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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 11th December 2012 

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Progress Report on the Community Strategy and Partnership Arrangements in the Vale of Glamorgan

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To enable Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) to consider the progress made by the LSB and key partnerships in delivering the Community Strategy and to raise awareness about some of the activity being undertaken through the partnerships..

Recommendation

That Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) note the achievements in delivering the first year of the Community Strategy and the challenges and key actions for partnership working.

Reason for the Recommendation

To enable the Committee to consider progress with the Community Strategy and work undertaken by the partnerships.

Background

2.             The Local Service Board (LSB) is the overarching strategic partnership in the Vale.  It is chaired by the Leader of the Council and membership includes senior representatives from key organisations operating in the Vale of Glamorgan e.g. South Wales Police, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Cardiff and Vale College.

3.             A new Community Strategy 2011-21 was approved by the LSB last year which brings together the plans and strategies of all the key partnerships in the Vale into one integrated strategy with ten agreed priority outcomes.  The integrated strategy was informed by a Unified Needs Assessment undertaken on behalf of the LSB by the Local Government Data Unit.

4.             Performance management arrangements have been established with the key partnerships including a reporting cycle to the LSB and the production of the annual report.

5.             A review has been undertaken to rationalise the number of sub-groups sitting under the key partnerships and this will now be undertaken annually.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.             In June 2012 Welsh Government produced guidance on integrating partnerships and plans 'Shared Purpose - Shared Delivery'.  The guidance sets out how LSBs should develop a single integrated plan, strengthen accountability and build a robust evidence base.  Draft guidance was produced for consultation at the beginning of the year and was presented to all Scrutiny Committees for comment.

Information and Engagement

7.             Partnership working in the Vale is already well developed with the establishment of the partnership team and co-location of officers at Barry Fire Station.  The LSB has already produced an integrated strategy and has established performance management arrangements.  Work is now being undertaken to develop an Information and Engagement Strategy and to assist this work a Business Intelligence Group (BIG) has been established with support from the Local Government Data Unit. The BIG will strengthen the analytical capacity of the LSB in terms of the skills, expertise and knowledge committed by partners to the business intelligence function available to the LSB.  In addition Vale Viewpoint is the new Citizens panel for the LSB and is a resource for all partners to use to assist with consultation.  A series of surveys will be undertaken through the year with the panel which is just one element of a more co-ordinated approach to engagement.

8.             A partnership newsletter is produced twice a year highlighting the key activities of the different partnerships. The Autumn edition is attached as Appendix A. Work has also started to improve the website and ensure information on partnership pages is relevant and consistent and demonstrates the linkages between different partnerships.

The Key Partnerships

9.             Although there are good working relationships the LSB recognises that structures will need to be reviewed from time to time to ensure they are appropriate. The Children and Young Peoples partnership has evolved to encompass the new Families First arrangements and the importance of prevention and early intervention.  The election of a new Police and Crime Commissioner may lead to changes in the approach to community safety.  The Regeneration Partnership is critical to ensuring that we maximise the opportunities through Communities First and Barry Regeneration funding and also focus on the needs of rural areas.  In November the Vale of Glamorgan Council was one of the first Councils to be advised that its Communities First cluster application was successful. 

10.        The Learning and Skills Partnership has focused on reducing NEETs and removing barriers to employment, learning and work and this is being assisted by working more closely with colleagues in regeneration.

11.        We are also promoting health and wellbeing through the Public Health and Wellbeing partnership and through an Integrated Health and Social Care Programme Board with colleagues in Cardiff. These have replaced the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Partnership that was previously established and ensure we maximise opportunities for joint working with Cardiff but also focus on local health and wellbeing issues.

The Annual Report and Local Service Forum

12.        Although the LSB has already put in place a significant amount of what is being proposed there is still a great deal to be done to enhance partnership working and further align the work of different partnerships.  The Annual Report attached as Appendix B provides a good account of key achievements in the first year of the Community Strategy and future challenges. It is structured around the ten priority outcomes which provide the framework for the Community Strategy.

13.        In October a Local Service Forum was attended by a wide range of stakeholders from the public, voluntary and community sectors.  The purpose of the event was to hear about some of the projects being undertaken in partnership in the Vale and to participate in workshops on some of the challenges.  The presentations and workshops covered a wide range of topics highlighting the diversity of work undertaken in partnership in the Vale and covering all ages.  A wide range of partners were involved in planning the event and running workshops including the Cardiff and Vale UHB, Environment Agency, Jobcentre Plus and Careers Wales.

14.        Key achievements in the Annual Report which were highlighted at the Local Service Forum include;

·         The Public Opinion Survey which the Council undertook this year shows that 97% of respondents either agree or strongly agree with the statement ‘I am proud to live in the Vale of Glamorgan’.  This is an incredibly high figure and a strong endorsement for local services and local communities.

·         The monetary value of volunteering activity in the Vale in 2011/12 was £29, 487, 731.  which is a testament to work going on in our local communities.

·         We have significantly reduced the percentage of young people aged 16-18 who are NEET although there are concerns that this can not be maintained in the current economic climate and with changes in funding. There are also concerns about figures post 18 and one of the workshops at the Forum focused on how we can work together to improve the engagement of young people so they do not become NEET.

·         In 2011/12 all crime in the Vale reduced by 9.1% and crime detection rates increased.  The number of first time entrants to the Youth Justice System has also reduced considerably over the past four years. Another positive development has been the opening of the Community Resource Centre at Cadoxton House with agencies relocated to deliver one-to-one and group counselling for domestic abuse and alcohol abuse.  This is also the base for the Families Achieving Change Together (FACT) team funded through Families First.  Two of these issues were included at the Local Service Forum with a presentation on FACT and a workshop on the Alcohol Strategy.

·         There has been an increase in the uptake of flu vaccinations in key groups year on year. This is an important area and work will continue to promote the benefits of vaccinations. Another workshop at the Forum focused on the importance of promoting consistent public health messages.

15.        In some areas performance is plateauing and it is important that partners work together to make sure where we can improve that we do improve.  In other areas the challenge will be to ensure there is not a drop in standards and this is why a strong emphasis is being placed on managing performance and analysing data so there is a strong evidence base to underpin and inform activities.

16.        Key  challenges and activities for 2012/13 that are highlighted in the Annual Report include;

·         Improving capacity for data collection and analysis

·         Exploring further opportunities to provide services from shared premises

·         Expansion of the Wyn campaign (frail elderly)

·         Development of a Basic Skills Strategy

·         Targeting preventative work and interventions to assist children in poverty

·         Activities to reduce and support NEETs

·         Implementing the Communities First programme

·         Expanding provision for children and young people affected by substance misuse

·         Delivering the Alcohol Strategy and raising awareness about impacts on health and wellbeing

·         Implementing the Healthy Heart Campaign

17.        Many of these activities cut across a number of the partnerships and will require the input of several organisations to ensure that the necessary outcomes are achieved. The key partnerships will continue to oversee this work and will report regularly to the LSB.

Welfare Reform

18.        Following discussions at the LSB and the Local Service Forum an external stakeholder group has now been established with representation from a range of organisations who will need to work together to plan for the implications of welfare reform.  This group will complement work being undertaken by the Council's internal officer group and contribute to the scrutiny Task and Finish Group. The LSB will receive regular updates on the work of the group as partners have recognised the forthcoming changes will have wide ranging implications which will affect all LSB partners and their service users.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

19.        All the actions detailed in the strategy and the accompanying Delivery Plan have been agreed by all participating organisations, and should therefore be funded by those partners and partnerships.  The strategy is a ten year strategy, and specific activities are reviewed and revised in light of changes to the resources available to partners and to reflect changes in legislation and government policy.

20.        The LSB Development Grant from the Welsh Government will continue until 2014/15. In 2012/13 this was £50,000 for the Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board. The terms and conditions of the grant have been reviewed with a greater focus on capacity and capability for needs analysis, service commissioning, outcomes planning and performance management. 

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

21.        One of the ten priority outcomes in the strategy is 'Vale residents and organisations respect the local environment and work together to meet the challenge of climate change'.  Progress has been made in gathering details of carbon emissions across partners and there are also actions in the strategy about raising awareness about sustainable development. The delivery of the Community Strategy is consistent with the Council's commitment to promote sustainability and takes account of the four essential principles of sustainability in terms of environment, economy, a strong, healthy and just society and good governance.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

22.        Shared Purpose Shared Delivery replaces previous statutory guidance deriving from a number of pieces of legislation: Community Strategies (Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009), Children and Young Peoples Plans (Children Act 2004, Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010), and Health Social Care and Wellbeing Strategies (NHS (Wales) Act 2006).

23.        The objective of the Safer Vale Partnership is to reduce crime and disorder within the Vale of Glamorgan. The Council is a key partner along with South Wales Police, South Wales Fire and Rescue, Wales Probation Trust, and the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services. The Community Strategy ensures that the Local Authority is addressing and meeting the requirements as detailed in Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Crime and Disorder Implications

24.        One of the ten priority outcomes identified is 'Residents and visitors are safe and feel safe and the Vale is recognised as a low crime area'. Achievements in this area are detailed in the annual report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

25.        An Equalities Impact Assessment of the Community Strategy was undertaken as part of the development of the strategy.

Corporate/Service Objectives

26.        The Community Leadership section of the Corporate Plan 2010 - 2014 includes the Improvement Objective 'To promote through partnership working greater co-operation with other organisations that deliver services in the Vale, thereby improving the quality of life of its citizens.' Reviewing the Community Strategy is also included in the plan. The draft Corporate Plan 2013-17 also emphasises the importance of partnership working which contributes to the delivery of all the priorities.

Policy Framework and Budget

27.        The Community Strategy was approved by Council in July 2011.  This report details the progress in the first twelve months of the Strategy.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

28.        The Annual Report was considered by all the key partnerships and has been approved by the Local Service Board.

29.        A wide range of stakeholders were invited to attend the Local Service Forum including Town and Community Councils and Chairs of Scrutiny Committees.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

30.        Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Community Strategy 2011-21 - Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board 2011

Shared Purpose -  Shared Delivery - Welsh Government June 2012

Contact Officer

Huw Isaac - Head of Performance and Development

Officers Consulted

Corporate Partnership Team

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director

 

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