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VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 11th February, 2015.

 

Present:  Councillor E. Williams (Chairman); Councillor N. Moore ( Vice Chairman) Councillors L. Burnett, G.A. Cox, Ms. K. Edmunds, Dr. I.J. Johnson, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, R.A. Penrose and C.J. Williams.

 

Also present: Ms. R. Connor (Vale Centre for Voluntary Services), Ms. A. Steere (Vale Volunteer Bureau) and Ms. T. Burris (Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale).

 

 

878     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – 

 

These were received from Ms. A. Harris (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board).

 

 

879     MINUTES – 

 

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 23rd September, 2014 be approved as a correct record, subject to it being noted that Councillor Ms. K. Edmunds was present at the meeting.

 

 

880     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – 

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

881     RESHAPING SERVICES – A NEW CHANGE PROGRAMME FOR THE COUNCIL (REF) –

 

The Head of Performance and Improvement, in presenting the reference which had been considered by Cabinet on 26th January 2015, advised that the report provided an update on the development of the Reshaping Services Programme.  Cabinet had also approved that detailed service reviews be identified for Tranches 1 and  2 of the programme and that the report be referred to the Community Liaison Committee, the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee, the Local Service Board and the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) for consideration. The Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) had also received the report at its meeting on 10th February 2015 and would be referring its recommendations to Cabinet for further consideration on 23rd February 2015. 

 

The aim of the strategy was to reshape the Council to enable it to meet the future needs of the citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan within the context of unprecedented financial challenges.  Stage One of the challenge process had been overseen by a Challenge Group which comprised of the Leader, Deputy Leader and portfolio holder of the service area.  The challenge group was supported by a Programme Board who would manage the overall programme, with the sponsor of the programme being the Managing Director.  Appendix A to the report illustrated the proposed governance arrangements for the Reshaping Services Programme and its projects.  It was proposed that the first tranche of projects in the programme plan would be developed as detailed in the following table:

 

Cabinet Approval to proceed to stage two

February 2015

Stage 2 Business Case development

February – August 2015

Cabinet / Scrutiny Committee Consideration of Business Case

Autumn 2015

Implementation of Approved Projects

January 2016 – July 2016

 

The challenge process had been designed to be repeated throughout the duration of the programme to ensure ongoing and rigorous challenge of all service areas on a continuing basis.  The process would allow lessons learned from projects in the Vale of Glamorgan and elsewhere to inform future tranches of projects. 

 

In considering the report reference was made to Appendix I which provided a summary of the proposals and referred to proposed new and existing projects with the assumption that the savings identified as part of the review would be delivered in 2016/17 and 2017/18.  Following final approval by Cabinet in February 2015, Committee was advised that programme teams would be established and discussions held with Town and Community Councils and the Third Sector. 

 

In recognising that Ms. Connor, Vale Centre for Voluntary Services, was a member of the Programme Board, a Member of the Committee asked what she considered to be the benefits and risks from the Third Sector’s point of view.  Ms. Connor advised that the Programme Board was scheduled to meet on 25th February, advising that the capacity to engage from the voluntary service had been greatly reduced over previous years as a result of funding reductions. In particular she acknowledged that attendance at a range of meetings throughout the process may prove difficult for some of the organisations because of capacity issues.  Although, it was accepted that it was a major challenge for the sector they were still keen to be involved as they were concerned with regard to quality of service for recipients. 

 

However, Ms. Connor also mentioned the funding for the third sector for a Consortium development project which she considered may possibly have scope to include within in it the Reshaping Services agenda.  The Third Sector were also keen for the Local Authority to consider providing an up to date list of community assets which other Local Authorities throughout Wales had apparently published for assets within their localities. This she stated would allow the Third Sector to submit expressions of interests for consideration.

 

A Member raised concern in relation to asset transfers and the ability of organisations to develop business cases for such.  Ms. Connor advised that the majority of the Third Sector did not rely solely on Local Authority funding, but if they were applying for Lottery funding, one of the questions they were now being asked was whether they had funding from the Local Authority and, if not, this was now reducing the opportunity to receive Lottery funding with it making it more difficult for  successful applications. The length of time applications were also now taking had become longer with some taking approximately 18 months or more.  This, together with all the other difficulties they faced was now placing further pressures on the sector. In referring to necessary skills to undertake business cases Ms. Connor stated that the Voluntary Action Council would assist the Third Sector in making business case applications if required, but the main issue from her point of view, was that you could not make a voluntary service take on a service, the volunteers who sat on the various committees would have come together to support a particular cause and it was her view that they may not wish to consider taking on other services.

 

A Member, in referring to the statement in the Cabinet reference 'that failure to deliver was deemed not an option' queried what the option for the Council would be  if the Third Sector did not have the skills or resources or did not wish to take on any extra services. In response, the Head of Performance and Improvement advised that it was important that the Council explored every option, it could not make third parties take on services, but it had to be accepted that cuts from the Local Authority budget were required. He also stressed that the Reshaping Services Programme would include efficiency savings, income generation and the possibility of setting up companies as they would allow for some constraints which the Council was currently bound by, to be freed up.

 

A Member who had been present at the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) the previous evening stated that a number of similar questions had been raised at that meeting which were also to be referred to Cabinet for consideration. He advised that he did not want to rehearse the comments made at that meeting but pointed out that it was important for the Council to look at the Reshaping Services Agenda and any options that could be considered for the future.  He did however, refer to the procurement of services, with it being accepted that it was important that this was taken into account when considering the process. Further reference was also made to community benefits as a result of the reshaping services programme which had already been made in respect of a number of current projects which had resulted in extremely successful increases to Welsh Government targets.

 

Having considered the report, it was subsequently

 

AGREED – T H A T, in recognising that future updates would be presented to the Committee as and when available, the report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In recognition of the process and programme for the Reshaping Services agenda.