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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 1 December, 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sport Development

 

Play – Initiatives and Update

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         The purpose of this report is to update the Cabinet on various Play initiatives, provide an update on the Play Sufficiency audit and give details of the new statutory guidance issued to Local Authorities on Play Opportunities.  In addition approval is sought to invite Town and Community Council’s to provide financial support for school holiday play schemes should they wish to support them in their communities.

Recommendations

1.         That the progress on the Play Sufficiency audit be noted  

2.         That the Director of Development Services be authorised to write to all Town and Community Councils detailing opportunities for play provision in their communities and the costs involved.

3.         That the Director of Development Services be authorised to recharge other Council departments in circumstances where children are referred to play schemes and their additional needs place extra demands on play provision.

4.         That this report be referred to the Community Liaison and the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committees for information.

5.         That the proposals outlined in this report for future play provision be reviewed after one year.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To note the progress made to date 

2.         To enable play opportunities to continue to be delivered

3.         To ensure that the capacity and resources exist for children and young people in all situations

4.         To advise both Committees of the proposal in relation to future play scheme provision.

5.         To assess the impact of changes proposed for future play provision.

Background

2.         The Council had a duty to undertake a Play Sufficiency Audit and to produce an action plan, which was submitted to Welsh Government in November 2012. Further statutory duties have since been placed on the Local Authority by Welsh Government. The new duties placed on the Local Authority are attached in appendix 'A’.   A timetable for completion of these duties has already been set by Welsh Government and are attached at Appendix 'B’.

3.         Playschemes and other play provision have operated during all school holidays (with the exception of Christmas) and sporadically at other times in the past year. These have been funded in a variety of ways including grants from the Disability Strand of the Families First funding, from the Out of School Care grant, from departmental budgets and with financial assistance from two Town and Community Councils.

4.         Funding for Play Services has been particularly difficult to identify given the changes in funding formula over the past few years and the demand on the Councils own budgets.   

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         The main requirements placed upon the Local Authority by Welsh Government in terms of the new statutory play duties are to assess the sufficiency of play opportunities in the area and so far as reasonably practicable to secure sufficient play opportunities having regard to the assessments and to publish the opportunities available.

6.         In meeting these new duties a report has been forwarded to Welsh Government detailing progress on the current two year Play Action Plan. A timetable is also being established for future annual Play Action Plans that will be a statutory requirement for all Local Authorities to produce. The contents of these future action plans will obviously be dictated by the amount of resources available to deliver play opportunities in the Vale of Glamorgan.

7.         With these requirements in mind, and given the uncertainty regarding future budgets for play provision in the Vale of Glamorgan it is proposed to ask Town and Community Councils to fund play provision within their specific areas for 2015/2016 and beyond. A precedent for this has been partly established in the past year with both Barry Town Council and Dinas Powys Community Council part funding play activities in their respective areas. The costs of staging playschemes and/or Play Ranger sessions in school holidays are detailed in Appendix C. To facilitate this it is proposed to write to all Town & Community Councils enclosing a copy of this report and to give a presentation at a future Community Liaison committee.

8.         There is currently a commitment by the Sports & Play Development Team to deliver some tailored projects on behalf of internal and external partners. Examples of such projects include offering a bespoke service to the families of disabled children to ensure their children have the required resources to attend playschemes. This is delivered via Disability Strand funding through Families First. This service is becoming increasingly popular which is placing a strain on the resources available and is resulting in the need to limit the amount of opportunities each child is able to access.

9.         The playschemes are occasionally used by other Council departments, such as Children’s Services to provide support for children and families in need where the child has additional needs that require extra resources to be put in place by the Sports and Play Development Team.  This may involve a child’s behaviour requiring one to one support or where a child needs to stay all day and therefore requires supervision between the morning and afternoon sessions.  If this is required in the future, recharges will need to be made to other Council departments to enable the Sports and Play Development Team to fund the extra staffing that these additional responsibilities bring.

10.      The Sports & Play Development Team is also involved in the delivery of an afterschool club at Cadoxton School, which offers play opportunities for children aged 4 – 11 years. At present there are 45+ children attending each session. A number of these children exhibit challenging behaviour which affects the staffing numbers at the provision. An outdoor play project is also successfully being delivered at Alexandra Gardens.

11.      In partnership with Bristol Scrapstore and Palmerston School, the team is also working on an Outdoor Play & Learning Project. As part of this project the Sports & Play Development Team has been commissioned to mentor the lunchtime supervisors at Palmerston School to deliver the outdoor play and learning programme. A similar project in relation to the training of LSA’s within schools is taking place at a number of other schools via the Pick N Mix project, which is funded via the Putting Families First funding stream. The team have also been involved in the delivery of training to other organisations such as Monmouthshire Council in relation to the delivery of inclusive play provision for which recharges have been made.

12.      In addition to the above, the Sports & Play Development Team has also been actively involved in a series of events organised by the Council (Events Team and Housing department) and other organisations such as Ashgrove School.  As well as providing quality play opportunities these events also promote family activity and provide an opportunity to promote the main activities of the play service. They have also provided funding to support additional play opportunities as a recharge can often be made for the services provided. 

13.      Finally, it is recognised that other service areas and initiatives do receive grant funding to deliver community based play services.  Where opportunities exist for working with such providers and initiatives to help secure a sustainable future for the Council’s play provision, the Council’s dedicated Play team will actively seek to work in partnership with them.

 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

14.      A variety of funding sources have been used to fund play development opportunities this financial year. The majority of these are time limited funding streams. They include:

£50,000            Disability Strand of Families First funding (disability element of
                        playschemes)
£25,000            Council revenue funding (for playschemes, events and play provision)

£10,000            Out of School Childcare Grant (Cadoxton Afterschool Club &
                        Alexandra Gardens project)
£3500               Putting Families First (Pick N Mix project)
£780                  Bristol Scrapstore (Outdoor Play & Learning Project)
£300                 Communities First (training for volunteers)
£275                 Monmouthshire Council (Inclusive Play workshop)
£550                 Ashgrove School (2 play events)
£275                 Housing Department (Tenants Family Fun Day)

Funding has also been secured this year via the Events team for delivery of play opportunities at numerous Council events including the Barry Islander Sports & Play Weekenders and the Winter Wonderland.

15.      Approved funding for 2015/16 is currently:-

£50,000                        Disability Strand of Families First funding (disability element of
                        playschemes)
£12,750            Council revenue funding (for playschemes, events and play provision)

16.      It is proposed that for 2015/6 the £12,750 Council funding be used towards funding the Play Development Officer who administers and runs the play schemes on behalf of the Council. A small element of her time will be included in the recharged costs of running play schemes.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.      There are none associated with this report, although the provision of Play within the community areas help to foster sustainable communities.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18.      The Council’s statutory duties in relation to play provision are set out in the body of the report.  If Town and Community Councils respond favourably to invitations to fund play provision, it will be necessary to agree and enter into appropriate forms of service level agreements.

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.      Quality leisure opportunities are now proven to have a positive effect on crime and disorder.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

20.      There are no new equal opportunity implications arising from this report, although the delivery of Play opportunities within communities are provided in an inclusive manner.

Corporate/Service Objectives

21.      Play was previously a discretionary service operated by the Council for the benefit of residents. 

Policy Framework and Budget

22.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

23.      The issues arising in this report are Vale-wide and not Ward specific and, therefore, no Ward Member consultation has taken place.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.      Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

David Knevett, Operational Manager - Leisure and Tourism - Tel. 01446 704817

 

Officers Consulted

Head of Finance

Head of Legal Services

Director of Learning and Skills

Children and Young People’s Partnership Manager

Operational Manager: Parks and Open Spaces

Head of Children and Young People Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services

 

 

 

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