Agenda Item No. 6

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee: 13th June 2018

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing

 

Timebanking Project - Six Monthly Monitoring Report

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To update the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee on progress implementing the Timebanking project.

Recommendation

That the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee note the six monthly monitoring report in relation to the Timebanking project.

Reason for the Recommendation

To ensure the Timebanking project is implemented effectively and the key outcomes are achieved.

Background

  1. The Timebanking project was approved by Cabinet on 23rd October 2017 (minute C115). It is an innovative approach to increase volunteering amongst Council tenants. Previous research has highlighted the significant benefits that can be derived from volunteering, including increasing confidence, self-esteem and the improved skills of participants. Whilst at a community level, active citizenship has been shown to also promote better community spirit and successful and resilient communities. Typically, Council tenants across the country are under represented amongst volunteers and the Timebanking initiative is a way in which this could be addressed by incentivising tenants to give up their time to take part in a variety of projects.
  2. To take the initiative forward, a partnership was formed with a local social enterprise called Spice. Spice specialises in Timebanking and has a proven track record of working with Local Authorities, housing associations and public sector organisations across the United Kingdom. This enabled the Council to adopt a well-developed system which included an established currency of time credits, a network of outlets where time credits could be redeemed and a means of tracking and monitoring the use of time credits.

Relevant Issues and Options

Resident Consultation and Priorities

  1. Prior to the implementation of the Project, a wide range of tenant consultation took place, including questionnaires to tenants and soundings taken from existing Residents Boards. This feedback informed how the project was set up as well as the initial priority areas.
  2. A steering group was established to oversee the delivery of the project; this ensures the project aims continue to reflect the issues that are important to tenants.
  3. Tenants' views also form an important part of the evaluation of the project. Individuals who take part in volunteering are asked to rate a variety of things, including their confidence levels, self-esteem etc. prior to starting to volunteer. They are then asked again at various stages of their participation in the project in order to track their progress. Some of the headline information is included in the progress report which highlights the significant impact volunteering has had on individuals.

Monitoring and Evaluation

  1. The first three months of the project involved staff raising awareness of Timebanking by speaking to a wide range of community groups, partners and tenants. The steering group oversaw the development of the internal processes, key priorities and suggested innovative projects which would appeal to tenants who would not have previously taken part in volunteering.
  2. The second three months focused on signing up volunteers and starting to develop volunteering projects. Since then, steady progress has been made and several key outcomes are on target to be achieved. However, there are a number of other areas not yet due for completion or which are falling slightly behind. The Progress report is provided at Appendix 1. The standard red, amber green classification has been used to highlight the progress made against each action. Green represents all actions which are complete or on target, amber for actions that are at risk of the target being missed and red is for actions that have already missed or are very likely to miss the target.
  3. The project has sought to target the tenants who would derive the greatest benefit from volunteering. These include individuals who are vulnerable, isolated or lack confidence. This approach required fairly intensive work to engage and encourage tenants to join in. However, in the next six months volunteering will be made available to the more active Council tenants so it is hoped that a greater number will be signed up using the same resources used previously.
  4. A striking outcome from the initiative so far has been the impact on the individuals who have taken part. The surveys show that there have been significant improvements in all areas, highlighting the positive impact the project has made on the individuals.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The agreed cost of the project is £14,918.00 per year which is met from the existing budget allocated from the housing revenue account. The value of the Timebanking credits issued is also capped to ensure no additional costs are incurred.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. Increased voluntary working will help to improve the local environment.  It could also increase personal training and development opportunities, which is, particularly important for residents who have been long term unemployed as it could improve their future employment prospects.  Health and well-being should also be improved by providing residents with incentives to increase their physical activity.   

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There is a service level agreement in place between the Council and Spice which ensures that the Council is not liable for any losses or claims from the Timebanking project.
  2. In respect of insurance, Officers liaise with the Council's Insurance Officer to ensure that participating organisations have sufficient public liability insurance cover in place.
  3. Organisations participating in this project are required to comply with the Council's Safeguarding procedure, which include DBS checks where appropriate. If any commissioning or contracting requirements occur in the future, Officers will liaise with colleagues in the Council's Legal Department to ensure that robust service level agreements are put in place.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. Timebanking increases community engagement and active citizenship. It is also likely to reduce anti-social behaviour and community conflict. One of the key outcomes sought during the project is to engage young people in order to increase their self-confidence and to instil in them a feeling of value to their local community.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. Timebanking will be available to all Vale of Glamorgan Council tenants who wish to become involved in volunteering.  There are a range of opportunities that will enable people of all ages and abilities to be involved.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Developing a Timebanking scheme within the Vale is consistent with the Corporate Plan 2016-20:

Wellbeing outcome 1: An inclusive and Safe Vale.

Objective 1: Reducing poverty and social exclusion

Objective 2: Providing decent homes and safe communities.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This report is within the Policy Framework and Budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. This report will affect all Council tenants and therefore no individual Ward Member consultation has been undertaken.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Mark Ellis, Community Investment and Involvement Officer.

Tori Brown, Senior Neighbourhood Manager

Officers Consulted

Mike Ingram, Head of Housing

Committee Reports

Operational Manager Finance

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing