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VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 8th February, 2017.

 

Present:  Councillor E. Williams (Chairman); Councillor L. Burnett (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. B.E. Brooks, Dr. I.J. Johnson, N. Moore and C.J. Williams.

 

Also present: Ms. R. Connor (Glamorgan Voluntary Services).

 

 

760            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – 

 

These were received from Councillors G.A. Cox, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, R.L. Traherne; Ms. K. Quinn (Atal y Fro) (Honorary Vice-Chairman) and Ms. T. Burris (Age Connect, Cardiff and the Vale).

 

 

761            MINUTES –

 

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 5th October, 2016 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

762            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

Councillor Ms. B.E. Brooks declared an interest in Agenda Item Nos. 5 and 6 in that she was a Member of Barry Town Council and the Vale Council with dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on the matters.

 

Councillor L. Burnett declared an interest in Agenda Item Nos. 5 and 6 in that she was a Member of Barry Town Council and the Vale Council with dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on the matters.

 

Councillor C.J. Williams declared an interest in Agenda Item Nos. 5 and 6 in that he a Member of Dinas Powys Community Council and the Vale Council with dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on the matters.

 

Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson declared his interests in the following:

 

            Agenda Item Nos. 4, 5 and 7 in that he was Member of Barry Town Council and the Vale Council with dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote;

            Agenda Item Nos. 4 and 5 he was a Vale of Glamorgan Trustee of Alexander Crescent Community Association, the president of the Cadoxton / Barry Football Club and on the Committee of the Barry Arts Festival Committee. Following advice from the Monitoring Officer, he confirmed that he had a personal, but not a prejudicial, interest in these matters. 

 

 

763            RESHAPING SERVICES PROGRAMME – GRANTS TO COMMUNITY AND VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS (REF) –

 

Cabinet had referred the report in order for the Committee to consider approaches to the operation of a new Community Grants Scheme to replace the former Small Community Grants Scheme and Voluntary Action Scheme.

 

At is meeting on 31st October, 2016, Cabinet was advised that prior to 2015/16 the Small Community Grants Scheme enabled local groups and voluntary organisations to apply for funding.  The Voluntary Action Scheme had been in place for a number of years with the arrangements and priorities for funding being proposed by the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and agreed by Cabinet.

 

The report proposed that the Council needed to consider options for the establishment of a new Community Grants Scheme that would benefit from the input of external partners in this work.  It was further highlighted that potential future operating models could take a number of different formats.  As a result it had been proposed that options be developed for the operation of the Community Grants Scheme through consultation and further research.  The further research would be undertaken by officers to inform the development of the options for how a Community Grants Scheme could operate, including eligibility, assessment and administration processes. 

 

Following the research, a further report would be brought back to Cabinet and that report would include recommendations for the future organisation of the Community Grants Scheme with a view to operating during the 2017/18 financial year.  This would include the setting of criteria to ensure that any applications were assessed having regard to the Council’s Corporate Priorities and the Reshaping Services agenda. 

 

Ms Rachel Connor Chief Executive of Glamorgan Voluntary Services raised concerns in relation to the delay in developing such a scheme which she stated had resulted in the loss of the ability for the Voluntary Sector to apply to the fund for grant schemes. A Member also sought clarity on the resource implications The Head of Performance and Development advised that he would request that a breakdown of the 2016/17 grant budget figures given in paragraph 18 of the report would be emailed to all Members of the Committee clarifying the up to date position, including what organisations had received such funding.   Members also requested that further information be emailed in relation to paragraphs 7 and 8 of the report regarding the detail of alternative sources of funding that were reported as available.

 

Having considered the reference and in recognition of the fact that the information as requested above would be emailed to all Members in due course it was subsequently

 

AGREED – T H A T the reference be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

In recognition of the information requested and that further consideration was to be given to the scheme at agenda item 5.

 

 

764            COMMUNITIES GRANT FUND (MD) –

 

Following on from the previous item the report detailed that in October 2016 Cabinet had agreed that proposals should be developed with regard to ways of operating a Community Grants Scheme and that the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee should consider the matter ahead of a further report being brought to Cabinet for consideration in due course. 

 

The report set out a series of criteria:

  • To ensure any schemes funded from the Council’s grant allocations contribute to the Council’s priorities, as set out in the Corporate Plan, including linkages with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and the Council’s transformational Reshaping Services change programme;
  • To ensure the maximum value is derived from this (and other sources of) funding and decisions are made in a consistent and informed way (i.e. the way the Council’s grant funding is approved, administered and spent);
  • To ensure that grant funding can be co-ordinated with other sources of funding in order to make best use of available funding within the context of decreasing Council finances; and
    • To leverage alternative sources of supplementary funding, including how the Third Sector, other partners and Council departments can work together.

The purpose of the Strong Communities Fund was to enable community groups, the Voluntary Sector and Town and Community Councils to apply for revenue and capital funding that promoted initiatives within the Vale of Glamorgan consistent with the Council’s vision of “Strong communities with a bright future”.

 

Eligible schemes would include those which were seeking funding to: 

  • improve the resilience of organisations/groups or their activities by funding activities which add value to their current work and reduce their reliance on grant funding in the future;
  • provide seed corn funding towards initiatives that can demonstrate longer term sustainability;
  • undertake consultation, feasibility, design and other specialist work to develop proposals for future activity and funding bids;
  • meet the capital costs of schemes by purchasing plant, machinery, equipment or other assets or undertaking maintenance work that would enable viable services to be provided, for example, through increased income generation potential.

The report’s scope for the Strong Communities Grant Fund would incorporate the following funding streams:

 

Small   Community Grants Scheme

£100,000

Revenue

Voluntary   Action Scheme Grants

Community   Action Self Help (CASH) Scheme

£30,000

Capital

TOTAL

£130,000

 

 

In combining the two current Council schemes, it was proposed that a more co-ordinated approach could be taken to funding in this area.  It would also improve the linkages with local communities, via a range of community/voluntary groups and Town and Community Councils and in doing so it was considered that the ability to leverage other sources of funding would also be increased, as proposals would be more consistent and focused as to what they sought to achieve.

 

In addition to the above, it was proposed that Section 106 Community Facilities funding (and where applicable and relevant other Section 106 funding, for example, community transport or public open space) would be added to the Grant Fund and process.  The amount of this funding available varied each year as developments completed and the payments were made to the Council.  The availability of this funding would be dependent upon both the area of the Vale of Glamorgan in which the development had occurred and the phase of the associated development and any planning requirements associated with it.

 

The eligibility criteria for applicants would be that bids would be sought from the following categories of organisations: 

  • Community led organisations
  • Third Sector Organisations
  • Town and Community Councils
    • Consortia of the above, including those which had established formal governance arrangements such as social enterprises.

It was proposed that a standard definition of each category of applicant would be developed and minimum requirements of those organisations (in terms of status, governance etc.) would be developed, informed by the recent Wales Audit Office review of Third Sector Funding.

 

The evaluation of bids to the fund would be undertaken in line with a series of weighted criteria.  The themes upon which these criteria would be developed would include 

  • Linkages being made with the Council’s Corporate Plan.
  • The way in which schemes were consistent with the Council’s transformational change programme, Reshaping Services
    • Showing how the proposals were consistent with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act

It was further proposed that the Strong Communities Grant Fund would be co-ordinated by a Board comprising: 

  • Leader of the Council
  • Cabinet Member with responsibility for Regeneration
  • One representative from a Town Council
  • One representative from a Community Council
  • One representative from each of any third party funding partner
  • One representative from the Voluntary Sector
  • One representative from a member organisation of the Public Services Board
  • Two Council officers with experience of regeneration, planning and Section 106 funding.

Terms of Reference for the Board would be developed in due course in addition to a standard application form, evaluation criteria and guidance for applicants.  It was intended that online applications would be used and a section of the Council’s website developed to provide information about the Fund. 

 

The Committee was therefore requested to consider the report and refer any comments to Cabinet in order to inform the decision of Cabinet on the creation of the Strong Communities Grant Fund. 

 

The Head of Performance and Development, in presenting the report, further advised that the role of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee would be not to approve or consider applications to the Fund but to oversee the monitoring of the scheme.

 

During the discussion a Member referred to the relatively small amount of funding available - £138,000.  In referring to the increasing number of organisations that would now be able to make applications to the Fund, concern was also raised as to the amount of resources available.  The Head of Service in response advised that other sources of funding such as Section 106 monies and grants from other funding organisations would also be part of the pot and that leveraging funding would be an important element of the new approach.  Ms. Connor from Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS) reiterated the concern in relation to the number of organisations that could now access the money than had previously been the case and that it had to be remembered that Section 106 money was not available for county-wide initiatives, it had to be used for localised activity.  Her concern was also that Town and Community Councils had more resources available to them than the Voluntary Sector, referring in particular to the ability to precept.  Ms Connor also queried the mechanism that would be available to access Section 106 monies as she considered that the current system was relatively complex, added to the fact that smaller organisations also had fewer resources in order to make such applications for funding.

 

The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education, also a Member of the Committee, stated that over time Section 106 applications would move over to the Community Infrastructure Levy and it should be noted that any application which had a wider impact monies could be used for such initiatives and referred to the fact that community funding and Section 106 monies had previously been used for mixed resource activities.  The whole idea of the Strong Communities Grant Fund was to ensure that various strands of money that were available were put together to ensure that they were used for the benefit of the whole community.  In order to achieve what the Council needed to achieve under the Reshaping Services programme and to ensure the benefits of the whole community, it was important that the Voluntary Sector worked alongside the Council with Town and Community Councils.

 

Ms. Connor, GVS, although recognising that the Voluntary Sector and Town and Community Council’s needed to work together, advised that her concern related to the fact that the Fund was moving away from funding the Third Sector organisation to the involvement of other organisations, including Town and Community Councils who were able to access the precept. 

 

In referring to the makeup of the Board and how Members from the Voluntary sector and Town and Community Council’s would be appointed as representatives  the Head of Performance and Development advised that nominations would be requested from the Community Liaison and Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committees. It was also further suggested that officers should not be part of the decision making process on the Board but act as advisers.

 

A further concern by Ms Connor was the delay in undertaking a review of the process which had meant that some funding had not been available for the sector to apply for, which had resulted in significant sums not being spent.

 

The Leader of the Council (a Member of the Committee) stated that he would be happy to provide the data in relation to the figures referred to. However, he advised that the purpose of the Strong Communities Grant Fund was to maximise opportunities and to ensure that grant funding could be co-ordinated with other sources of funding in order to make best use of available funding in the context of decreasing Council finances and to leverage alternative sources of supplementary funding, including how the Third Sector, other partners and Council departments could work together. The idea was to provide organisations etc. with the opportunity to access as much funding as possible.  The main concern he stated with regard to the previous fund had been that as funding had already been allocated over the years, organisations could not apply for anything new as it had already been allocated.  

 

Following consideration of the report, it was subsequently

 

AGREED –

 

(1)       T H A T the content of the report in conjunction with the reference from Cabinet of 31st October, 2016, be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Committee’s comments as outlined above be referred to Cabinet in order to inform the decision of Cabinet in the creation of the Strong Communities Grant Fund.

 

(3)       T H A T the Committee receives further updates on the development of the Fund as part of the reporting on the annual work plan associated with the Voluntary Sector Compact.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To provide the Committee with an update on the work underway in relation to the development of a Strong Communities Grant Fund.

 

(2)       To enable the views of the Committee to be considered by Cabinet in reaching a decision.

 

(3)       To enable the Committee to promote and monitor the administration of the Strong Communities Fund to support the work of the Third Sector, Town and Community Councils and other community led groups to support strong communities in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

 

765            VOLUNTARY SECTOR COMPACT (MD) –

 

The Head of Performance and Development presented the report, advising that it had been good practice for a number of years for Councils and other partners to have established mechanisms for working with the Voluntary Sector in their areas.  Since 2008 the Council had had in place a formal Compact with the Voluntary Sector in the Vale of Glamorgan which set out the shared vision and values for joint working together with the expectations of the partners and the various activities that would be pursued to further these expectations.  This Compact had been between the Voluntary Sector (Vale Centre for Voluntary Services), Vale of Glamorgan Council, Vale of Glamorgan Local Health Board and Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust.  Since that time, however, changes to the structure of the Voluntary Sector (with the creation of the Glamorgan Voluntary Services organisation) and health organisations (with the creation of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board [UHB]) had taken place.  Joint working between all partners had increased and had also been increasingly formalised in recent years. 

 

The Compact had therefore been revised, maintaining much of the original version in relation to the aim, objectives and themes of joint working, but updates had been made to reflect the Council’s new corporate vision, values and Well-being Outcomes as well as the changes that had been made in the creation of Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS).  References were also made to other areas of joint working, notably on the Council’s transformational change programme, Reshaping Services.  The revised Compact was proposed to cover the period 2017-2021 and could be updated sooner should it be felt appropriate.  An annual work plan for 2017/18, attached at Appendix B to the report, was proposed to enable the Committee to set actions to be progressed each year with updates against each of the work plan actions being provided to each meeting of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee.

 

Due to the emergence of alternative governance arrangements with the Health Service (and the Public Services Board's increasing role), it was proposed that in order to maintain a link between the Committee and the work of the Compact, the Terms of Reference regarding membership should also be amended.  The current composition of the Committee was ten Vale Elected Members, eight representatives (one currently vacant) from the Voluntary Sector and two from the Health Service.  It was proposed that the future membership of the Committee would be formed of eight Elected Members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and eight representatives of the Voluntary Sector (including one representative as nominated by the Community Liaison Committee from Town and Community Councils to provide a link between the work of the two Committees).

 

The Head of Performance and Development advised that following discussions with colleagues in the UHB, he could confirm that they were supportive of the proposals suggested advising that they had withdrawn due to the fact they considered that there were a number of other avenues, with formal arrangements that they were involved in.  Ms. Connor, the Chief Executive of GVS, also advised Committee that similar arrangements to the Compact were in place between GVS and the UHB in the form of a strategic framework document.

 

The Head of Service further stated that should the Compact, membership and Terms of Reference be approved by the Committee, the recommendations would be reported to Cabinet for approval, with the proposals regarding the amendments to the Terms of Reference and membership of the Committee being requested to be referred for consideration at the Council’s Annual Meeting.  A copy of the current Terms of Reference for the Committee was attached at Appendix C to the report and the revised Terms of Reference included in the Compact at Appendix A (section v, page 12). 

 

All present stated that they welcomed the review of the Compact and the annual work plan, which was proposed to enable the Committee to set actions, and agreed that it strengthened the relationship with the Voluntary Sector and the Vale of Glamorgan Council.  However, a Member relayed their disappointment at the decision of the UHB to withdraw from the Compact and in particular from the membership of the Committee as they considered that this offered accountability for Members.

 

The Leader of the Council, advised that he had felt that the Council had needed to concentrate on the Voluntary Sector and that the revised Compact and the suggested changes to the membership and Terms of Reference was an appropriate way to do so.  This view was shared by Ms. Connor, who further stated that she was pleased to see the Compact refreshed, advising that the Vale of Glamorgan had been one of the first Local Authorities in Wales to develop a Compact with the Third Sector. 

 

The Chairman, in conclusion, stated that both the Voluntary Sector and the Council had undergone considerable change over recent years and that he was pleased with the progress that had been made to date.

 

In acknowledging that updates against each of the work plan actions would be provided to each meeting of the Committee, it was subsequently

 

AGREED –

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to approve the report, the Compact and work plan attached as Appendices A and B to the report.

 

(2)       T H AT notwithstanding Recommendation (1) above, Cabinet be requested to endorse the changes to the Terms of Reference and Membership of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee (as outlined below) and refer to Full Council for approval:

 

           (i)            Membership of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee to consist of eight Elected Members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, seven representatives of the Voluntary Sector and one representative, as nominated by the Community Liaison Committee from Town and Community Councils within the Vale, to provide a link between the work of the two Committees;

 

            (ii)        Terms of Reference -

  1. To refer, as appropriate, reports and recommendations to the Council’s Cabinet and the Executives of Voluntary Sector organisations.
  2. To appoint a Chairman and Vice-Chairman from amongst the eight Members of the Council and an Honorary Vice-Chairman from amongst the seven representatives from the Voluntary Sector.
  3. To advise the Council of the needs, views and concerns of the Voluntary Sector.
  4. To report on the work of those organisations grant funded by the Council, either in full or in part.
  5. To act as a consultative forum where the Voluntary Sector and the Council may, in partnership, put forward policy proposals for discussion and decision.
  6. To facilitate and promote joint working between the Council and the Voluntary Sector.
  7. In accordance with the statutory provisions, only Members of the Council will have voting rights.  However, where there is no consensus, this will be reported in the minutes and placed before the Cabinet prior to a decision being taken.
  8. To review the Compact and associated Annual Work Plan and to monitor and report on progress made towards achieving the actions contained within the Compact and the Plan.
  9. To consider reports of the Cabinet and other Committees of the Council which have a bearing and impact on the Voluntary Sector.

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To seek Cabinet approval of the Compact and the work plan

 

(2)       To seek endorsement by Cabinet and approval by Full Council of the Membership and Terms of Reference of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee as required under the Council’s Constitution.

 

 

766            PRESENTATION – RESHAPING SERVICES PROGRAMME UPDATE –

 

The Head of Performance and Development provided the Committee with an update on the Reshaping Services programme by way of a presentation, it being noted that 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 Head of Service drew attention to the service specific projects for Tranche 1 and Tranche 2, corporate projects and the programme activity.  With specific reference to Town and Community Councils and the Voluntary Sector project, he stated that meetings were continuing with larger Councils initially to explore specific service and asset opportunities, including the opportunity to deliver differently.  Four library transfers had taken place with the Rhoose library transfer due during Quarter 4.  For Visible Services, work was underway to redesign this service with internal changes in 2017/18 seeking to minimise service delivery impacts.  Phase 2 for 2018/19 to consider other issues such as collaboration, income generation and working with communities.  In referring to the previous agenda item, the Voluntary Sector Compact had been reviewed and that a review would be undertaken of the Town and Community Council Charter in the Summer of 2017.  A strategy was also being developed for consideration in Quarter 4 for digital inclusion and economic development activities in addition to workforce, customer and collaboration issues.

 

In referring specifically to the Town and Community Councils and Voluntary Sector project, he highlighted that the Community Asset Transfer Guidance had been updated and approved by Cabinet in April 2016, with a three stage process being incorporated.  Information on this guidance was available on the Council’s website.

 

The Head of Service also referred to the Strong Communities Grant Fund as discussed earlier in the meeting which was also being proposed to consider the way grant funding was co-ordinated and leveraged with other sources to improve effectiveness of expenditure. 

 

Of further note was the fact that a Town and Community Council Clerks meeting had been arranged for Friday 17th March, advising that agenda items were to include Reshaping Services and Community Asset Transfer updates, emerging work in Penarth and Barry, Charter Action Plan and working with the Voluntary Sector amongst other items.

 

In referring to next steps the Compact with the Voluntary Sector was to be considered by Cabinet and for the annual work plan to commence and further consideration of “people based” services by the Project Team, including linkages with demand management and social care projects, were to be developed.

 

In response to concern from a Member that the Council had merged the Town and Community Councils and Voluntary Sector into one Reshaping Project Group, the Head of Performance and Development stated that the Community Liaison Committee and Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee were still two distinctive Committees with separate remits.  The Compact had been reviewed with the Voluntary Sector and the Charter with the Town and Community Councils would be reviewed in 2017.  However, although it was recognised they were two distinct entities, from a Reshaping point of view, there was a great deal of synergy between the two. 

 

Ms. Connor in response, stated that from the Voluntary Sector’s point of view, it had been useful to pull the two together.

 

AGREED – T H A T the Reshaping Services update presentation be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

In recognition of the work undertaken to date.

 

 

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