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VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 8th July, 2015.

 

Present:  Councillor E. Williams (Chairman); Councillors Dr. I.J. Johnson, N. Moore, R.L. Traherne and C.J. Williams.

 

Also present: Ms. R. Connor (Glamorgan Voluntary Services) and Ms. K. Quinn (Atal-y-Fro).

 

 

199     APPOINTMENT OF HONORARY VICE-CHAIRMAN -

 

AGREED - T H A T Ms. K. Quinn (Atal-y-Fro) be appointed Honorary Vice-Chairman for the current municipal year.

 

 

200     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors L. Burnett, G.A. Cox, Ms. K.E. Edmunds and Mrs. M. Kelly Owen and Ms. L. Donovan (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board).

 

Councillor N. Moore informed the Committee that Councillor Burnett had been unable to attend the meeting as she was attending a book launch for two books that had been written by parents from Jenner Park Primary and Oakfield Primary Schools.  He circulated the books and advised that the authors had received assistance from local artists and storytellers and the project was in conjunction with the Communities and Families First Teams. 

 

 

201     MINUTES -

 

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the extraordinary meeting held on 23rd March, 2015 be accepted.

 

 

202     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

203     UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD (UHB) VOLUNTEER FRAMEWORK 2015-2018 (CVUHB) -

 

The Committee received a report on the UHB’s updated Volunteer Framework, which was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Cardiff and Vale UHB recognised the unique and important contribution that volunteers made in complementing the services it provided.  The UHB had in place an existing Volunteer Strategy and Framework, which had in the last four years supported the development of volunteering across the UHB.  This expansion of volunteers had been through the application of the framework which ensured this had occurred in a robust manner through the use of well governed processes, which provided protection to their patients, volunteers and the organisation.

 

These documents both required revision and updating to ensure they were fit for purpose for the UHB for 2015 – 2018.

 

The updated framework builds on the initial Volunteering Strategy, agreed by the Health Board in 2011.  The framework reaffirms the Health Board’s support and encouragement for the efforts of individual volunteers and voluntary organisations for the benefit of service users, their relatives and carers.  It provides numerous opportunities for expansion of current and new volunteering roles which complement the services provided by the paid workforce and which engage the expertise of service users.  This Volunteer Framework clearly sets out a vision for volunteering in the UHB.

 

Furthermore the Framework was underpinned by an operational procedure for the recruitment and management of volunteers which ensured that volunteering within the organisation was applied fairly and robustly, utilising processes which offered assurance to users, volunteers and the Health Board.

 

Volunteers support the patient experience by adding value to the role of paid staff. Presently the UHB has some 500 volunteers (351 known UHB volunteers and over 200 Third Sector Organisations colleagues who support within various areas) who were volunteering via safe robust processes.  They were undertaking roles which enhanced the patient experience of services provided by NHS staff.

 

There were numerous opportunities to continue the expansion of volunteering in current and new roles.  One recent new development was the recruitment of volunteers to support the Information and Support Centre at University Hospital Llandough.  Work was currently underway to explore other initiatives such as Therapeutic Care Volunteers, a role developed in South Tees NHS Trust.  In the lifetime of this Framework the UHB would increase the numbers of volunteers in line with the strategic aims set out in the Framework.

 

A Member asked what input the Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS) had with Cardiff and Vale UHB on the Volunteer Framework and Ms. Connor, advised that the documents had been developed by the Cardiff and Vale UHB Volunteer Programme and that it was a comprehensive document.  She further expressed the view that the Vale of Glamorgan Council could think about adopting a similar framework, as in future there would be a greater reliance on volunteers, and therefore Local Authorities needed to ensure that they had a Volunteer Framework in place. 

 

A Member asked how the Framework fitted with what the Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS) did in regard to volunteers for social care and health provision in the Vale.  In response, Ms. Connor advised that there was a Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Cardiff and Vale UHB and that the Glamorgan Voluntary Services was also contacted by the Cardiff and Vale UHB for the supply of volunteers.  Furthermore, there was a lot of linkage between the various organisations to the broader work of the Third Sector and the Social Care and Health Programme.

 

A Member asked how many of the UHB’s 500 volunteers were from the Vale, to which Ms. Connor advised that she was unsure of the actual number but would look into this, however, she was aware that there was a large number of volunteers in Llandough and Barry Hospitals.

 

A Member asked how an individual would go about volunteering and was advised that they would need to contact the Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS).

 

A Member queried whether any volunteer groups had been omitted from the Framework document as certain Third Sector groups had not been mentioned.  In response, Ms. Connor confirmed that she had contacted the relevant officer in the Cardiff and Vale UHB and raised this issue.  The Head of Business Management and Innovation advised that she would contact the relevant officer within Cardiff and Vale UHB to advise of the questions raised at the Committee meeting with a view to circulating the information to the Committee members.

 

AGREED - T H A T the updated UHB Volunteer Framework be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members in relation to the updated UHB Volunteer Framework 2015-2018.

 

 

204     VALE VOLUNTEER BUREAU (VVB) ANNUAL REVIEW 2014-15 (VS) -

 

Ms Connor, Chief Executive Officer of the Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS), took Members through a report to apprise the Committee of the achievements of the Vale Volunteer Bureau (VVB) within its Annual Review from April 2014 to March 2015.

 

Ms. Connor (GVS) informed Members that the VVB had had a very successful year with a lot of time and effort being focussed on the merging operation of the VVB and VCVS organisations to create the Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS).  Although the number of volunteers had remained approximately the same as the previous year, with around 1,300 enquiries, they had found that increasing numbers of people had been contacting the VVB in regard to volunteering opportunities were those who were not able to access the information online or did not have the confidence to do so. 

 

Attached at Appendix A to the report was a report on the Step Forward Project, which Ms Connor advised had been very successful.  The report highlighted the growing need for additional support required for individuals with confidence or mental health issues who accessed volunteering opportunities.  The Project was comprehensive in how it addressed the issues of these individuals. These volunteers would also have an opportunity to gain an Agored Cymru Accreditation in Volunteering and Community Participation in order to them build skills to assist them getting back into work. 

 

A Member queried the level of volunteers placed, in that a total of 683 potential volunteers were interviewed by staff, of which 360 were placed.  In response, Ms. Connor advised that there were reasons why potential volunteers had not been placed, for example they may not be ready or were simply gathering information prior to making a commitment to volunteering.  She expressed the view that this was the nature of volunteering, and there were a lot of reasons why individuals did not take up, or continue with, their volunteering opportunity.

 

A Member asked whether they knew the percentage for those volunteers with mental health problems and in response, Ms. Connor advised that the Step Forward Project focussed on individuals with mental health problems, however, she did not have the exact percentage to hand but would find out and relay the information back to Members. 

 

A Member queried whether there was a general trend in the levels of individuals leaving volunteering commitments.  Ms. Connor advised that there was no general trend; some individuals could be volunteering for 10 years or may dip in an out of volunteering placements.  The Volunteer Centre provided 1:1 sessions in order to ensure that safe and appropriate volunteering opportunities were provided for individuals.  Volunteering opportunities were also uploaded to the Wales Volunteering site and she expressed the view that it was very important that volunteering opportunities were wide-ranging and placed on the website, in order that individuals could access these opportunities.   

 

A Member queried what processes had been put in place for a member of staff on Maternity Leave, and Ms. Connor advised that maternity cover had been appointed and that the Agored Cymru training would be covered during this period. 

 

A Member asked what would happen once the project came to an end to which Ms. Connor advised that they would look for alternative sources of funding.  The service was currently working in partnership with Cardiff and Vale Action for Mental Health and Cardiff Volunteer Scheme on bids which would build on elements of the Step Forward Project and would run across the health authority footprints.

 

A Member queried whether there was any relationship between the economically difficult times at present and the number of volunteers.  Ms. Connor advised that she was not aware of a connection yet the number of people making enquiries about volunteering was increasing and that it was now part of the Job Centre Counsellors’ brief to look at volunteering opportunities for individuals.

 

A Member queried whether there would be an impact on an individual’s benefit if they volunteered and were long-term unemployed and Ms. Connor advised that there should not be any impact. 

 

AGREED - T H A T the contents of the Vale Volunteer Bureau (VVB) Annual Review 2014-15 including the appended report on the Step Forward Project 2014-15 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

The Annual Report is presented as required under the terms of the Vale of Glamorgan Council / Vale Volunteer Bureau Deed of Grant and to apprise Members.

 

 

205     VALE CENTRE FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICES (VCVS) ANNUAL REPORT -

 

Ms. Connor, Chief Executive Officer of Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS), provided the Committee with a report which detailed the work of the VCVS that had been undertaken throughout the year April 2014 - March 2015.

 

During 2014/15, as a final development of the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the Vale Volunteer Bureau (VVB) and VCVS, the Joint Working Group, established by Trustees of both organisations, moved further towards developing a new organisation, Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS), into which would merge both VCVS and the VVB.   Extensive work was undertaken regarding the structure of the new organisation, which was agreed in February 2015. Assets from both VCVS and the VVB were being transferred into the new organisation which would continue to deliver the services previously delivered by VCVS and the VVB.

 

The website was of vital use with the increase in the digitisation of services, it was important to ensure that information was provided in as many ways as possible. 

 

In terms of Information Services provided, the Vista quarterly magazine continued to be gratefully received and colleagues in Health were happy with the Health and Social Care Bulletin released on a regular basis.  

 

The Practical Services provided by VCVS were very important and were a lifeline for some organisations.

 

The VCVS was a conduit for information for many other organisations via various networks and forums, including the Vale Trustee Network, Vale Housing and Homelessness Forum and Vale Voluntary Action and Community Development Network.

 

The Committee was informed that funding had decreased again, however, they provided various funding services, including funding surgeries and briefings.  There was now greater competition for less money.  The funding surgeries provided best value as groups could talk directly with the funder.

 

The VCVS had provided training events throughout the year on various topics, such as Social Media, Internet Fundraising and Negotiating and Influencing Meetings.

 

Partnership consultation and joint working was a very important and large part of the work carried out by the VCVS.  Organisations no longer had spare capacity, therefore it was important that the VCVS attended partnership meetings to ensure that information was disseminated to joint working groups. Health, Social Care and Wellbeing was also a very important area of their work. 

 

VCVS delivered various projects in partnership with other organisations, one of which was Heritage Lottery funded “Barry: A New Community”, a draft copy of the independent evaluation was attached to the report at Appendix 1.

 

Communities 2.0 had delivered a digital inclusion project across the Vale of Glamorgan, which was funded by Welsh Government.  It had been very successful and the Digital Champion volunteers would remain in the libraries following the end of the project.  The final report for this project was attached to the report at Appendix 2.

 

Following the presentation of the report, a Member thanked Ms. Connor for the work carried out by the VCVS and enquired as to the legacy of the Heritage Lottery funded project, “Barry: A New Community”.  They also queried as to why the permanent exhibition was based in Butetown, Cardiff.  In response, Ms. Connor advised that the exhibition would be shown around the Vale of Glamorgan; however, they did not have a site in the Vale to house the exhibition.  She further confirmed that all schools in the Vale of Glamorgan had been given a memory stick which contained all of the project information and feedback received was that it had been a vital resource for the future, particularly for A-level students.  It had been the first Heritage Lottery funded project in the Vale about Social History and had been a very productive project.  Ms. Connor advised that the project had lasted 22 months and cost approximately £25,000, and confirmed that it had been reported to the Barry Regeneration Board.

 

Ms. Connor advised that a Steering Group had been established which included various organisations, including the Local Authority, Newydd Housing and libraries which had committed to continue the support for the Digital Champion Volunteers.  The Digital Inclusion Project had provided impetus to develop the Vale’s digital strategy which included support for the continuation of the Digital Champions.  A training handbook had also been developed which library staff had been trained on. 

 

A Member asked whether any digital inclusion work had been carried out in rural areas of the Vale of Glamorgan, as broadband connection was very poor in certain areas.  Ms. Connor advised that the “Get the Vale Online” project was about improving digital literacy and enabling individuals to access digital services rather than about broadband connectivity itself.

 

A Member asked whether any of the funding for the project came directly from Welsh Government and Ms. Connor advised that funding came indirectly from the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA). 

 

A Member asked whether there was a mechanism for deciding which projects would go ahead and also whether the list of voluntary organisations was reviewed to see if they were still active.  Ms. Connor advised that once a year their membership log was updated.  It had been a difficult task this year as they had to discern whether the organisation wished to renew their membership and also whether they were happy to transfer to the new organisation, Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS).  Officers from the VCVS attended as many joint working groups as possible in order to ensure engagement with third sector and voluntary groups, however, it was a challenge and they were grateful when the health sector and local government looked into partnership arrangements.

 

Ms. Connor advised that she attended a number of the key strategic partnership meetings. Ms. Quinn (Atal y Fro) confirmed that she also attended as many as possible yet there was huge pressure on the VCVS and congratulated Ms. Connor and her team for the huge amount of work they carried out and expressed the view that funding surgeries were fantastic.  Ms. Connor advised that it was a struggle to get information from the various groups once they received funding in order to be able to report good news in relation to the success of projects.


A Member asked the Leader, and also a Member of the Committee, whether there was an update on future funding, to which he advised that there had been a lot of discussion with various organisations which were currently ongoing.  A funding package had been agreed for this year and they would look at this package again next year. 

 

A Member asked how funding lobbying worked and in response Ms. Connor advised there had been a decrease in funding from Welsh Government of 4.17% in the last year and that the funding provided by Welsh Government was for both the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and the 19 County Voluntary Councils (CVC) across Wales.

 

AGREED - T H A T the contents of the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (VCVS) Annual Report and the appended reports be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

The Annual Report is presented as required under the terms of the Vale of Glamorgan Council / Vale Centre for Voluntary Services Deed of Grant and to apprise Members.

 

 

 

 

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