The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 29 June, 2015
Leader of the Council
External Funding: Inspire2Achieve and Inspire2Work ESF Grants, Welsh Independent Living Grant and Specific Waste Management Grant.
Purpose of the Report
1. To inform Cabinet of three externally funded projects being progressed, and to seek approval for the work being undertaken and acceptance of the grants and associated conditions.
1. That delegated authority is granted to accept the European Social Fund grant to deliver the Inspire2Achieve and Inspire2Work projects subject to the required match funding being sourced.
2. That Cabinet notes the changes to the Welsh Independent Living Grant, including responsibilities as lead body for the grant.
3. That Cabinet approves the proposed use of the Specific Waste Management Grant and acceptance of the funding and grant terms.
4. That in respect of recommendation 3, use of article 13.09 of the Council's Constitution (urgent decision procedure) be authorised to enable the Specific Waste Management Grant application to be submitted by the 30th June 2015.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. To allow funding to be granted to support the delivery of two projects that complement existing provisions currently delivered within the Vale's Engagement and Progression Framework. Final costs are being agreed as part of a Competitiveness Regional bid for South East Wales, delegated authority is sought to accept funding once finalised.
2. To ensure effective oversight of proposed arrangements for the transfer of responsibility for the Welsh Independent Living Grant.
3 & 4.To enable submission of the application prior to the deadline to allow the Council to deliver a sustainable waste management service in accordance with the Welsh Government's Towards Zero Waste strategy.
2. Both the Inspire2Achieve and the Inspire2Work projects are seeking European Social Funding (ESF) as part of a Competitiveness Regional bid for South East Wales. The projects will reflect both Strategic Objective 1, to reduce the number of 16-24 year olds who are Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) and Strategic Objective 2, to reduce the number of those at risk of becoming NEET amongst 11-24 year olds. Business plans have been drafted and submitted to the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) in order to proceed to a full proposal. Both projects aim to mirror the 6 other Local Authorities in the South East Wales Competitiveness area and will be led by Newport City Council, who will provide a central team to work across beneficiaries and with the WEFO. Partners in the project will include Newport City Council, the City of Cardiff Council, Monmouthshire County Council and Coleg Gwent. Further discussions are still proceeding for the engagement of Cardiff and Vale College and Llamau Housing Limited and senior officers will continue to be updated as discussions progress.
3. The Independent Living Fund (ILF) is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department of Work and Pensions; it operates on a UK-wide basis. The fund was established in 1988 to provide discretionary payments for disabled people, to enable them to live in their communities rather than in residential care. The fund closed to new applicants in 2010 and closed completely in April 2015, transferring funding and the responsibility for supporting users to local authorities in England and to the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland. Following a consultation process the Welsh Government has committed to the continuation of the fund, now to be called the Welsh Independent Living Grant. Responsibility for administering the grant will be transferred to local authorities to pay existing ILF recipients their current level of funding. The grant scheme will run from July 2015 until the end of March 2017. The level of funds allocated to the local authority will be based upon the number of people in receipt of ILF funds when the current scheme closes on 30th June. At the end of June 2014, 39 people were known to be using the ILF in the Vale of Glamorgan. Most recently the Head of Adult Services, as nominated contact officer for the fund, received a letter from the Welsh Government issuing the terms of the grant and disclosing the authority's grant allocation.
4. The Specific Waste Management Grant is an ongoing grant and is used to assist the Council in meeting a number of its statutory requirements as set out in Welsh Government legislation. A plan outlining the proposed use of the grant must be submitted to Welsh Government by the 30th June 2015.
5. Specifically, the Waste Management grant funding will be used to meet the Welsh Government's Towards Zero Waste Strategy; to comply with the Council's duty to collect household waste under section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Waste (Wales) Measure 2010; and to deliver the Council's duties and obligations under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and Flood Risk Regulations 2009.
Relevant Issues and Options
6. The total funding sought for the Inspire2Achieve project is £656,573, made up from £347,481 in ESF grant, with £308,992 sought in match funding. The project will be a schools based intervention focused on reducing and supporting those at risk of disengagement under the age of 16. It aims to provide a structured alternative learning environment in schools, where young people can engage in life style activities that aim to improve simple skills such as time keeping, literacy, revision techniques and providing specialist support such as language or mental health assistance. The intention of the project is that these skills will support young people to re-engage with educational activities and maintain their learning through Key Stage 4 into Key Stage 5.
7. The current participant outcomes for Inspire2Achieve being negotiated with WEFO are: 60 young people per worker receiving an intervention, 180 young people per year receiving an intervention, and 540 young people receiving an intervention during the life of the project. These interventions will impact key risk indicators such as attendance, achievement and behaviour, contributing to a reduction in numbers measured as being at risk identified through the Local Authorities' Vulnerable Assessment Profile of NEETs under the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework.
8. The total funding required for the Inspire2Work project has not yet been finalised. The estimated ESF grant sought is £150,000/£200,000, and £150,000/£200,000 is sought in match funding. Inspire2Work will focus on post 16 NEETs, with the Vale of Glamorgan plan concentrating on 18-24 year olds who are deemed the biggest area of concern given limited local provision. The scheme is a person-centred project that aims to engage, support and enable NEETs to gain a range of skills, qualifications and meaningful work placements, and to feel confident and motivated to enter into sustainable employment or further learning. The project provides the flexibility necessary for NEET young people to overcome the barriers preventing them from entering employment or further learning. It is possible that the Inspire2Work project could work in tandem with Inspire2Achieve to provide a progression route to those pre 16 year olds who become NEET and require further interventions.
9. The current participant outcomes for Inspire2Work being negotiated with WEFO are: 60 young people per year receiving an intervention, 180 young people receiving an intervention during the life of the project, with 20% of NEET participants gaining a qualification upon leaving, 17% in education or training upon leaving and 28% entering employment upon leaving.
10. Both the Inspire2Achieve and Inspire2Work projects were considered and supported by the External Funding Steering Group in May 2015.
Welsh Independent Living Grant
11. The Council will act solely as administrator of the grant. The Welsh Government will be responsible for the scheme and its funding and the total fund allocation for the Vale of Glamorgan is £504,372. The Vale of Glamorgan has a lower than expected number of people currently in receipt of the fund compared to Welsh averages and the allocation is reflective of this. A project group has been restarted in Adult Services to ensure that key stakeholders are kept informed about the changes associated and to enable a smooth transfer of the fund.
12. The application was considered and supported by the External Funding Steering Group in May 2015.
Specific Waste Management Grant
13. The Specific Waste Management Grant funding is used to deliver against the key priorities of the Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD) Directorate within Welsh Government. This allows each authority some flexibility to shape the funding to its own particular need and opportunities. The Vale’s grant allocation is currently used to meet Welsh Government statutory environmental performance targets which carry infraction fines. It is expected that the grant funding will be utilised to support a number of proposals including:
- the provision of collection transportation, sorting, storage and haulage activities for recyclable and compostable municipal waste materials
- an awareness and education of environmental and sustainable lifestyle practices
- the investigation and enforcement of waste crime incidents
- the clean-up of littered and fly-tipped land within the Vale of Glamorgan
- an awareness and education of flood and coastal erosion risk within the Vale of Glamorgan
- a reduction in pollution discharged via private sewers to watercourses within the Vale of Glamorgan
- investigating and reporting significant flood incidents
- the regulation of activities affecting flood risk on ordinary watercourses within the Vale of Glamorgan
- the maintenance of critical ordinary watercourses
- consultation and technical input to Local Planning Authority on use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and management of flood risk
- the clean-up of polluted, littered and fly-tipped critical watercourses within the Vale of Glamorgan
14. The total grant funding sought is £2,617,164. Of this, £2,482,164 will be allocated to the Specific Waste Management Grant, £100,000 to Flood and Coastal Risk Management and £35,000 to the Tidy Towns project. It is hoped that the grant funding will be matched by Council Revenue funding.
15. There is expectation that in future, the grant is also used to address the biodiversity strand currently delivered through a range of smaller grant streams including the ongoing partnership grant received through Natural Resources Wales. This grant ends in March 2016. As such discussions will take place between the Director of Visible Services and Housing and senior officers to discuss how the Vale’s allocation is used. Should the use of the grant funding be required to change an updated plan will be submitted to Welsh Government and a future report be submitted to Cabinet.
16. The application was considered and supported by the External Funding Steering Group in May 2015.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
17. External funding is required to enhance youth support provision and to address those who are, or may be at risk of becoming, NEET. It is proposed that the Inspire2Achieve and Inspire2Work projects will fund 4 posts. These will mirror existing posts employed through the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Service or will go through the job evaluation process.
18. Should the grant not be awarded the Vale of Glamorgan would be the only region in the South East Competitiveness Region not claiming ESF grant in the multi-authority initiative to address NEETs. The project and its associated costs will cease at the end of the grant in December 2018. It is possible that an extension to the grant will be possible through WEFO until 2022, although it would be unlikely that any other alternative funding arrangements could be made to support the project. Claw back of funds would only be sought by WEFO should the grant not be administered in line with the grant conditions.
19. Newport City Council will be seeking to oversee, submit and monitor all financial interactions with/through WEFO. Final costing's have not yet been agreed and discussions are ongoing in relation to match funding. It is hoped that the match funding will be underpinned through Welsh Government using the Youth Service Revenue Grant and potentially the Families First Grant. Confirmation of this is currently being sought, however should Welsh Government be unable to secure funding at source a number of alternative grants have been identified to utilise, with commitment letters being sought.
20. The Welsh Independent Living Grant relates to the period 1 July 2015 to 31 March 2016 and must be claimed in full by 31 March 2016; after this any unclaimed funding will cease to be available.
21. Should the Specific Waste Management Grant not be allocated it would have wide-ranging implications. The services funded have always been delivered through the grant and have never been financed directly by the Council's revenue budget. The exit strategy in event of grant refusal would be the immediate withdrawal of the waste management services presently delivered and financed by the grant. There are no new staff appointments attached to funding over and above those already in post.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
22. The Inspire2Achieve and Inspire2Work projects through working with, targeting and improving opportunities for NEETs will positively impact upon community wellbeing and resilience.
23. The Welsh Independent Living Grant will continue to work to support the independence of disabled people living in the Vale of Glamorgan, developing their abilities and overcoming barriers to social inclusion.
24. The projects funded through the grant will work to make measurable progress towards achieving the resource efficiency policies and, waste prevention, recycling and landfill diversion targets in the Welsh Governments Towards Zero Waste strategy. The funding will also work to tackle environmental quality issues that reduce the health and quality of life of people, especially the most vulnerable and those living in deprived areas.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
25. On grant funding being approved or secured the Council will enter into appropriate terms and conditions with the relevant funding body.
26. The Council will have due regard to any partnership arrangements, working protocol or constitution where the Council is a lead authority for any grant directed through a partnership.
Crime and Disorder Implications
27. The Inspire2Achieve and Inspire2 Work projects work to reduce crime and disorder by tackling the underlying causes of deprivation; targeting young people most at risk of becoming NEET and providing opportunities to stay in education and training.
28. There are no crime and disorder implications arising as a direct result of the Welsh Independent Living Grant.
29. There are no crime and disorder implications arising as a direct result of the Specific Waste Management Grant.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
30. The work of the Inspire2Achieve and Inspire2Work project will ensure that those young people who are NEET, or who are most at risk of becoming NEET, are given an opportunity to remain in education or training or progress to employment.
31. The transfer of the Welsh Independent Living Grant has a direct impact on the lives of 39 people with disabilities in the Vale of Glamorgan but it is not possible at this stage to determine the full implications for them and others in a similar position. A lack of access to the fund for new users has the potential to create an equal opportunity shortfall. Prior to implementation, consideration will need to be given to the local authority's duty under the Equality Act.
32. Both the Inspire2Achieve and Inspire2Work projects will work to support Priority Outcomes 1, 2 and 3 of the Corporate Plan. Both projects will work in tandem to tackle child poverty, to support children in need and their families to engage positively with schools and to encourage partners to develop appropriate strategies for engaging with young people and reducing NEETs. The projects will also support the work of Priority Outcomes 5 and 6 of the Community Strategy. Further, both the Inspire2Achive and Inspire2Work projects will underline several actions in the LSB's Delivery Plan aimed at reducing NEETs, progressed through the 'Helping People into Work' workstream.
33. The Welsh Independent Living Grant supports Priority Outcome 7 of the Corporate Plan, specifically working to safeguard vulnerable adults.
34. The Specific Waste Management Grant supports Priority Outcome 5 of the Corporate Plan focused on the environment, underlining the work with range of partners to provide residual waste and recycling collection and aiding the development of flood management plans and flood reduction and alleviation schemes. The services planned to be delivered within the grant also reflect the vision for the Vale as a place that is safe, clean and attractive as outlined in the Community Strategy.
Policy Framework and Budget
35. This is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
36. The Cabinet Member for Learning and Development has been consulted on Inspire2Achieve and Inspire2Work funding. Both the Director for Learning and Skills and the Director of Economic Regeneration have been consulted and the Engagement and Progression Framework (NEETs) Strategic Group are aware, and are supportive of the bid going forward.
37. The Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru has participated in a stakeholder group, along with the Welsh Local Government Association, representatives from third sector disability organisations, service users and local authority contact officers.
38. The Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services has been consulted on the Specific Waste Management Grant.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
39. Corporate Resources
Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development
External Funding Steering Group
Corporate Management Team
Operational Manager – Legal Services
Mark Davies, Children and Young Peoples Partnership Manager
Carys Lord, Head of Business Management and Innovation
Clifford Parish, Operational Manager Housing and Visible Services
Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development