VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 25th October, 2017.
Present: Councillor Mrs. C.A. Cave (Chairman); Councillor M. Lloyd (Vice-Chairman); Councillors L. Burnett, Miss. A.M. Collins, G.C. Kemp, N. Moore, and Mrs. J.M. Norman.
Representatives of the Voluntary Sector: Ms. L. Newton (Cardiff and Vale Action for Mental Health) (Honorary vice-Chairman); Ms. R. Connor (Glamorgan Voluntary Services) and Councillor Mrs. A. Barnaby (Town and Community Councils).
414 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –
These were received from Miss. H. Thomas (Barnardos) and Ms. K. Quinn (Atal y Fro).
415 MINUTES –
AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 18th July, 2017 be approved as a correct record.
416 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –
No declarations were received.
417 OUR VALE – OUR FUTURE, THE PUBLIC SERVICES BOARD DRAFT WELL-BEING PLAN (MD) –
The Head of Performance and Development presented the report, the purpose of which was to apprise the Committee of the Public Services Board’s (PSB) draft Well-being Plan and details of the 12 week consultation programme. As well as referring to the report, the Officer also provided a PowerPoint presentation which demonstrated the reasons behind the Well-being Plan and its future aims, the statutory requirements of the Plan and also how the Voluntary Sector could engage with progress made.
The Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 formally established PSBs in each Local Authority area in Wales. “Our Vale” was the Vale PSB and in accordance with the Act must contribute to the achievement of the national well-being goals as set out in the legislation. The PSB must do this by:
assessing the state of economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being in the local area;
setting local objectives that were designed to maximise the PSB's contribution within the area to achieving the national well-being goals;
taking all reasonable steps to meet these objectives i.e. through a Well-being Plan which must be informed by the Well-being Assessment.
The PSB must publish its first Well-being Plan by 4th May, 2018.
In May 2017 the Vale PSB published its Well-being Assessment. The Assessment brought together a wealth of
information from a wide range of sources and provided a comprehensive picture of well-being in the Vale of Glamorgan. As part of the consultation on the draft Well-being Assessment views were sought on the four areas of focus which the PSB had identified to provide a framework for the Well-being Plan. The four areas of focus were engagement, the environment, early years and tackling poverty / inequalities. All Town and Community Councils were consulted on the assessment of local well-being and would be consultees to the Well-being Plan.
Following the consultation on the Assessment and subsequent publication, the PSB started work on the development of the Plan. This had included the development and implementation of a self-assessment tool focusing on leadership, policy, activities, resources and impact in relation to the four areas of focus. Two expert workshops had also been held and discussions with partners had been ongoing throughout the process. The PSB had also taken account of feedback from the Future Generations Commissioner on the Well-being Assessment and the approach to developing the Plan.
As a result of this work the PSB had drafted a vision for 2050 and a Well-being Plan for 2018-2023 with four well-being objectives and a number of short term and long term actions. The Plan represented the first steps in achieving the 2050 vision.
The PSB's four Well-being Objectives were:
to enable people to get involved, participate in their local communities and shape local services;
to reduce poverty and tackle inequalities linked to deprivation;
to give children the best start in life;
to protect, enhance and value our environment.
The full draft Plan was attached as Appendix A to the report and detailed how the Well-being Objectives had been set, proposed actions, how the plan fitted with other partnership plans and strategies and the outcomes the Council wanted to achieve. An Executive Summary was attached as Appendix B to the report.
The actions in the draft Plan had been discussed at length across the PSB and reflected where partners thought their collective action could add the greatest value in contributing to the national well-being goals. Many of the actions in the draft Plan cut across a number of objectives and demonstrated how partners were looking to integrate activities to deliver a range of outcomes.
Actions in the draft Plan included:
research best practice in engagement and community participation to develop new approaches;
support and promote volunteering opportunities for staff and residents;
produce an engagement toolkit;
work with the local community to identify and develop a co-production project;
work together to promote healthy behaviour messages;
work with local residents to identify and deliver an environmental project;
develop a co-ordinated approach to tackling fuel poverty;
work together as local employers to develop new opportunities for work experience and apprenticeships;
improve parenting skills;
review multi-agency arrangements for the delivery of preventative and statutory services for children and young people;
promote active travel and more sustainable travel;
deliver on a joint commitment to 'green' Council estates .e.g. reduce energy use and minimise pollution.
The Officer also added that consultation on the draft Plan would run for 12 weeks and would end on 20th December. During the consultation period there would be a range of activities and ways that would assist people and organisations to have their say. These included:
a link to the draft Plan and dates of the stakeholder workshops had been circulated to all statutory consultees, Town and Community Councils and a wide range of organisations including those that participated in the engagement to date on the Well-being Assessment and draft Plan;
PSB partners had already been out and about at different events to talk about the PSB and the draft Plan including the 50+ Forum event, Barry Jobs Fair, Big Volunteer event and the Equalities Consultative Forum. Officers would also be out in the different communities and attending more events over the coming weeks;
an online survey and social media campaign ~30 days of wellbeing would be launched on 23rd October and promoted by all partners;
two stakeholder workshops would be held on 29th November and 6th December.
As part of the consultation the PSB was particularly seeking views on the Well-being objectives and proposed actions and suggestions from organisations which could help to deliver the objectives.
Following the consultation the feedback would be considered by the PSB and the draft Plan amended and agreed for publication at the beginning of May 2018.
The Officer concluded the presentation by referring Members to officer contact information for Members to provide extra feedback or find additional information relevant for the development of the Well-being Plan.
A Member questioned why the vision for the Vale was set for the year 2050 as this date seemed very far in the future and less urgent. In response, the Officer advised that the current Plan set to 2023 was considered to be too short. If an additional 30 years was added to this date to reflect a truly long term, generational, perspective, then this would bring the date to 2048, which had been rounded up to 2050. There would also be a number of shorter term actions contributing to the longer term aims.
As a supplementary question, the Member then asked if the Well-being Plan needed to be signed off by statutory partners only. The Officer advised that he would endeavour to find the answer to this question and let the Committee know by e-mail. He was confident that all PSB partners would be happy to endorse the Plan.
In support of the Member’s original question, a Voluntary Sector Representative further advised that during the expert workshops looking to develop the Plan, the date of 2023 was considered too short and there needed to be consideration for a medium as well as a long term Plan. However, it was seen to be more reasonable during workshop discussions that emphasis was put on the short term effect of proposed actions.
The Town and Community Council Representative asked the Officer whether there would be any monitoring put in place once the Plan was approved; as the current draft did not include any details on this. The Head of Performance and Development advised that monitoring would be necessary once the Plan was approved, however, the details of how this would be put in place was yet to be decided. It was the hope that one of the statutory organisations involved in delivering the Well-being Plan would take the lead on each of the four objectives, which would make the monitoring process easier. The Officer also highlighted the fact that it would be inappropriate for the Local Authority to take the lead on all four objectives but this would be a discussion for the future when the Well-being Plan had been approved.
The Chairman thanked the Officer for his presentation and encouraged the Committee to contact officers with any suggestions or contributions to be made to the Well-being Plan. The Chairman then took the opportunity to express her concerns on the Well-being Plan introduction (page 3 of the Appendix A) in that it had too much emphasis on young people and as a Local Authority there should be consideration for all other categories of society. The Officer replied that the Well-being Assessment underpinning the Plan had demonstrated a need for the PSB to focus on young people, but that did not mean that other plans and strategies were not targeted on other groups such as older people.
The Vice-Chairman agreed that the data collated as part of the Well-being Assessment would be an excellent starting point to inform effective changes / actions to make progress. It would therefore be important to set achievement dates in the monitoring once the Well-being Plan was adopted in the future.
(1) T H A T the comments made by the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee during the meeting, and directly to officers at a later date, be considered by officers to inform the draft Plan.
(2) T H A T Committee give future consideration as to how the Third Sector could contribute to the delivery of the Well-being Plan in the future.
Reason for recommendations
(1&2) Officers obtain feedback from Committee Members regarding the PSB’s draft Well-being Plan during the 12 week consultation period.
418 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 that contained a series of actions that, when progressed, would enable the objectives of the Compact to be delivered. In addition, also attached at Appendix B 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 advised that the Compact was to provide a local framework within which the Voluntary Sector and Council could work together in ways which were mutually beneficial; enabling each to contribute fully and effectively to delivering well-being for communities in the Vale of Glamorgan.
The Compact was structured around four themes which were:
communication, consultation and participation;
funding and resources;
The Annual Work Plan demonstrated the updates on activities since July 2017 which enabled a series of actions to be undertaken by both the Voluntary Sector and the Council to progress the themes.
The Officer also highlighted the two recommendations made by the Wales Audit Office as published in the Council’s Annual Improvement Report (2016-17) in July 2017. The report arose from a national study undertaken by the Wales Audit Office on Local Authority Funding of Third Sector Services:
R1: To get the best from funding decisions, Local Authorities and Third Sector bodies need to ensure they have the right arrangements and systems in place to support their work with the third sector. To assist Local Authorities and Third Sector bodies in developing their working practices, we recommend that Local Authority and Third Sector officers use the Checklist for Local Authorities effectively engaging and working with the Third Sector to:
self-evaluate current Third Sector engagement, management, performance and practice;
identify where improvements in joint working is required; and
jointly draft and implement an action plan to address the gaps and weaknesses identified through the self-evaluation.
R2: Poor performance management arrangements are weakening accountability and limiting effective scrutiny of Third Sector activity and performance. To strengthen oversight of the Third Sector, we recommend that Elected Members scrutinise the review checklist completed by officers, and regularly challenge performance by officers and the Local Authority in addressing gaps and weaknesses.
At a meeting of the Reshaping Services Town and Community Councils and Voluntary Sector Project Team, the group reviewed the checklist referred to in the Wales Audit Office recommendation and identified the relevant colleagues from the Council and Third Sector who would complete the checklist. It was proposed that the checklist be presented to the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee for review in line with the second Wales Audit Office recommendation. The Officer advised that the checklist was likely to be presented to the Committee in February 2018.
The Officer then referred to the action points contained under Theme 3: Funding and Resources. In addition to the Wales Audit Office recommendations, the Council had recently undertaken a review of external grants made available to the Third Sector, including the creation of the new grant fund – the Strong Communities Grant Fund. The aim of this Fund was to provide opportunities to bid for funding three times per year over a period of up to three years. The first round of applications was announced in August 2017 and the Evaluation Panel was due to meet in October 2017 to review initial bids before making any recommendations to Cabinet for the award of the funding.
The Chairman thanked the Officer for the update and queried how the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and the Community Liaison Committee would receive joint information and updates on the Strong Communities Grant Fund as both Committees had a joint investment in the scheme.
The Representative from Glamorgan Voluntary Services confirmed in her capacity as a member of the Strong Communities Grant Panel that the first meeting had taken place and several bids had been made. However, only 12 bids were ready to be considered as some bids required more work before being formally submitted. The Representative expressed her excitement on the fact that the Strong Communities Grant Fund would encourage work between local groups and enhance relationships between the Third Sector and Town and Community Councils going forward.
The Officer acknowledged that there would need to be a mechanism for sharing information and receiving updates on the Grant Fund for both the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and the Community Liaison Committee and advised the Committee that a representative from each Committee was represented on the Strong Communities Grant Fund Panel and would therefore be in a position to feedback when appropriate.
The Glamorgan Voluntary Services Representative also advised the Committee that due to the Strong Communities Grant Panel only recently meeting for the first time that meant that it was not yet appropriate to share information and that the timetable for the Grant Panel would be communicated in the future once confirmed.
(1) T H A T the content of the report and updates to the annual work plan be noted.
(2) T H A T the Committee continues to monitor progress against the actions contained in the work plan and advise of any additional actions required to progress the objectives of the Compact.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To provide the Committee with 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.
419 GLAMORGAN VOLUNTARY SERVICES (GVS) ANNUAL REPORT (VS) –
Ms. Connor, Chief Executive Officer of Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS), provided the Committee with a report which contained information on the work of GVS throughout the year April 2016 – March 2017.
It was a statutory requirement of GVS to provide an annual report to the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee as GVS received core funding from the Local Authority.
Formed in 2015 from a merger between the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (VCVS) and the Vale Volunteer Bureau (VVB), GVS was a member organisation, the infrastructure organisation for voluntary and community organisations based in, or serving, the Vale of Glamorgan. GVS’ membership rose from 676 for 2015/16 to 735 groups this year, an increase of 8% over the year.
The comprehensive report detailed the main achievements of GVS over the calendar year and Ms. Connor wished to highlight the following points which were of particular interest:
GVS’ funding and information service provided support to 172 groups throughout the year with a reported £823,764 of funding obtained as a direct result of the advice and information given by GVS. This was an increase of £365,000 or 69% on the previous year.
Seven funding surgeries were held with representatives from a range of major funders, including the Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund giving valuable advice on a 1:1 basis with Third Sector organisations. 88 groups attended these sessions. Groups were finding this access to funders, ahead of submitting an application, of great use resulting in a higher success rate. Ms. Connor also advised that the funding application process would last for anything up to 18 months and therefore a lot of support was required to obtain funding successfully.
Partnership, Consultation and Joint Working
GVS had continued to represent the sector on the Public Services Board, other strategic partnership and appropriate sub-groups, ensuring the voice of the sector and the wider community was heard at all levels. In addition, with the Reshaping Services agenda, GVS had been heavily involved in consultations and discussions with service providers regarding the participation of the Third Sector in the shaping and delivery of future services. GVS and other Third Sector organisations had been working with the Local Authority to ensure that people and communities were engaged at every step of the way.
Ms. Connor highlighted the vast amount of key strategic partnerships on which GVS played a key role as indicated in her report at section 3.8.4 and also the importance of “being at the table” to ensure that the Third Sector was not forgotten and represented to the best of its ability. Playing a role within the key strategic partnerships allowed GVS to access resources and funding coming into the Third Sector for use in Cardiff and the Vale. Ms. Connor advised that in the last 15 months over £70,000 had been obtained to be used for health services, which was only made available to GVS because they were represented at key strategic partnership groups.
GVS was committed and determined to make the best use of funders’ money so efficiency savings had been made in a number of areas:
- Encouraging contacts to receive GVS’ Vista magazine and supplements by e-mail;
- Introducing an e-bulletin service;
- Restricting telephone calls made to mobile phones;
- Turning off electrical items when not in use;
- Using a smaller GVS room for training courses rather than paying for room hire; and
- encouraging staff to only print if required.
Ms. Connor advised that GVS was attempting to create more of a digital presence and had begun by ensuring that their catalogue of “how to” sheets was available online. GVS had over 170 “how to” sheets and so far over 30,000 downloads had been made from the online service.
Ms. Connor was glad to report that despite losing the Holton Road base, volunteer numbers had not dropped and that GVS would continue to change how services were delivered.
GVS had recently hosted a big volunteering fair which was a success to help widen the opportunities for volunteering to both organisations and to the general public. With 57 organisations in attendance with stalls, 306 visitors, 1,247 enquiries and 300 “sign-ups”. Ms. Connor was pleased to report that this evidenced the fact that individuals and communities were willing to collaborate and support others when there was a need.
The Chairman thanked Ms. Connor for her detailed report and also for the great deal of work currently taking place through GVS. The Chairman was also glad to hear that the number of volunteers was increasing in the Vale of Glamorgan.
RECOMMENDED – T H A T the information contained within the Glamorgan Voluntary Services’ report be noted.
Reason for recommendation
The report, as required by the terms of the Vale of Glamorgan Council / Glamorgan Voluntary Services Deed of Grant, be made available to Committee Members.
420 VALE THIRD SECTOR CONSORTIA DEVELOPMENT PROJECT – END OF PROJECT REPORT (VS) –
The purpose of the report was to provide the Committee with information on the work of the Vale Third Sector Consortia Development Project funded via the Vale Voluntary Action Scheme. Ms. Connor highlighted the fact that the need for joint delivery models and development of consortia was becoming more and more important in the current economic climate. Without support and co-ordination it would often be impossible for small, local organisations to individually bid to the larger funding providers or to tender for the delivery of public services. The Consortia Development Project sought to support local organisations to develop consortia to bid for and deliver services to local people and communities. This was an opportunity for the Vale Voluntary Action Scheme to support a unique and innovative project that had provided a considerable financial return to the local Third Sector with minimal investment and had helped to alleviate demand on statutory services.
The original grant awarded for the Consortia Project was £71,820 over three years. During this time, Ms. Connor was delighted to report, £511,903 had been secured in funding as a direct result of the project. This was over a seven fold return on the initial investment.
Ms. Connor also apprised the Committee of the following facts:
the successful projects would run for a further 2-3 years;
one full time an six part time posts had been created;
over 160 meetings, seminars and events had been attended;
numerous people of all ages had been involved in projects and continued to meet the needs of their local communities, in line with the community strategy action plan;
over 40 organisations had worked together on the projects, developing valuable contacts and gained greater knowledge and understanding of each other’s work.
In the current, difficult financial climate, Ms. Connor also advised that there was an increase in need, and often a requirement by funders, for groups to work together in partnership in order to meet outcomes and objectives. To support this initiative and to use what had been learned and evaluated throughout the project, a Consortium Development Toolkit had been developed to support organisations thinking about working as part of a consortium. The Toolkit included information about things to consider when applying for “large” amounts of funding. It was launched at GVS’ AGM on 12th October, 2017 and was available as a paper copy from GVS or via the GVS website. GVS also hoped to develop the Toolkit into an electronic application in the future.
Members commended the amount of work that had taken place and felt that the Toolkit was particularly useful and accessible.
The Chairman stated that it would be useful to see statistics on the successful bids made, to which Ms. Connor informed the Committee that the success of bids depended on the time of the bid being made and also the realistic expectations of the organisation on resources available.
(1) T H A T the return of £511,903 on the investment of £71,820 in the three year time span of the project be noted.
(2) T H A T the financial benefits to the communities of the Vale of Glamorgan following the seven fold return on the initial investment also be noted.
Reason for recommendations
(1&2) That the project report, as required by the terms of the Vale Voluntary Action Scheme grant, be made available to Committee Members.
421 ECONOMIC VALUE OF VOLUNTEERING WITHIN THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN (VS) –
Consideration was given to an Annual Report on the Economic Value of Volunteering within the Vale of Glamorgan.
Ms. Connor advised that the audit of voluntary activity was firstly undertaken by the Vale Volunteer Bureau (VVB) in 2000, when the monetary value of volunteering was calculated to be £8,207,136. Since the merger of the VVS with the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services to form Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS) in 2015, this annual undertaking to provide a monetary value for the voluntary effort in the Vale had continued.
Last year a figure of £37,085,568 was calculated as the average monetary value of voluntary activity in the Vale of Glamorgan. In comparison with the previous year, the monetary value of volunteering had risen from £37,085,568 to £39,102,861. This was an increase of £2,017,293. The growth could be attributed to the increase in the number of organisations recruiting volunteers.
Questionnaires were sent out to all volunteer recruiting organisations based in the Vale and registered with GVS. The questionnaire asked for the number of volunteers involved in the organisation and the number of hours per week that they volunteered.
Ms. Connor highlighted the fact that the statistical figures provided in her report demonstrated an average figure of “formal volunteering”, this being volunteering that was undertaken through the auspices of a formal arrangement with a voluntary organisation and, as such, only provided a snapshot of the voluntary activity taking place in the Vale of Glamorgan. Informal volunteering was doing something unpaid as an individual for a neighbour or friend or member of the community, who was not a close family member.
Ms. Connor concluded her presentation of the report by stating that more progress and work was to be done in the future and that the Third Sector, as well as the Local Authority, needed to engage more with young people to ensure engagement in the future. Part of this process was changing the mind-set from “having to do” something to “wanting to do” something.
The Chairman again thanked Ms. Connor for her detailed report and the excellent work taking place to promote the benefits of volunteering within the community. The Chairman agreed that the profile of volunteering needed to be raised and the work of the GVS was an excellent example of how to do this.
(1) T H A T the 78 fold return on the voluntary activity investment be acknowledged and the information contained within the report be noted.
(2) T H A T the report and the information contained therein be referred to the Cabinet and other Members of the Council for information.
Reason for recommendations
(1&2) To acknowledge the contribution that volunteers made to the Vale of Glamorgan and to provide an annual update on the Compact Action Plan.