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VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 14th October, 2015.

 

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

 

Also present: Ms. Rachel Connor (Glamorgan Voluntary Services) and Ms. Linda Donovan (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board).

 

 

510     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillor Ms. K.E. Edmunds, Teresa Burris (Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale), Ms. Abigail Harris (Cardiff and Vale UHB) and Ms. Kay Quinn (Atal-y-Fro).

 

 

511     MINUTES –  

 

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 8th July, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

512     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 5 - Barry Elim Church ‘Can Do’ Project, the nature of the interest was that he is a Local Authority (LA) appointed Governor at Barry Comprehensive School, one of the schools involved in the Project.

 

 

513      IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 2: ANNUAL REVIEW OF PERFORMANCE 2014/15 (MD) –

 

The Committee was presented with the Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2014/15, which contained performance and improvement information for Improvement Objectives agreed in April 2014.

 

The Council's Part 1 Improvement Plan for 2014/15 was agreed by Cabinet on 28th April 2014; this was required by the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009. The Plan was forward looking, and set eight Improvement Objectives for 2014/15.

 

The Part 2 Improvement Plan, attached at Appendix 1 to the report was a document primarily looking back over 2014/15.  It contained key performance information which helped demonstrate progress towards achievement of the Council’s Improvement Objectives. The Plan also reported the Council’s performance against a range of services as measured by national performance indicators collected and published annually by Welsh Government and the Local Government Data Unit.  It also provided an overview of the Council’s budget, what the Vale of Glamorgan residents and external regulators said about the Council, and highlighted the Council’s progress on collaborative activities undertaken during the year.

 

Based on its self-assessment, the Council concluded that overall, it had been successful in achieving the great majority of the positive outcomes intended in its Improvement Objectives for 2014/15, despite challenging financial times.  All eight Improvement Objectives set for the year were judged to have been achieved. However, the majority also remained long term strategic priorities for the Council and the success achieved in 2014/15 represented the start of what would be a long programme of initiatives to continually improve services for citizens of the Vale.

 

The report provided a summary of the outcome of the 8 Improvement Objectives for the Vale of Glamorgan, and detailed how the Authority had performed against 2014/15 national performance data set in comparison with the previous year and other Local Authorities in Wales.

 

A breakdown of the Council’s performance in quartiles when compared to Wales was as follows: 

  • 44% (20) indicators were in the upper quartile of performance, representing a 3% increase on the previous year where 41% (17) indicators were reported in the upper quartile for their performance.
  • 15% (7) of indicators were in the upper middle quartile (2nd) during 2014/15 compared with 7% (3) of indicators in the previous year (2013/14).
  • 20% (9) indicators were in the lower middle quartile for their performance during 2014/15, representing a 9% reduction on the previous year where 29% (12) indicators were reported in the lower middle quartile.
  • 20% (9) indicators have remained in the bottom quartile for their performance during 2014/15 which was the same as the previous year (2013/14). Of these 9 indicators, 7 were previously in the lower quartile for the performance during 2013/14, indicating that there had not have not been any significant improvements to enable these indicators to move out of the bottom quartile for their performance.

In comparison the Vale performed better in 61% (28) of comparable indicators against the South East Wales Region.  This performance was also mirrored when compared with all Welsh Councils.

 

The Head of Performance and Development advised that the Council was ranked joint first in Wales, against the 46 National Performance Indicators; which was an achievement particularly with diminishing resources.

 

He also updated the Committee in relation to the Reshaping Services Programme, which was referenced within the Improvement Plan as the Authority’s response to the challenge of diminishing resources. Copies of the All Projects Summary Highlight report were circulated to Members and they were advised that contained within the report were three very relevant projects in relation to the voluntary sector, which were as follows: 

  • Library Services - The Council had received Business Cases for Community Groups interested in the development of Community Libraries in Rhoose, Dinas Powys, St. Athan and Sully, however, the Library Strategy was currently on hold as the Council was awaiting the outcome of a Judicial Review
  • Town and Community Councils - The Committee was provided with an update in regard to the Town and Community Councils Reshaping Services Project.  The Councils had recently been provided with A - Z lists of Vale Council facilities and lists of assets in their areas in order to progress discussions in relation to services/assets they might be interested in providing in the future. 
  • Effectiveness of Spend (Grants) - The Committee was informed that at present there were no definite proposals in relation to the effectiveness of spend for Grants, yet this would need to be considered in the future. Furthermore, the Committee would receive a report on the receipt of grants at a future meeting. 

Ms. Connor, Chief Executive of Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS) advised that the Voluntary Action Scheme had not been opened for applications in the current or previous financial year as a review of grants was being undertaken. She advised that many voluntary groups contacted the GVS on a regular basis to ask about these grants and expressed concern that the scheme had not been open for some time and highlighted that this was one of the responsibilities of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee. 

 

Members also expressed concern that the Voluntary Action Scheme was on hold and enquired as to when it would be reopened.  In response, the Leader of the Council, and a Member on the Committee, advised that although some of the funding grants awarded were for one year, many were three-year funding grants which would be coming to an end shortly and he was of the view that this issue needed to be progressed and all relevant parties would need to meet to discuss a way forward.  Ms. Connor advised that GVS was keen to support this and wanted to ensure that the right sort of scheme was in place and she was available for engagement on this issue. The Chairman suggested that a report on the Voluntary Action Scheme be brought to the next meeting of the Committee.

 

AGREED – T H A T the Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2014/15 be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure to publish an annual review of Council performance and ensure that action is taken to continually improve services.

 

 

514     UPDATE REPORT ON BARRY ELIM CHURCH “CAN DO” PROJECT (MD) –

 

Committee received an update report on the progress made on the Barry Elim Church “Can Do” project as requested by the Committee at its meeting on 9th July, 2015. This was accompanied by a presentation given by the Project Manager, Kantz Misra.

 

Mr. Misra advised that the Project had evolved from a project in Cardiff in called ‘Cardiff Beats Bullying – I Can Do It’. The ‘Can Do’ was a three year pilot project within two secondary schools, Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren, all pupils were Year 8 pupils.  The project aimed to target pupils at risk of non-engagement due to confidence or anxiety issues and at risk of poor attendance due to difficulty adjusting to life at secondary school.  Both of these issues may contribute to the risk of pupils becoming disengaged from education, employment and training (NEETs).

 

Mr. Misra advised that the desired outcomes of the project were to improve pupils’ self-confidence, increase resilience and self-esteem and reduce anxiety related behaviour and foster the pupils desire to succeed and engage in the school environment.  He advised that there was limited intervention for Year 8 pupils and it was hoped that the project would help pupils’ chance of success, particularly as they would be required to make subject choices in Year 9.

 

The Committee was provided with an overview of the methodology used in the project, which included: 

  • The Heads of Year identified pupils to put forward for the project through the schools’ management systems (NBAR/PASS) and through teaching staff’s personal knowledge of pupils.
  • Group sessions – For pupils referred onto the project, were held once per week and ran for 10 weeks with a maximum number of 10 pupils per session.
  • One-to-One Coaching and/or Mentoring – For pupils who do not function well in a group.
  • One-to-One Coaching – A minimum of four meetings every fortnight.
  • One-to-One Mentoring – If the school, pupil and coach agree that the pupil would benefit from additional support, the relationship becomes a mentoring relationship.
  • Initial assessments are made using the Butler Self Image Profile and School Life Questionnaires.
  • Exit assessments revisited the Butler Self Image Profile, School Life Questionnaires and included pupil and teacher feedback.

Pupils completed initial assessment forms using the Butler Self Image Profile forms and School Life questionnaires.  The Butler Self Image Profile lists 25 self-image characteristics and pupils were required to indicate against each characteristic where they felt they were at the start of the project and where they would like to be by the end.  The School Life questionnaires were also completed by pupils on the same basis.  These forms were also revisited by the pupils at the end of the project as exit assessments in order that they could gauge where they felt they were at the end of the project in relation to where they wanted to be at the start of the project.  Pupils and teachers also completed feedback sheets.  Anonymisedexamples of these documents were provided at the meeting for Members to view. 

 

Following completion the information and feedback from the project was collated and results were attached as a results card at Appendix 1 to the report.  Mr. Misra advised that most pupils on the course from Summer 2014 to Spring 2015 found it to be helpful.

 

40 of the 47 pupils put forward for the project from April 2014 to March 2015 completed feedback using the Butler Self Image Profile categories.  The feedback received indicated either some or great improvement in their self-esteem.  The course also reported improvement in perceptions of working harder (25 pupils), increased confidence (23 pupils), being less lazy (23 pupils), and less worried (23 pupils).

 

The results of the School Life Questionnaires completed by the pupils showed how many of the pupils had moved up the scale in terms of various issues such as teamwork, planning and organising, achieving better results at school, not giving up and doing the best I can.

 

Further information was provided to the Committee in relation to the results of the Coaching and Mentoring sessions.  Feedback showed that 34 of the 39 pupils that completed these sessions found the coaching and mentoring relationship good to excellent and 30 found it to be helpful.  58% of the pupils advised that they would like to be coached or mentored at a later date and 26 stated that they wanted a 4-6 month review on their progress.  The self-image exit assessment suggested that the main improvements were in being less cheeky, feeling more intelligent and less moody.

 

From both strands of the project (Group sessions and one-to-one Coaching/ Mentoring) of the 26 pupils whose attendance was below 94% prior to starting, 16 showed an improvement in attendance, with 6 showing a significant improvement of above 6% and 1 pupil improved their attendance by 12%.  3 pupils’ attendance was below 85% they showed a mean improvement of 10% compared to their previous year’s attendance.

 

Mr. Misra advised that the project did not claim to be solely responsible for improving attendance and advised there were many bodies involved in improving pupil attendance and many reasons why the pupils did not attend school, but hoped that the project was having a positive impact in this respect. 

 

The Committee was informed that of the pupils who attended from Summer 2014 to Spring 2015, 15 pupils were in receipt of Free School Meals, there were no Looked After Pupils on the project, and one pupil had a social work intervention and one had a hospital care package.

 

Following the presentation, Mr. Misra and the Children and Young People’s Partnership Manager invited questions from the Committee.  The following question and answer session took place.

 

Question/Query

Response

Did   the pupils complete the exit assessment on the same Self Image Profile form   they had used to complete the initial assessment at the start of the process?    As, if so, the information provided by   the pupils could be susceptible to desirability bias as the pupils would be   aware that others would see the results after completion.

Yes,   the exit assessments were completed on exactly the same form as the initial   assessments in order that pupils could measure how they had achieved against   each of their set of goals at the inception of the project. It was clarified   that the pupils completed the forms on their own.

It   would be helpful to see the feedback from the schools on the project.

One   of the schools involved in the project had provided the project team with positive   feedback on the project.

What   percentage of Year 8 pupils attended the project?

60   pupils from the year group had been entered onto the project in the last year   which constituted approximately 20% - 25% of the entire year group. 

Had   any pupils been unable to be admitted on the project due to capacity issues   and were any pupils referred onto the project by the Head of Year?

Although   unable to advise whether there were capacity issues, the pupils did have a   choice as to whether they attended and a list of pupils was provided by the   Head of Year and the schools helped to target pupils that may benefit from   inclusion on the project.

Were   the pupils who had identified issues with planning or organising their work given   any assistance following the conclusion of the project? 

Although   there was no follow up for pupils following the end of the project a report was   provided to the schools and they were at liberty to follow up with the pupils   as they felt necessary. 

 

Furthermore,   some pupils would not see themselves as having a problem with certain characteristics   in the Self-Image questionnaire therefore they would not expect to see an improvement   in all characteristics at the conclusion of the project.

Did   pupils decide if they want to be included in the project?

The   project was not a compulsory part of pupils’ education and if pupils are   compelled to attend they would be less likely to want to.  They met with pupils in relation to the coaching   and mentoring elements of the project and asked whether they would be happy   to continue.  The way in which the   project was promoted was that it would enhance the pupils’ life skills and   give them the chance to draw out their potential to achieve in the school   environment.

Was   the project part of Challenge Cymru?

The   project was not part of Challenge Cymru and only operated in Bryn Hafren and   Barry Comprehensive schools and solely funded through the Voluntary Action   Scheme grant.  Alternative funding   options were being explored including the individual schools’ Pupil   Deprivation Grant.  However, if this   was not successful the project would stop in March 2016 and it was likely   that in the future extracurricular Youth Provision would be scaled back.

 

Bryn   Hafren had recently joined the Education team’s NBAR tool now known as the   SELFIE Programme (Social and Emotional Learning for Improvements Elsewhere) , which had been created from the National Behaviour and   Attendance Review (NBAR).  It was a   self-developed tool which could potentially be sold to other Local   Authorities.  The Education team was   working with View Point on this project and it was anticipated that it would   provide excellent data and be promoted through the Joint Education Service of   the South Central Consortium.

Were   there any quantitative methods that could be used to measure the success of   the project, for example in terms of improvement of attendance as the current   methodology used qualitative methods and was therefore subjective to each   pupil?

Although   attendance can be measured using quantitative methods, this would not necessarily   indicate how well pupils were performing whilst at school.  The project aimed to increase pupil   engagement as, although pupils may be present at school, they may not   necessarily be engaged.

Are   pupils’ families involved in the project?

The   families were not involved as it was a short term project.  If it was a smaller scale project the team   could perhaps work with the families in order to try and prevent long term   problems. 

Had   any pupils been referred onto Families Achieving Change Together (FACT) team?

It   would be for the school to decide if a pupil needed to be referred to the   FACT team, although any pupil issues identified throughout the project would   be highlighted to the school.  The   Children and Young People’s Partnership Manager advised that he was not aware   of any pupils on the project being referred to the FACT team and these pupils   were well below the threshold for a referral.

Would   the Committee be able to view the GCSE results of the first cohort of pupils   on the project?

It   was likely that the project would be over by the time the first cohort of   pupils had completed their GCSEs therefore the team would not be able to   collate this information.  Furthermore,   the project was a very small intervention therefore it would be surprising if   it could claim credibly that it had improved GCSE results.  There are many projects involved in the   improvement of exam results.  A tool   was currently being developed which would help to identify which projects   were interlinked and may contribute to better exam results.  A Member stated that the Can Do project was   very small project with a small budget, therefore it should not be expected   that it would have such a large impact.   

Could   the individual schools look at continuing the project via grant funding?

Discussions   in relation to funding and whether the schools wanted to fund the project   themselves had already begun.

 

Following consideration of the report and the presentation the Committee

 

AGREED –  

 

(1)       T H A T the progress made to date on the Barry Elim Church ‘Can Do’ Project be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T officers and those involved in delivering the project be thanked for the work they have carried out so far.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) for information.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In order that the Committee was apprised of the progress made with the project and to note the progress.

 

(2)       To acknowledge the work carried out by all those involved in delivering the project thus far.

 

(3)       In order that the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) can consider the contents of the report and progress made in delivering the project.

 

 

515     GLAMORGAN VOLUNTARY SERVICES – PROCESS FOR SELECTING THIRD SECTOR REPRESENTATION FOR JOINT WORKING GROUPS (VS) –

 

Committee was provided with a report, the purpose of which was to update the Committee regarding the agreed process between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Third Sector regarding Third Sector representation on Joint Working Groups.

 

The Third Sector was represented on a number of Joint Working Groups, which were defined as any initiative requiring voluntary sector representation, for example Partnerships, Working Groups, Task and Finish Groups, Forums.

 

In order to ensure appropriate voluntary sector representation, Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS) (formerly Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (VCVS)) had an agreed process with the Vale of Glamorgan Council regarding the nomination and selection of voluntary sector representatives.  With the merger of the former VCVS and VVB to form GVS, GVS was now the recognised infrastructure and representative body for the Third Sector in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Whenever the Vale of Glamorgan Council required Third Sector representation, GVS should be the appropriate organisation to facilitate the selection process.  This would involve the Vale of Glamorgan Council contacting a named officer within GVS to arrange the selection of the representative by canvassing the Third Sector for nominations and, where appropriate, facilitating an election.

 

This would also ensure consistency and transparency of the process across the whole range of areas where there was joint working and where Third Sector representation was required.  The process would also ensure that only those with the relevant skills and experience were appointed to serve.

 

The process would ensure that appointed representatives were accountable to the Third Sector by reporting back to the Sector through appropriate channels.  Representatives would be acting on behalf of the sector rather than the organisations to which they belong. 

 

The recommended process was outlined in more detail within the report as follows: 

  • Vale of Glamorgan Council to contact GVS when it has been identified that Voluntary Sector representation was required for any joint working initiative
  • GVS to agree with the Vale of Glamorgan Council the timescale for selection.
  • GVS to canvass the Voluntary Sector (either through appropriate Networks and Forums or through its wider membership) for nominations.
  • Where the number of nominations exceeds the number of posts available, GVS to facilitate an election.
  • GVS to inform the Vale of Glamorgan Council of the name and contact details of the representative.
  • GVS to provide induction and support for the representative.

GVS had developed a Third Sector Representatives Support Network to discuss issues that may arise, identify areas of concern and agree a sectoral approach.  It had also developed an induction process for Third Sector representatives.  This served as an opportunity to brief representatives about their particular function and to make them aware of their roles and responsibilities.

 

It was acknowledged that on some occasions the Vale of Glamorgan Council required specialist input from Voluntary Sector organisations.  Where this had occurred in the past, the Council had contacted those organisations directly to participate.  It was emphasised that in these circumstances, Third Sector organisations should not be regarded as representing the wider Third Sector, but representing only the interests of their organisation.

 

Following the presentation of the report a Member asked how complaints relation to the process would be dealt with and Ms. Connor, Chief Executive of the GVS advised that they had a very clear complaints process and suggested that complaints would be best dealt with via this process as issues would be wider than the remit of the Committee and involved many different services such as Education and Social Services.

 

Following consideration of the report the Committee

 

AGREED – T H A T the process between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Third Sector regarding Third Sector representation on Joint Working Groups be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for approval.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In order that the process between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Third Sector for connecting Third Sector representation on joint working groups be endorsed by the Committee and be referred to Cabinet for approval.

 

 

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