept informed of service performance and feel they can influence decisions are more likely to report they are satisfied with services; whereas those who feel uninformed or excluded form decision making are less likely to be satisfied.  Re-shaping public services in ways we describe elsewhere in our report also depends critically upon effective engagement with the users of those services and with communities more generally".  

 

The Council’s Corporate Standards for Public Engagement had been informed by the guidelines from Participation Cymru.  The Committee was informed that The Framework was a useful tool for Officers and the Council was committed to effective public engagement and consultation.

 

In response to a query, the Committee was informed that with regard to co-production engagement and consultation projects, the key factors would be the stakeholders involved and the project.

 

Following a query from a Member on the progress of Vale Viewpoint, the Committee was informed that there were currently 1,100 members and that they would now be looking to recruit from under-represented groups.  The Member requested that it be ensured that Welsh speakers are represented in the Vale of Glamorgan area.  A Member queried the timescales and events for this project and whether it would have a website.  In response Members were advised that the Council was in the process of working with the Local Service Board and all consultation and engagement information could be found on the Vale of Glamorgan website, including a calendar of events.

 

Following a query as to whether a breakdown of the Vale Viewpoint applications by Ward would be possible it was agreed that the Corporate Consultation Officer would look into the possibility of providing this information.   A representative from VCVS informed the Committee that their e-bulletin Vista would be sent out in July in order to inform hard to reach groups, particularly in the rural Vale, of various topics such as event information, news, funding and training. 

 

After consideration of the report, it was

 

AGREED – T H A T the Vale of Glamorgan Public Engagement Framework and associated Action Plan be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members and Voluntary Sector partners on the Council’s Corporate Standards for Public Engagement and consultation to ensure that this work is carried out in accordance with these Standards.

 

 

1111   VALE VOLUNTEER BUREAU (VVB) ANNUAL REVIEW 2012-13 (VS) –

 

Ms. Steere from the Vale Volunteer Bureau (VVB) presented the Committee with their Annual Review which contained the achievements from April 2012 to March 2013. 

 

The VVB’s five year strategic plan was reviewed annually at the VVB Trustee Board meetings and they work within a set of minimum standards for Volunteer Bureau throughout Wales which are subject to the Welsh Government’s Partnership Agreement.

 

Ms. Steere informed the Committee that staff responded to 3,882 enquires from potential volunteers and recruiting organisations through the bureau, outreach and young person’s service and also via the Volunteering Wales website www.volunteering-wales.net .  A total of 799 potential volunteers were interviewed by staff of which 455 were placed. Their award for Investing in Volunteers was also renewed in 2013.

 

The VVB had received additional funding from the BIG Lottery to further develop the work they carried out with young people. The aim of this project was to engage with young unemployed people 25 and under, to offer them support while volunteering and provide them with the opportunity to gain an Agored Cymru accreditation in Volunteering and Community Involvement. Through GwirVol and BIG Lottery funding the VVB were able to retain their full time Youth Volunteering Officer post.  As part of their work with young people the VVB also ran a youth led grants panel known as "Dish out Dosh".  This group of young people was recruited and trained to administer a grant of £10,000 which funded a total of six youth led projects in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

The VVB was the local co-ordinating partner for the Millennium Volunteering Programme (MVP) that recognised the achievements of young people aged 14-25. During this year, 115 young people registered with 63 certificates for 50 hours, 15 certificates for 100 hours and five certificates for 200 hours volunteering were issued. In addition to this nine Millennium Volunteering 50 hour sports certificates were awarded.  In addition to the MVP the VVB was also able to offer young people further recognition of their volunteering via the Agored Cymru accreditation in Volunteering and Community Involvement.  This was offered at level 1-3 and was funded through the BIG Lottery and the 14-19 annual development plan.

 

During the reporting period the VVB was also successful in applying for European funding via the Engagement Gateway Scheme to further enhance their work with young people not in education, employment or training. The aim of this project was to engage with 25 young people to improve their soft skills, gain an accreditation and to have a positive outcome which included volunteering, training and securing paid employment. The funding for this project came to an end in September 2012. 

 

The VVB had also increased their presence in the wider Vale and as a result 258 people had been supported to find suitable volunteering opportunities.  Another success of outreach had been the continuation of their work with Penarth Job Centre Plus.  During this reporting period the demand for their service had increased so much so that they had to double the number of sessions being offered in Penarth.  To ensure diversity when recruiting volunteers the VVB targeted those who were retired or approaching retirement by linking in with the Vale 50+ Strategic Forum as well as holding regular presentations for the Cardiff and Vale Pre-Retirement Society.  There had also been a focus on encouraging those who had experienced mental health issues to engage in volunteering.  Furthermore, during this reporting period the VVB was informed that they had been successful in securing funding to run a two year supported volunteering project for those 25+.  The Committee was informed that in the reporting period the monetary value of volunteering in the Vale of Glamorgan was almost £35 million, an increase of over £5 million from the previous year. 

 

As part of Volunteers Weeks the VVB held the annual appreciate event on Kings Square, Barry, with a range of free activities for all the family.  This was the second year that this event had been held; it was well supported by the sector and volunteers gave their skills and time to make this event a huge success.  The Committee was further informed that during the reporting period the VVB secured a shop fronted premises on Boverton Road for a three month pilot.  The pilot was so successful that the VVB were able to secure additional funding and have extended the lease until March 2015.

 

Following an organisational review a number of recommendations were made to improve efficiency and effectiveness, one recommendation was to restructure the organisation and create a new deputy and volunteer development officer post.

 

Outside of the timescale of this report the VVB had been successful in securing funding from the Vale of Glamorgan’s Voluntary Action Scheme to run a supported volunteering project for those 25+ who were unemployed or economically inactive.  The demand was so great the VVB was looking at additional funding to run a specific mental health volunteering project, which would be a joint collaboration project between the VVB and Cardiff and Vale Action for Mental Health.

 

Ms. Steere informed the Committee that the VVB was audited by the Welsh Government in Summer 2013.  The outcome of the audit showed that they had very good controls over governance and had strong financial controls.  In addition the audit identified many instances of good practice and the report had been circulated to all Members.

 

Following consideration of the report it was

 

AGREED – T H A T Ms. Steere be thanked for her informative report.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To have regard to the contents of the report.

 

 

1112   THE IMPACT OF FUNDING REDUCTIONS ON VOLUNTARY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS – VALE CENTRE FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICES (VCVS) – (VS) –

 

Prior to the presentation of this report, Ms. R. Connor from the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (VCVS) introduced Ms. Linda Pritchard, Health and Social Care Facilitator for VCVS, who would be presenting the report to the Committee. 

 

The report outlined the impact of funding reductions on the voluntary organisations and services in the Vale of Glamorgan.  VCVS acknowledged the pressures which local authorities worked to and the reductions in budgets and advised that they were keen to work with the Council to ensure that there was a range of voluntary and statutory services for vulnerable people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Ms. Pritchard was keen to emphasise the interdependencies of funding from different organisations and that the VCVS would welcome a co-ordinated approach statutory funding. 

 

Funding reductions in previous years meant that some voluntary organisations were not achieving full cost recovery and therefore needed to find subsidies from other areas.

 

A recent review of voluntary sector Service Level Agreements by the Local Authority was welcomed as it helped achieve clarity in terms of expectations and performance, contributed to strategic objectives and greater understanding of the impact of funding reductions.

 

Ms. Pritchard shared with the Committee the results of a recent survey to voluntary organisations on the impact of funding reductions of 5%, 7.5% or 12%. The results would be useful for looking at services with greater clarity but could impact on services to vulnerable people and carers.

 

Ms. Pritchard informed the Committee that the VCVS would appreciate the opportunity to work with the Council on an Equality Impact Assessment which could highlight the impact of reductions on individuals with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. 

 

Ms. Pritchard informed the Committee that funding reductions could have a knock-on effect of reducing the number of volunteers supported by voluntary organisations.  Furthermore, joint and integrated working initiatives could also be affected by funding reductions.  Ms. Pritchard advised that they welcomed the opportunity to comment on the impact of possible funding reductions and to highlight the impact on frontline services.

 

Following consideration of the report it was

 

AGREED – T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In order that Cabinet can consider the points contained within the report and work towards an integrated service provision where possible.

 

 

1113   DATES OF VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE MEETINGS –

 

The Committee was informed that the dates for the upcoming municipal year would be:

 

            9th July, 2014

            15th October, 2014

            11th February, 2015.

 

 

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