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VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 5th October, 2016.

 

Present:  Councillor E. Williams (Chairman); Councillor L. Burnett (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. R.F. Birch, G.A. Cox, N. Moore and R.L. Traherne.

 

 

409     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.

 

 

410     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors Ms. K.E. Edmunds, Dr. I.J. Johnson and C.J. Williams and Ms. T. Burris (Age Connect, Cardiff and the Vale), Ms. L. Donovan, Ms. A. Harris and Ms. S. Hopkins (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board).

 

 

411     MINUTES -

 

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 14th October, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

412     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

413     PRESENTATION - RESHAPING SERVICES PROGRAMME UPDATE -

 

The Head of Performance and Development provided the Committee with an update in relation to the Reshaping Services Programme.  The Programme had been established in order to respond to medium term financial pressures. £17 million of savings needed to be made over the next three years.  This was at a time of increasing demand and business as usual was not an option.  The savings within the Reshaping Services Programme totalled approximately £10 million.

 

The aim of the Programme was to reshape the Council to enable it to meet the future needs of citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan within the context of unprecedented financial challenges.  The objectives of the Programme were as follows:

 

  • To identify alternative ways of delivering services which would provide better outcomes for citizens and / or more efficient means of delivery;
  • To meet future financial challenges while mitigating the impact of cuts on service users;
  • To develop the Council and its partners to ensure they were able to meet future challenges. 

 

A detailed update had been provided to Cabinet on 3rd October, 2016 and a copy of the update was to be sent to all Elected Members, members of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and Community Liaison Committee, the Public Service Board and Town and Community Council Clerks. 

 

The Committee was updated in regard to the work of the Town and Community Council and Voluntary Sector Project Team.  Preliminary meetings were underway and initially larger Councils were being prioritised to explore specific service and asset opportunities, including the opportunity to deliver services differently.  A review of Visible Services was taking place to redesign the service and would include consideration of services which could be provided by Town and Community Councils (and others) and also define the new baseline level of service provision for 2017/18.  He advised that the effects of the cuts would be made known in a few months’ time.  The Voluntary Sector Compact was to be reviewed and would include reference to Town and Community Councils as part of this arrangement with the Third Sector and partners.

 

The Committee was provided with an update on the Community Asset Transfer Guidance which had been updated and approved by Cabinet in April 2016.  There were three stages to the process, which started with an expression of interest, then a full business case and final decision on the application.  The aim was to ensure that transfers were transparent, sustainable and based on sound decisions and identified need.  Both One Voice Wales and Glamorgan Voluntary Services were represented on the Community Asset Transfer Working Group.  Two of the three applications had progressed to the detailed Business Case stage. More information about CATs could be found on the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s website. 

 

Next steps included the continuation of meetings with larger Town and Community Councils and discussions with all Town and Community Councils on request.  There would be ongoing development of the savings proposals by the Council and consideration of “people based” services alongside the review of the Voluntary Sector Compact.  It was anticipated that there would also be another seminar to support Town and Community Councils, which was anticipated to take place in early 2017. 

 

Kay Quinn, Atal y Fro, advised that two years ago a workshop had taken place with the Third Sector and asked what much progress had been made since then.  The Head of Service advised that budget cuts had been delayed in certain areas and that the programme had therefore not proceeded as quickly as had been initially envisaged. However, matters would now need to be accelerated.  Ms. Quinn advised that Atal y Fro was looking for new premises and requested a list of the buildings that the Vale Council would be willing to transfer.  The Head of Service advised that an asset list had been sent to all Town and Community Councils detailing the assets the Council would consider transferring. He would arrange for this to be sent to her.    

 

A Member expressed the view that these types of projects often took much longer to be realised than first anticipated, and organisations needed to build capacity in working with partners and be more proactive, and felt this was happening now.  It was a process of developing skills and understanding shared objectives.  There was a considerable amount of learning required and marked steps forward had been made. 

 

Following the presentation and discussion, it was

 

AGREED - T H A T the content of the Reshaping Services Programme Update presentation be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To ensure that Members were fully apprised in relation to the progress made with the Reshaping Services Programme.

 

 

414     VOLUNTARY SECTOR COMPACT AND ACTION PLAN (MD) -

 

In presenting the report, the Head of Performance and Development advised that the Compact had been brought to the Committee in order to seek its views on the way in which the Compact, and associated Action Plan, could be reviewed.  The Action Plan, attached to the report at Appendix 2, was last considered by the Committee in 2014.   

 

In July 2008, the third edition of the Compact, attached at Appendix 1, between the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services, the Vale of Glamorgan Local Heath Board, Cardiff and the Vale NHS Trust and the Vale of Glamorgan Council was signed.   Accompanying the Compact was an action plan for delivering the commitments contained within the Compact. 

 

The Compact recognised the enormous contribution made to local communities, and the community as a whole, through voluntary action. It set out clear definitions of the responsibilities and expectations of the partner agencies and the voluntary sector in working together.

 

The last version of the Compact provided a framework within which partnership working was progressed between the partners.  It contained information relating to the responsibilities of the partners and the way in which contributions would be made.  A description was given on the channels, frequency and content of communications on work aligned to the Compact as well as setting out how partners would work together to deliver the commitments contained in it.  The Compact also described the role of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee in relation to the monitoring of the delivery of these commitments and related actions.

 

Since the approval of the latest version of the Compact, the way in which public and Third Sector services had changed significantly, both within the Vale of Glamorgan and nationally.  Within the Vale of Glamorgan, the voluntary services had reorganised to create Glamorgan Voluntary Services.  The arrangements for health services had also changed, with the creation of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB).  In April 2016, the Vale of Glamorgan Public Services Board was created following the introduction of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.  The way in which the Third Sector, Health Board and Council worked together had also changed, with advances in work to integrate Social Care and Health services across the region.

 

The environment within which all partners operated had also changed significantly over this time.  The scale of the challenge that now faced the Authority (and other partners) meant that a "business as usual" approach, however well managed would not be enough.  A strategy that consisted solely of incremental cuts to budgets would simply lead to a steady decline in the quality and availability of public services, dissatisfaction among those who use the service and poor staff morale.

 

The Head of Performance and Development advised that the review of the Compact and Action Plan needed to be seen in context with the Council’s Reshaping Services Programme.  The Reshaping Services Strategy had been developed following a programme of consultation and engagement with key stakeholder groups, including the Third Sector, and this Committee.  The objectives of the strategy were:

 

  • To identify alternative ways of delivering services which provided better outcomes for citizens and / or more efficient means of delivery.
  • To meet the future financial challenges while mitigating the impact of cuts on service users.
  • To develop the Council and its partners to ensure they were able to meet future challenges.

 

The Reshaping Services Programme was managed by a Programme Board and chaired by the Council's Managing Director.  It comprised representation from the Third Sector (Chief Executive, Glamorgan Voluntary Sector (GVS)) and Town and Community Councils (Town Councillor Mike Cuddy, Penarth).

 

One of the projects contained within the Programme was to progress the relationship and opportunities between the Council and Town and Community Councils and the Voluntary Sector.  There was representation from these sectors on the project team, in recognition of the significant potential that continued to exist in working in partnership.

 

The Reshaping Services Programme had further developed the Council's relationship with the Town and Community Council sector, brought the expertise and advice of the voluntary sector into developments and had also produced a revised policy and guidance for Community Asset Transfers of Council assets.

 

It was therefore suggested that the Reshaping Services Programme was an appropriate mechanism within which to review the content of the Compact and associated action plan.

 

The input of the Committee was considered vital in this process.  For this reason, it was recommended that the Committee consider the current version of the Compact and action plan and provide their views as to the future nature and content of any revised versions.

 

It was intended that the Town and Community Councils and Voluntary Sector Project Team be tasked with considering the views of this Committee, the Reshaping Services Programme Board and the Public Services Board.  That Project Team would also be tasked with producing a further report for this Committee (with any appropriate revisions to the Compact and Action Plan) in order to enable the Committee to provide their views on any future proposals.

 

A Member asked whether Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board should be involved in the review of the Compact, as they covered a large part of the county.  The Head of Performance and Development advised that in practice the Vale Council dealt largely with Cardiff and Vale UHB.

 

The purpose of the report was to ask for the Committee’s endorsement for the review of the Compact and associated Action Plan.  A Member expressed the view that Town and Community Councils did not sit naturally with the Voluntary Sector and should not be involved in the review of the Compact, and hoped that the review would not be too narrow if being done through the Project Team.  In response, the Head of Performance and Development appreciated that Town and Community Councils and the Voluntary Sector were not the same, however, there was quite a lot of overlap across the two, particularly in terms of community volunteering and citizens volunteering, etc.

 

Rachel Connor, GVS, was of the opinion that the review was well overdue, however, the principles of the Compact held true and would not want them altered.  There were links to the Reshaping Services Programme, however, it was developed by the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and she would like to see that continue.  This would not stop it being linked to the Reshaping Services Programme and was of the view that it was similar to the Charter between the Vale Council and Town and Community Councils.  She was of the view that it was an opportunity to include Town and Community Councils in the Compact and ensure a clearly defined relationship with these Councils.  A review of Visible Services was currently being undertaken as part of the Reshaping Services Programme, however, the next stage would be the review of non-Visible Services such as Social Services, which would require links between Town and Community Councils and the Third Sector. 

 

The principles of the Compact would need to be embedded with Town and Community Councils and the relationship with the Third Sector would be vital going forward.  In regard to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board, the Third Sector had contact with them, however the responsibility lay with the Cardiff and Vale UHB.  A Member expressed the view that there was a dilemma about how to move forward with the Committee as it provided linkages between the Town and Community Councils and the Voluntary Sector.  The Member suggested that Social Services may need to speak to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board and strengthen the relationship this way rather than through the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee. 

 

Ms. Connor expressed the view that closer linkages with the Town and Community Councils and Voluntary Sector were vital and also with their partners.  Some of their partners already had separate compacts with the Third Sector and she was of the view that the Compact was a key document which clearly laid out the joint relationship and expectations of the organisations involved. 

 

A Member expressed the view that they would need to flesh out what could be expected in the relationship between partners in terms of service delivery.  There could be a lot of duplication across the Reshaping Service Programme and the Action Plan.  It was important to clarify the relationships involved and the aims of those relationships.

 

Ms. K. Quinn, Atal y Fro, advised that she was in agreement with Ms. Connor that the principles of the Compact should be kept, organisations could not work in isolation.  Atal y Fro was already working with Barry Town Council, and it was positive to see the Compact being reviewed. 

 

Members felt that the Action Plan was outdated and needed refreshing, and furthermore the actions would require completion deadlines rather than being listed as ongoing.

 

Ms. Connor suggested that a small working group could be established to consider the Compact and Action Plan and subsequently also taken to the Reshaping Services Project Team meetings for consideration.

 

A discussion took place as to the future role of Cardiff and Vale UHB in the Committee.  Views were expressed that the UHB was involved in several other forums, therefore there could be duplication across these forums and Committees.  The Leader of the Council, a Member of the Committee, advised that he could approach Cardiff and Vale UHB in relation to this matter.

 

A Member made a suggestion as to whether to join the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee with the Community Liaison Committee.  Ms. Connor was of the view that they should be kept separate and the Voluntary Sector valued the Committee as a mechanism for receiving information from the Vale Council.  A Member expressed the view that to merge the two Committees could marginalise the Voluntary Sector. 

 

Ms. Quinn expressed the view that it was critical to link in with the Reshaping Services Programme and a working group could draw out the relevant issues and make the Compact as robust as possible.

 

Following consideration of the report, the Committee

 

AGREED -

 

(1)       T H A T a Working Group be established to consist of Rachel Connor (Glamorgan Voluntary Services) and Kay Quinn (Atal y Fro), officers from the Performance and Development Team, and two Members of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee (Councillors N. Moore or L. Burnett and Councillor R. L. Traherne) to consider the Compact and Action Plan and subsequently also taken to the Reshaping Services Project Team meetings for consideration.

 

(2)       T H A T the Committee receive a further report in due course to consider the work of the Town and Community Councils and Voluntary Sector Reshaping Services Project Team on the Compact and Action Plan.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To review the current Compact and Action Plan.

 

(2)       To enable the Committee to consider proposals in due course.

 

 

415     UHB FRAMEWORK FOR WORKING WITH THE THIRD SECTOR AND YEAR IN REVIEW (CVUHB) -

 

The Committee received a report on the UHB Framework for working with the Third Sector and its Year in Review 2015- 2016. 

 

In 2012, the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) approved a Strategic Framework for Working with the Third Sector which set out the UHB’s ambitions for working collaboratively with the Third Sector to enhance the lives of individuals, communities and the population of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.  The Strategic Framework was brought to the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee for information in July 2012.

 

In 2015, the decision was taken to review the Strategic Framework with the aim of re-appraising the relationship between the UHB and the Third Sector to ensure it was fit for purpose to support delivery of the UHB strategy “Shaping Our Future Wellbeing” (SOFW) and that it appropriately reflected the ambitions and potential of the Third Sector locally.

 

The report introduced the revised Framework for Working with the Third Sector: Working Together for our Future Wellbeing and booklet which celebrated joint working: A Year in Review 2015- 2016, attached to the report for information at Appendices 1 and 2 respectively.

 

The first stage of the review of the Strategic Framework was to explore people’s views on current relationships and consider what role the Third Sector may be able to play in supporting joint delivery of the UHB strategy.  An electronic questionnaire was circulated widely within the Third Sector, UHB and key partner agencies, and structured interviews were undertaken with a smaller set of key stakeholders.

 

The resulting report on the survey outcomes drew conclusions about what the relationship between the UHB and the Third Sector needed to look like in the future and key factors in making that a reality.  These findings were tested back with stakeholders at a major workshop in January 2016 attended by 100 participants from local and national Third Sector organisations, as well as staff from UHB clinical boards and corporate teams, and colleagues from some partner organisations including Local Authorities and Community Health Council.  Activity at the workshop focused on identifying the actions that need to be taken to drive the agenda forward.

 

Feedback from the survey and workshop suggested that overall, there was a feeling that relationships had improved and were moving in the right direction but there were some clear messages about where improvements needed to be made and where effort needed to be focused if the potential of this crucial relationship was to be fully realised.

 

The emerging themes had been mapped against the UHB Strategic Principles to demonstrate how the role envisaged for the Third Sector could make a direct contribution to delivery of the UHB vision.  An objective agreed by the Steering Group was not only to produce a revised Framework which articulated the clear alignment to SOFW, but also one which provided an accessible description of our collective ambitions, drawing on the rich set of comments and views expressed in the survey work.  The Framework had now been widely disseminated within the Third Sector, UHB and partner agencies to support implementation of these priority areas of co-delivery.  It was circulated electronically to Committee members in April 2016.

 

An Action Plan for 2016/17 owned and delivered by key stakeholders had been prepared.  In addition, a Year in Review booklet had been produced to celebrate some key achievements in joint working in 2015/16 and was attached to the report at Appendix 2.

 

Ms. Connor, GVS, advised that at present the volunteers employed in co-creating healthy change, which was a key strategy, were funded until March 2017, and they were in the process of negotiating an extension with the Big Lottery until November 2017.  She advised there would be a funding gap for partners in Health and Social Services following this.  She alluded to one possible failure in regard to the Winter planning meeting with the Third Sector, in that the timing of the meeting, which took place in October, would need to change in order to have a greater impact on Health and Social Services.  Ms. Connor advised that if the Committee required any further information in relation to these matters, the Cardiff and Vale UHB representatives, who had been unable to attend the meeting, would be happy to provide it.

 

Following consideration of the report the Committee

 

AGREED - T H A T Cardiff and Vale UHB’s revised Framework for Working with Third Sector and the Year in Review 2015/16 booklet be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the content of the report and these documents.

 

 

416     FAMILIES TOGETHER - ATAL Y FRO -

 

The Committee received a report from Atal y Fro to inform it of Atal y Fro’s success in a joint bid with Family Action (England) to the Social Services and Well Being Division (Welsh Government).

 

The Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant replaced the four Welsh Government social services grants previously available to the Third Sector.  The grants which had been replaced were:

 

  • The Children and Families Organisations Grant (CFOG);
  • Section 64 programme grants;
  • The Older Person Grant;
  • The Family Fund Trust.

 

The purpose of the Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant was to support Welsh Ministers’ priorities of a new and equal relationship between people and practitioners; early intervention and prevention; and transforming the way people’s needs for care and support were met.  This was first set out in Sustainable Social Services – a Framework for Action, and had been placed on a statutory footing by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 which was brought into force in April 2016.

 

An invitation to Third Sector partners to submit expressions of interest was issued in December 2014.  That invitation set out the criteria for the grant, and this note further developed that for the full application process:

 

  • The grant scheme did provide funding to projects which met certain criteria.
  • The funding could be used for support costs associated with delivery of projects but the scheme did not provide core funding.
  • The grant scheme did not fund any project that was in receipt of any other Welsh Government funding.
  • Applications from organisations who collaborated and working in partnership were particularly welcome.
  • To reduce potential duplication and to encourage a more collaborative approach between organisations, there would be a minimum grant award of no less than £50,000.

 

The partnership secured three year funding of £1.2m, the original bid was £2.3m so Atal y Fro had had to make some adjustments to the programme but additional funds were being sought to plug the gap.

 

Following a number of discussions between Atal y Fro and Family Action, this fund provided the opportunity they were looking for to collaborate on developing domestic violence services even further by addressing the issues at the earliest stage.

 

The Team at Atal y Fro included the following staff, who provided a diverse range of services:

 

  • EPIC – Early Intervention Programme (individual / familial support / couples work / Journey Beyond Abuse / counselling / Men’s Groups / CYPP) – all co-gender delivered
  • Education and Prevention
  • CBA (Court Based Advocacy specialising in Family or other associated courts)
  • IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advocate)
  • ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advocate)
  • CYPP – Children and Young People’s Programmes
  • TSS – Tenant Support Service
  • CIT (Community Intervention Team) that included Refuge and Second Stage accommodation / Dispersed Housing Pilot as well as Intake and Assessment plus tenant support workers
  • Drop-in Information / Support.

 

Family Action currently helped 45,000 families each year across 147 local services.  Their vision was that everyone who came to the Charity would receive the help they needed to tackle their problems, whether they were experiencing poverty, disadvantage or social isolation.  This was their first foray into Wales.

 

The project aimed to provide a fully integrated and holistic family support service for families and children facing multiple and complex needs, including those living with mental ill health and / or experiencing domestic abuse, with a particular focus on supporting families in the perinatal period.

 

The overall aim of the project was to support families to overcome the challenges they faced through tailored support for all family members, increasing their confidence, wellbeing and resilience, ensuring the safety of all family members and developing their capacity to plan for the future.

 

The Families Together project would be delivered by a Pan-Wales Team managed by a Project Board made up of representatives of Atal y Fro and Family Action.

 

The model would complement existing services provided to families in Wales, including the Integrated Family Support Services model.  In particular they would enhance and support this provision by delivering prevention and early intervention focused approach.  They would work with local partners to identify issues around mental health, domestic abuse and family conflict early and deliver tailored support to prevent issues escalating to the point of statutory intervention.

 

The Project was now underway with referrals being made by a variety of organisations.  The official launch took place in South Wales on 28th September and in North wales on 29th September.

 

A new accredited male perpetrators’ programme would be introduced along with three new courses aimed at supporting women.

 

Over the life of the project, 500 families would be supported, working with all family members.

 

Ms. Quinn informed the Committee that this project would inform future policy in this area and further advised that all Third Sector groups would need to be aware of this project as it would have a huge impact.

 

A Member expressed concern about the co-ordination of the project in terms of existing projects provided.  Ms. Quinn advised that the project would complement and expand services already provided.  She further advised that when referrals came in, local organisations would be consulted and joint arrangements were in place to deliver different aspects of the project.  It was a very constructive project aimed at maximising the services available.

 

Following consideration of the report the Committee

 

AGREED - T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the content of the report.

 

 

417     STEP FORWARD - END OF PROJECT REPORT (GVS) -

 

Rachel Connor, GVS, provided the Committee with an update in relation to the Step Forward Project.  The project provided support to individuals who were unemployed, 25 years or over, to gain volunteering placements.  In the main, these were individuals with low levels of confidence who needed a lot of support.  There were various targets and outcomes developed with partnership co-ordinators.  The targets and outcomes of the project were detailed within the end of project report as follows:

 

  • Targets for the number of unemployed people engaged in volunteering throughout the life of the project;
  • Those engaged in volunteering who would gain a qualification;
  • Those taking up volunteering which had led to a case study. 

 

Ms. Connor drew Members’ attention to the reasons for not meeting the targets for volunteers gaining a qualification, which included, moving on to employment, change in circumstances or poor health.  The report also detailed the volunteers’ journey, which provided feedback from volunteers engaged in the project.  Ms. Connor advised that the case studies provided for uplifting reading and illustrated the benefits of the investments made in the project.  Furthermore, GVS had been able to use the evidence from the project in order to put forward a bid via a Consortium for Big Lottery Funding and the project secured a further two years funding.  She advised that if they met the targets for the project, it would be extended to three years’ funding.  It was a real success story for the project and the funding provided by the Voluntary Sector Action Scheme, administered via the Committee. 

 

A Member expressed the view that it was a fantastic project and was pleased to hear that it would run for another two years.  The Member asked whether it would be disseminated to a wider audience in order to share good practice.  Ms. Connor advised that it had been taken to a variety of national networks and organisations, who would be looking to develop the projects in their areas.  Members expressed the view that although it was informative to see the statistics, the case studies illustrated how rewarding the project was on a personal level.  Ms. Connor advised that more and more organisations were using case studies as they more clearly illustrated the effectiveness of projects. 

 

A Member queried the dropout rate for the project and advised that Cardiff and Vale College had been providing refresher causes to help non-traditional learners catch up, and their completion rate had increased to 89%.  The Member suggested that it may be worthwhile to contact the Cardiff and Vale College in order to help re-engage individuals. 

 

Ms. Connor raised the matter of the Voluntary Action Scheme, and expressed the view that this was an issue in the Sector.  She understood the need for the grants to be reviewed, however, they had not received any information on the progress of this review and requested that the Committee asked for the process to be sped up.  Furthermore, the success of projects funded via the Voluntary Action Scheme provided them with evidence to bid for other funding. The Chairman commented that the rewards of the project could be seen.

 

Following consideration of the report the Committee

 

AGREED - T H A T the content of the report be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the content of the report.

 

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