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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee: 8th May, 2014

 

Report of the Voluntary Sector

 

The Impact of Funding Reductions on Voluntary Sector Organisations - Vale Centre for Voluntary Services

 

 

Purpose of the Report

 

1.             To provide the Committee with an outline of the impact of funding reductions on voluntary organisations and services in the Vale.

 

Recommendations

 

We appreciate the pressures which public authorities face in terms of budget reductions and the difficult decisions which have to be taken. We would like to highlight the impact of funding reductions on voluntary organisations and services in the Vale in recent years and our concerns for future funding.

 

We recommend that the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee (VSJLC) consider the points we make in this Report, share with colleagues and make representation to the Cabinet on our behalf. We would also like the VSJLC to endorse a process whereby VCVS, the Council and voluntary organisations work together in the future to overcome the challenges together, work to integrate service provision and continue to provide services to vulnerable people.

 

Reasons for the Recommendations

 

We are pleased that the impact of funding reductions on voluntary organisations has been recognised and we understand that the majority of voluntary organisations, recently contacted by the Council, will not be subject to a funding reduction in 2014/15.

 

Voluntary organisations in the Vale have responded as best they can to funding reductions in previous years. They have worked with the Council to identify savings and reconfigure services to alleviate a negative impact on service users. It is clear that there will be a major impact on voluntary sector services if further funding reductions are implemented.

 

Furthermore, some of the voluntary organisations affected also receive funding from Cardiff Council and the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. At times, funding decisions and discussions about services appear to be dealt with separately by the three statutory bodies and a co-ordinated approach to statutory funding would be welcomed.

 

Background

 

2.1      We acknowledge the pressures which local authorities are working to and the reductions in their budgets. We are keen to work with the Council to ensure that there are a range of voluntary and statutory services, for vulnerable people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

2.2      Voluntary organisations had already been in dialogue with the Council over previous years and had identified savings wherever they could. The impact of previous year’s reductions has been significant; with one voluntary organisation experiencing a 22% reduction over three years and another agreeing not just a pay freeze, but a 4% pay cut.

 

2.3      This means that some voluntary organisations are no longer achieving full cost recovery for their services and have been in a position of subsidising those services through other sources such as their reserves. They are now unable to continue to subsidise underfunded services. Full cost recovery is one of the principles of the Welsh Government’s Code of Practice for Funding the Third Sector.

 

2.4      Some organisations were advised in 2011 that there would be a review process, and we understand there has been a desk top review of voluntary sector Service Level Agreements undertaken recently. We welcome this as it helps to achieve clarity in terms of expectations and performance, contribution to strategic objectives and greater understanding of the impact of funding reductions. We would like to explore ways in which we can have an ongoing dialogue with health and social care partners and put in place a model of good practice of co-production.

 

2.5      In November 2013 voluntary organisations, which receive funding from the Council, received a letter from Contracting and Finance asking them to supply details of the impact on their services of a funding reduction of 5%, 7.5% or 12%. Some of those voluntary organisations contacted VCVS for support. VCVS emailed the Contracting and Finance team highlighting a number of relevant points on 28th November and 17th December and voluntary organisations responded directly. VCVS and the voluntary organisations themselves were concerned about how this would impact on services which had already been subject to funding reductions.

 

2.6      It is clear that many voluntary organisations, if not all, would struggle to provide services at their existing level, at a time when demand for services is increasing. The absence of alternative services means that there will be an increasing amount of people in the Vale, with specific needs, who will not be supported. This will also have an effect on any carers of those clients and an inevitable impact on the carer’s health and wellbeing.

 

2.7      We have taken figures from just three of the voluntary organisations affected who provide services for older people and people with disabilities. These show the following:

 

·         5% reduction for just three organisations would mean 139 clients no longer supported

·         7.5% reduction for just three organisations would mean 215 clients no longer supported

·         12% reduction for just three organisations would mean 356 clients no longer supported.

 

Another voluntary organisation calculated that even the smallest reduction in funding would result in a reduced service for 6 of their clients. They support people with complex levels of disability with high support needs. These clients will need support from elsewhere.

 

2.8      It is clear the funding reductions will disproportionately affect services for those with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. It is a requirement for an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) to be completed by the Council on the impact of the reductions, which must have involved individuals directly affected by the reductions.

 

2.9      It is particularly important to note that most, if not all, voluntary organisations receive referrals from statutory services and social care staff such as social workers and occupational therapists. Capacity issues within the voluntary sector, caused by funding reductions, will mean they will be unable to take on referrals from statutory services at the current level and will have to refer back to Contact1Vale.

 

2.10 Funding reductions also affect voluntary organisation’s ability to support volunteers and to bring in additional funding from external funding sources. One voluntary organisation has calculating that a 12% reduction in just one of their schemes would mean supporting 10 less volunteers resulting in a loss of 1040 volunteer hours; a loss of £11,440 when calculated in accordance with the nationally recognised salary equivalent for volunteer hours. Sourcing alternative external funding for services currently funded will be difficult. External funders will consider these services to be more appropriately funded via statutory sources such as local authorities and local health boards.

 

2.11 Voluntary organisations in the Vale are already playing an essential role in initiatives developed under the Cardiff and Vale Integrated Health and Social Care Programme (IHSCP).   Both the Supportive Communities around Wyn and the Dementia Supportive Communities initiatives, led by the Public Health Team and supported by the local authorities, are heavily dependent on raising awareness of services and signposting to community and voluntary services.

 

2.12 Voluntary and statutory sectors have worked well in the Vale. Co-location of voluntary sector services with the Vale Community Resource Service (VCRS) has been achieved supported by resource for extra voluntary sector capacity over winter, voluntary organisations have attended GP CPET sessions and the Vale Locality Engagement Planning Group provides an excellent forum for sharing information across sectors.

 

2.13 The Cardiff and Vale Integrated Health and Social Care Programme has drafted a Statement of Intent for a Framework for Delivering Integrated Health and Social Care for Older People with Complex Needs. This states a commitment that 'people within our community receive high quality, integrated services that respond to their needs.' The voluntary sector in the Vale is well placed to help achieve the successes and goals, by working together and by working with our statutory partners.

 

2.14 There are many other examples of how the voluntary sector contributes strategically to service planning and delivery. These include voluntary sector input to joint partnerships such as the AAPC, Vale Providers Forum, UHB Strategic Reference Group, Vale BICT, PICT and MDT meetings and the Learning Disability Partnership Group.

 

2.15 Voluntary sector services also continue to play a vital role in achieving the aims outlined in strategies such as the Vale Community Strategy, the Vale Locality Plan and Commissioning Plans such as the Vale of Glamorgan Commissioning Plan for Disabled Adults.

 

Summary

 

VCVS and the voluntary sector in the Vale welcome the opportunity to comment on the impact of funding reductions and are pleased that there is likely to be no funding reduction in 2014/15 for the majority of voluntary organisations who were recently contacted by the Council.

 

However, we feel it important that we highlight the impact of funding reductions on voluntary organisations and services in the Vale in recent years and our concerns for future funding.

 

Contact:

Linda Pritchard on behalf of Rachel Connor

Vale Centre for Voluntary Services

 

3rd April 2014