Agenda Item No. 9

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee: 3rd October 2018

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Local Authority Funding of Third Sector Services - Wales Audit Office Report

Purpose of the Report

  1. To provide the Committee with an opportunity to consider the Wales Audit Office (WAO) Report relating to Local Authority Funding of Third Sector Services and the proposed approach to progressing the national recommendations.

Recommendations

  1. That the Committee note the content of this report and appendices.
  2. That the Committee approves the proposed approach to completing the 'checklist' attached to the WAO report at Appendix 3.
  3. That the Committee considers in due course, the draft completed checklist and any follow-up actions that can be included in the work plan associated with the Compact between the voluntary sector and Council.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To provide the Committee with an opportunity to consider the WAO report on the funding of third sector services.
  2. To enable the checklist to be completed as part of the Council's Reshaping Services programme.
  3. To provide the Committee with an opportunity to consider the outputs from the work to complete the checklist and ensure any further work is undertaken and monitored by the Committee. 

Background

  1. In January 2017, the WAO published a national report on the funding of third sector services. The Council undertakes to review all national reports published by the WAO and where applicable, to progress the recommendations contained within these reports.
  2. Any recommendations or proposals for improvement from such reports are entered into the Council's Insight Board action tracker, with regular updates provided by officers to ensure the relevant work is undertaken. These regulatory recommendations are monitored by the relevant Council Committee and overall progress is monitored by the Audit Committee and Cabinet.
  3. This report presents the WAO's report on third sector funding and proposes a way for the report's recommendations to be progressed.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The WAO Report (Local Authority Funding of Third Sector Services) can be found in Appendix A to this report. The report concludes that, nationally, Welsh Local Authorities are "not always making the best use of the third sector nor doing enough to ensure they are securing value for money." The report is structured in four parts based on the conclusions of the WAO's all-Wales review:

i. Local authorities mostly do not have an effective strategic approach to working with the third sector;

ii. Inconsistencies in local authorities' arrangements for funding the third sector make it difficult to demonstrate value for money;

iii. Local authorities are unable to consistently evidence the impact of their work with the third sector;

iv. Changing expectations of the third sector present both opportunities and risks which need to be carefully managed if the anticipated benefits are to be realised.

  1. The WAO make three recommendations within their report:

i. To get the best from funding decisions, local authorities and third sector bodies need to ensure they have the right arrangements and systems in place to support their work with the third sector. To assist local authorities and third sector bodies in developing their working practices, we recommend that local authority and third sector officers use the checklist in Appendix 3 to:

• self-evaluate current third sector engagement, management, performance and practice;

• identify where improvements in joint working is required; and

• jointly draft and implement an action plan to address the gaps and weaknesses identified through the self-evaluation.

ii. Poor performance management arrangements are weakening accountability and limiting effective scrutiny of third sector activity and performance. To strengthen oversight of the third sector, we recommend that elected members scrutinise the review checklist completed by officers, and regularly challenge performance by officers and the local authority in addressing gaps and weaknesses.

iii. To support local authorities and the third sector in delivering the expectations of recent policy and legislative changes such as the Social Services and Well-being Act and the Well-being of Future Generations Act, we recommend that the Welsh Government provides commissioning and coordinating guidance and support clarifying its expectations of local authorities. This could be delivered jointly with the Wales Co-operative Centre and/or WCVA.

  1. Recommendations i. and ii. are the responsibility of the Council to progress (recommendation iii. is for the Welsh Government to consider).
  2. In order to ensure the recommendations are appropriately considered, it is proposed that the Reshaping Services Voluntary Sector & Town and Community Councils Project Team (which comprises Council officers and representatives from the third sector and town and community councils) review and complete the checklist at Appendix 3 (page 71) of the WAO report. The checklist comprises a variety of questions relating to strategic arrangements, funding processes and managing performance.
  3. Once completed, it is proposed that the checklist is considered by this Committee in order to discuss any follow-up activity that may be required.
  4. The Project Team will consider existing arrangements (including the revised Compact approved by the Committee in 2017). Any follow-up activity (subject to approval by Cabinet as required) would then be incorporated into the Work Programme associated with the Compact between the third sector and the Council and monitored by this Committee. The overall progress against the two recommendations for the Council will be overseen by the Audit Committee and Cabinet, with regular updates provided to the Insight Board.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no direct resource implications associated with this report. However, the way in which resources are managed is one of the considerations of the checklist and its completion will help inform the decision making process as to how funding is used in the future.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The work of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee through the Compact between the third sector and Council is consistent with the principles of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act (2015). The way in which the Council and third sector work together is an important facet of the Council's Reshaping Services Programme and contributes to the overall delivery of the Corporate Plan.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. Any proposals with specific resource implications will be considered by Committee and the Council's Cabinet as appropriate.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no crime and disorder implications directly associated with this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no equal opportunities implications directly associated with this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The partnership between the third sector and Council contributes to the achievement of the Council's Corporate Plan and is consistent with the Council's vision, values and Well-Being Outcomes. Working with the voluntary sector is also an intrinsic part of the Reshaping Services programme.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The Committee's consideration of this report (and subsequent outputs) is intended to involve the third sector and elected members in the process of reviewing arrangements as described above.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development

Officers Consulted

Head of Finance

Operational Manager, Policy and Performance

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director