To consider an update on the Strategic Review of the Voluntary Sector
Arabella Yandle, Democratic and Electoral Services Specialist, delivered a brief summary of the history of the Committee’s interest in the voluntary sector and outside bodies.
Paul Feven, Assistant Director of People Commissioning, then presented the report, outlining the intention behind the Strategic Review of voluntary sector services and the work that had been carried out on it to date. The focus was to ascertain which services were being provided; how they were being delivered and determine the means by which they would be evaluated in future (i.e. clear required outcomes for service users). On the whole this would also involve moving from short term grant funding to longer term contracts, providing more security for providers. The review will also improve the service to the residents by attaching KPIs to the services they were provided with whilst assisting the voluntary sector in their medium to long term planning. He explained that the report had gone to Executive in January and that is was a work in progress.
In response to Member questions, it was clarified what was meant by outside bodies and the voluntary sector, explaining that the two overlapped in that some of the outside bodies that the Council had representation on were also providers. The work that was covered by the report related to any organisation that provided a service that had been commissioned by the People Directorate, commissioning being the assessment of a need and how to meet it. This is as opposed to procurement, which is the process of purchasing.
The Assistant Director of People Commissioning went on to explain how the new process would be streamlined to remove areas of service duplication. Providers would only be asked to provide necessary information that added value to the review process.
During the discussion of the item, the following points were made:
· Ward Members were frequently asked questions by residents that they could not answer as they were not kept up to speed with changes;
· A process should be put in place to advise and assist charities whose funding was not going to continue;
· Users of services and service providers should be invited to take part in overview and scrutiny as part of ensuring quality provision and rigorous overview and scrutiny;
· In the pursuit of transparency, details of grants, funding and other payments received by outside bodies and the voluntary sector should be posted on the internet, and
· The Review needed to be expanded to include Place.
1. For the Assistant Director for Place Commissioning to deliver an update on the Review at the Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Meeting on 4 September 2017;
2. The invitation be extended to the Assistant Director of Place Commissioning so that she might report on how the review could be extended to the Place Directorate;
3. The Directorates open and maintain communication pathways with Ward Members to keep them informed about items that affect their wards, and
4. Officers investigate the feasibility of posting a page on the internet listing organisations and the funding they receive.