Agenda Item No. 8
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
COMMUNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE: 17TH OCTOBER, 2018
REFERENCE FROM HOMES AND SAFE COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 13TH JUNE, 2018
“84 TIMEBANKING PROJECT – SIX MONTHLY MONITORING REPORT (DEH) –
The Senior Neighbourhood Manager (Community Investment and Services to Older People) introduced the Community Investment and Involvement Officer leading the Vale Timebanking Project. The Community Investment and Involvement Officer provided a PowerPoint presentation in partnership with the Senior Neighbourhood Manager’s report to update the Committee on progress in implementing the Timebanking Project after its initial six months.
The Timebanking Project was approved by Cabinet on 23rd October, 2017 and was an innovative approach to increase volunteering amongst Council tenants. Previous research had highlighted the significant benefits that could be derived from volunteering, including increasing confidence, self-esteem and the improved skills of participants. Whilst at a community level, active citizenship had been shown to also promote better community spirit and successful and resilient communities. Typically, Council tenants across the country were under represented amongst volunteers and the Timebanking initiative was a way in which this could be addressed by incentivising tenants to give up their time to take part in a variety of projects.
To take the initiative forward, a partnership was formed with a local social enterprise called Spice. Spice specialised in Timebanking and had 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.
The Officer advised that 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, established to oversee the delivery of the project, 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.
The second three months focused on signing up volunteers and starting to develop volunteering projects. Since then, steady progress had been made and several key outcomes were on target to be achieved. However, there were a number of other areas not yet due for completion or which were falling slightly behind. The Progress report was provided at Appendix 1 to the Officer’s report. The standard red, amber green classification had been used to highlight the progress made against each action. Green represented all actions which were complete or on target, amber for actions that were at risk of the target being missed and red was for actions that had already missed or were very likely to miss the target.
The project had sought to target the tenants who would derive the greatest benefit from volunteering. These included individuals who were vulnerable, isolated or lacked confidence. This approach required fairly intensive work to engage and encourage tenants to join in. However, in the next six months volunteering would be made available to the more active Council tenants so it was hoped that a greater number would be signed up using the same resources used previously.
The agreed cost of the project was £14,918.00 per year which was met from the existing budget allocated from the Housing Revenue Account. The value of the Timebanking credits issued was also capped to ensure no additional costs were incurred.
A Member congratulated the Officers on the progress made to date and shared that she was pleased to see that the project was gathering speed. The Member asked if there was a limit to the number of volunteers that could be enrolled and how the local businesses, categorised as “Champions”, were able to balance their books if accepting time credits as currency. Finally, whether there were any private companies enrolled as “Champions” for the project. In response, the Community Investment and Involvement Officer advised that the Council had a target of 450 Council tenant volunteers but there was a limit of 500 individuals per year due to the funding available. This equated to five time credits per volunteer per week. With regards to the Vale Timebanking Champions, these businesses were classed as “loss leaders” whereby the companies were not making a direct profit by accepting time credits but they were benefiting in terms of promotion and other limited services available once the individuals were using their services. Some businesses would set time limits on when the time credits could be used to avoid their peak income periods.
A Member stated that the project was an excellent idea and also an excellent way to engage individuals who were interested in volunteering but were not aware of incentives available. With there being several wasteland sites within the Vale of Glamorgan area; the project would be an excellent stepping stone in partnership with the Parks and Education Departments to improve the quality of the wasteland sites. The Member asked whether any existing voluntary groups were already involved or could be involved in the future. The Officer advised that there were not currently any established voluntary groups involved with the project due to limited staff resources, however the project was still in its early stages and the future aim would be to engage other voluntary groups as the scheme developed. Provisional discussions had already taken place with Glamorgan Voluntary Services.
A Member congratulated the Community Investment and Involvement Officer for his honest and down to earth presentation on the project. It was important to acknowledge the advantages of such positivity and the Member advised he would like to sit down with Officers to hear more about the project in order to help promote the project.
A Member asked if there were any plans for Town and Community Councils to get more directly involved with the project as this would help the Council to engage the project in more rural areas of the Vale of Glamorgan. It was suggested that a referral be made to the Community Liaison Committee to promote the scheme and initiate collaborative discussions with the Town and Community Council Clerks.
The Head of Housing and Building Services added that the value the Council received for the £15,000 investment was obvious and a secure investment. Officers would be looking to evaluate the successes of the project after its initial twelve months which would afford Heads of Service to build a business case going forward. At the moment, the project was aimed at Council tenants but the hope was that the project could be expanded Council wide providing sufficient funding and other resources could be found.
(1) T H A T the six monthly monitoring report in relation to the Vale Timebanking Project be noted.
(2) T H A T the six monthly monitoring report and partner PowerPoint presentation be referred to the Community Liaison Committee.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To ensure the Timebanking Project is implemented effectively and the key outcomes are achieved.
(2) To ensure that Town and Community Councils are aware of the project to afford the opportunity to promote and engage with the project.”
Attached as Appendix – Report to Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee: 13th June, 2018 and Presentation