Agenda Item No. 7
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 6 JANUARY 2015
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 1 DECEMBER 2014
C2562 PLAY – INITIATIVES AND UPDATE (LPCSD) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMNENT) -
Cabinet was updated on the Play Sufficiency audit and the new statutory guidance issued to Local Authorities on Play Opportunities.
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 had since been placed on the Local Authority by Welsh Government the new duties were outlined in Appendix 'A’ attached to the report. A timetable for completion of the duties had already been set by Welsh Government and were attached at Appendix 'B’ to the report.
Playschemes and other play provision had operated during all school holidays (with the exception of Christmas) and sporadically at other times in the past year. These had 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.
Funding for Play Services had been particularly difficult to identify given the changes in funding formula over the past few years and the demand on the Councils own budgets.
The main requirements placed upon the Local Authority by Welsh Government in terms of the new statutory play duties were 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.
In meeting these new duties a report had been forwarded to Welsh Government detailing progress on the current two year Play Action Plan. A timetable was also being established for future annual Play Action Plans that would be a statutory requirement for all Local Authorities to produce. The contents of these future action plans would obviously be dictated by the amount of resources available to deliver play opportunities in the Vale of Glamorgan.
A variety of funding sources had been used to fund play development opportunities this financial year. The majority of these were time limited funding streams. They included:
£50,000 Disability Strand of Families First funding (disability element of
£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 had 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.
At the meeting, the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development highlighted paragraphs 8-12 of the Cabinet report which set out the work carried out by the Play Team. He informed the Cabinet that the Play Development Team were recently presented with an award by the Understanding Disability Group and were highly commended for the Holiday Play Schemes delivered in the Vale of Glamorgan, recognising the work carried out in providing a positive understanding of people with a learning disability. The Cabinet Member expressed his thanks to the Play Development Officer and her team for their hard work carried out in achieving this success.
The Cabinet Member also stated that cut backs by the Westminster Government meant that there was now reduced funding available for play schemes in the Vale of Glamorgan and summer schemes would now need to be supported in order to continue. He stated that Town and Community Councils were being asked to contribute to the schemes.
The Leader commented that, due to the limited funding available, it would be advantageous for Town and Community Councils to work together in order to deliver play schemes for children during the summer holidays, as was the case last year when Barry Town Council and Dinas Powys Community Council supported the play schemes within their respective areas.
This was a matter for Executive decision
(1) T H A T the progress of the Play Sufficiency audit be noted.
(2) T H A T 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) T H A T the Director of Development Services be authorised to recharge other council departments in circumstances where children were referred to play schemes and their additional needs place extra demands on play provision.
(4) T H A T the report be referred to the Community Liaison Committee and Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for information.
(5) T H A T the proposals outlined in the report for future play provision be reviewed after one year.
Reasons for decisions
(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 existed 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.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 1 DECEMBER 2014