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VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 18th July, 2017.

 

Present:  Councillor Mrs. C.A. Cave (Chairman); Councillors L. Burnett, Miss. A.M. Collins, G.C. Kemp, N. Moore and Mrs. J.M. Norman.

 

Representatives of the Voluntary Sector: Ms. R. Connor (Glamorgan Voluntary Services); Ms. L. Newton (Cardiff and Vale Action for Mental Health) and Mrs. T. Power (Age Connects, Cardiff and the Vale).

 

 

162     APPOINTMENT OF HONORARY VICE-CHAIRMAN –

 

AGREED – T H A T Ms. L. Newton be appointed Honorary Vice-Chairman for the current Municipal Year.

 

 

163     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – 

 

These were received from Councillors M. Lloyd (Vice-Chairman) and M.J.G. Morgan; Miss. S. Bailie (Barnardos) and Ms. K. Quinn (Atal y Fro).

 

 

164     MINUTES –

 

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 8th February, 2017 be approved as a correct record subject to an amendment to Minute No. 762 – Declarations of Interest – in that Councillor L. Burnett was a Member at that time of Penarth Town Council and not Barry Town Council as indicated in the published minute.

 

 

165     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

166     INTRODUCTION TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE (PRESENTATION) –

 

The Committee received a presentation from the Principal Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer and the Head of Performance and Development which related to the undermentioned subjects and themes: 

  • The Constitution and make-up of the Committee, including arrangements pertaining to access to information provisions, including Part II items, public attendance at meetings, public speaking at meetings, the quorum of the Committee including applicable voting rights
  • The Terms of Reference of the Committee
  • The likely agenda items and business the Committee could be expected to consider in carrying out its responsibilities
  • Arrangements relating to the Voluntary Sector Compact and its aims, which was structured around four themes, based on a shared vision and values; set out a series of commitments as to how partners would work together and the ability to review the Compact every four years or sooner if desired with an annual work plan
  • Each theme related to the following areas:

   -       Theme 1 – communication, consultation and participation

   -       Theme 2 – partnership

   -       Theme 3 – funding and resources

   -       Theme 4 – volunteering

  • Annual work plan.

In referring to the two vacancies on the Committee, the Vice-Chairman enquired of progress made in filling these.  In response the Head of Performance and Development indicated that in regard to the vacancy in respect of Town and Community Councils, this matter was considered at the recent meeting of the Community Liaison Committee where it had been deferred to the next meeting for further consideration.  Separately, Ms. Connor indicated that she was awaiting a response from two organisations who had indicated their interest in being a member of the Committee and she hoped to report progress to the next meeting of the Committee.

 

AGREED – T H A T the contents of the presentation be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members of the Constitution, Terms of Reference and remit of the Committee.

 

 

167     VOLUNTARY SECTOR COMPACT – ANNUAL WORK PLAN UPDATE (MD) –

 

In February 2017, the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee considered and endorsed a revised Compact between the Council and the Voluntary Sector.  The Compact, which was set out at Appendix A to the report encompassed an annual work programme, contained a series of actions that when progressed would enable the objectives of the Compact to be delivered.  In addition, also attached to the report was the annual work plan which contained progress being made against each of the actions contained therein.  The Head of Performance and Development in referring to the actions highlighted St. Athan Community Library and Community Asset Transfers with Town and Community Councils as examples of the work being undertaken as part of the Compact.

 

The Chairman, in referring to Appendix B, noted that a number of actions had a review date of July 2017 and queried when progress would be reported to the Committee.  In response, Ms. Connor indicated that an update report was currently being prepared on progress in relation to the Compact work plan actions and this would be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee for consideration.

 

Having given consideration to the above, it was

 

AGREED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report and the update to the annual work plan be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Committee continue to monitor progress against the actions contained in the Compact work plan and advise of any additional actions required to progress the objectives of the Compact.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To provide an update on the work underway in relation to the Voluntary Sector Compact.

 

(2)       To ensure the appropriate activity is undertaken to progress the themes contained in the Compact.

 

 

168     PRESENTATION – STRONG COMMUNITIES GRANT FUND (MD) –

 

The Committee received a presentation from the Head of Performance and Development in relation to the above initiative which had been approved earlier in the year by the Council’s Cabinet. 

 

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

 

The Head of Service informed the Committee that the Fund was an amalgamation of grant funding issued by the Council wherever possible, aligning with the Council’s Corporate Plan, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and the Council’s Reshaping Services programme.  A central principle underpinning the Fund was to ensure the creative use of streamlined funding sources that were not disparate, that award decisions were transparent and aligned with the above objectives. 

 

In terms of the financial features of the Fund, the Head of Service informed the Committee that any underfunds would be carried forward year on year to maintain the Fund, with no minimum or maximum (to the value of the Fund) grant bids set.  In addition, there would be no threshold on capital funding for Town and Community Councils as was the case previously and in regard to Town and Community Council revenue bids, these could only be considered if collaborating with a third sector group.  Separately, the Voluntary Sector could now access the capital funding element of the scheme and that third party donor funding (the Waterloo Foundation) had been secured in the amount of £60,000 over the next three years. 

 

In addition to the above financial features, Section 106 community facilities funding would be added to the grant fund process. 

 

Eligible schemes would include that which sought funding to: 

  • Improve the resilience of organisations / groups through value adding activities
  • Provide seed corn funding towards initiatives that could demonstrate longer term sustainable schemes
  • Undertake consultation, feasibility, design and other specialist work to develop proposals for future activity
  • Meeting the capital cost of schemes to enable viable services to be provided
  • Encouraging collaboration
  • The Fund would not be solely for running costs or “business as usual” service delivery.

The Committee was informed that the Fund would incorporate the undermentioned funding streams:

 

Funding Stream

Funding Amount

Revenue or Capital

Balance brought forward

£124,645

 

Small Community Grants   Scheme /

Voluntary Action Scheme   Grants

£100,000

Revenue

Christmas Grants

£12,000

Revenue

Community Action Self   Help (CASH) Scheme

£30,000

Capital

TOTAL CORE FUNDING

£142,000

 

Waterloo Foundation   Donation

£20,000

 

TOTAL FUNDING 2017/18

£286,645

 

 

The above funding streams also proposed to include Section 106 Community Facilities Funding.

 

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

  • Community led organisations
  • Third Sector organisations (including access to the capital funding element)
  • Town and Community Councils (revenue bids would be subject to collaboration with a Third Sector group)
  • A consortia of the above organisations.

The Head of Performance and Development indicated that the Council’s Cabinet had agreed the Constitution of the Evaluation Panel who would be responsible for assessing funding applications to the Strong Communities Grant Fund which would make recommendations to the Cabinet regarding those bids that met the objectives of the Fund.  The Committee was informed that the Cross-organisation Evaluation Panel would be constituted as follows: 

  • The Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council
  • The Cabinet Member with responsibility for Regeneration
  • One representative from a Town Council
  • One representative from a Community Council
  • One representative from each of any recurring Third Party donor funding partner e.g. the Waterloo Foundation
  • One representative from the Voluntary Sector
  • One representative from a member organisation of the Public Services Board.

The Head of Performance and Development also informed the Committee of the application and evaluation cycle was on the basis of the following: 

  • Three application windows each year (December – January, April – May and August – September)
  • A standard application form with proportionate completion of information dependant on the size of funding sought
  • Availability of guidance notes for funding applications
  • Support from GVS for applicants. 

In summing up, the Head of Performance and Development indicated that in terms of the next steps it was intended to finalise the necessary paperwork during July 2017, undertake a communication strategy to include all Town and Community Councils (via the Council’s Community Liaison Committee), the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee, GVS and other Council communication channels (during July / August 2017).  It was further intended to finalise the Evaluation Panel working arrangements during August 2017, including the finalisation of internal administrative and financial processes.  The first evaluation window would open during September / October 2017, with the Council’s Cabinet considering the Evaluation Panel recommendations in October 2017. 

 

In referring to the presentation and to the last report made to the Committee in February 2017 on the subject, Ms. Connor reiterated her previous concerns regarding the limitations of accessing Section 106 funding due to the application of a geographical criteria.  She considered this to be particularly relevant, and an obstacle where there was a need to develop a service county wide.  That said, she welcomed the initiative, including the carrying forward of funding from the previous financial years, but considered this to be due to the lack of schemes being submitted for funding support.  She also considered that under the new arrangements, funding awards could potentially be accelerated with implications for funding in future financial years. 

 

A Member sought to clarify the position of Section 106 funding, indicating that the Section 106 funding referred to could be “top sliced” with this element of funding being used for non-specific geographical use and cited a sustainable transport initiative i.e. Green Links, which serviced the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan area. 

 

Another Member suggested that it would be useful if the Council’s Section 106 Officer could attend the next meeting of the Committee to provide appropriate advice and guidance on Section 106 funding. 

 

The Chairman, in referring to concerns regarding the future use of Section 106 funding, saw no difficulties in this funding being used to implement a pilot project to assess its viability before the initiative being rolled out on a county-wide basis.  However, she considered it essential that appropriate case studies illustrating funding initiatives and projects such as Green Link transport be included in the Fund launch guidance material. 

 

A Member, referring to the first funding window, thought that it was unlikely that Town and Community Councils, given the criteria for funding applications, would be in a position to submit funding applications in time.  He considered this to be particularly relevant given that Town and Community Councils would be entering a Summer recess with each Council unlikely to meet until mid / late September 2017.

 

The Chairman concurred with the comments of the Member and considered it was more likely that applications would be received in the second and third funding evaluation windows.

 

The Head of Performance and Development acknowledged this point and accepted applications for the first funding evaluation window were dependent on the timing of the Fund being launched.  He reminded the Committee that the total funding available in the first year, if unspent, would be carried forward into the next financial year.

 

Ms. Connor, in returning to the issue of Section 106 funding, enquired if it was possible if the Council’s Section 106 Officer could be a member of the Evaluation Panel.  A Member responded to this point, clarifying that appropriate officers would be available as and when required to advise the Evaluation Panel on funding bids and this would include the Council’s Section 106 Officer.  He further reminded the Committee that the funding “pot” would be topped up annually in addition to any funds being carried forward from one financial year to the next. 

 

The Vice-Chairman enquired of the Head of Service the timelines for the launch of the Fund, with the Head of Service responding that this would be at the end of the current month.  The Chairman requested that the Head of Performance and Development circulate the launch date to all Members of the Committee as soon as it was confirmed. 

 

Having regard to the presentation and ensuing discussions, it was

 

AGREED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the presentation be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Council’s Section 106 Officer be invited to the next meeting to provide advice on Section 106 funding.

 

(3)       T H A T the Head of Performance and Development identify useful case studies that could be included in the Fund launch material and notify the Committee of the launch date as soon as it was known.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To apprise the Committee of arrangements relating to the Strong Communities Grant Fund.

 

(2)       To advise the Committee on the application of Section 106 funding.

 

(3)       To provide advice and assistance to organisations making applications for funding and to keep the Committee abreast of ongoing development.

 

 

169     NOMINATION OF REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE STRONG COMMUNITIES GRANT FUND EVALUATION PANEL (MD) –

 

In the light of the previous presentation to the Committee on the subject, the Committee was requested to nominate a representative from the Voluntary Sector in the Vale of Glamorgan to be a member of the Strong Communities Grant Fund Evaluation Panel for the term of one year.

 

AGREED – T H A T Ms. R. Connor (Glamorgan Voluntary Services) be appointed to the Strong Communities Grant Fund Evaluation Panel for the term of one year.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To enable the Voluntary Sector to have an involvement in the evaluation of the Council’s Strong Communities Grant Fund.

 

 

 

 

 

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