Hounslow Council


Agenda item

CHAS 520 - Response to Task and Finish Group Review on Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise Sector ( VCSE) Savings

Report by Councillor Richard Foote, Cabinet Member for Communities.

 

Please note that the Scrutiny Report considered by Cabinet in July 2016 is attached as appendices.

Decision:

Resolved:

 

That Cabinet noted the responses set out in paragraph 3 of the report to the findings and recommendations of the Task and Finish Group Review of Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE) Savings which was considered by Cabinet at its July 2016 meeting. The Leader agreed that a further more detailed response would be brought back to the Cabinet in Feb/March 2017.

Minutes:

See the report by Councillor Richard Foote, Cabinet Member for Communities – Agenda Item 3.

 

Councillor John Chatt, Chair of Overview and Scrutiny, and Councillor Mel Collins, Vice Chair of Overview and Scrutiny, attended for this item.

 

Councillor Foote had given apologies as he was unwell. The Leader of the Council moved the report, which was seconded by Councillor Theo Dennison.

 

Councillor John Chatt explained to Cabinet that he had written to Councillor Foote on 10 November 2016, expressing concern that Scrutiny was unable to ascertain the position of Cabinet in respect of the recommendations of the Scrutiny Review from the current report. He sought greater clarity as to whether Cabinet agreed or disagreed with the recommendations and also, where recommendations were agreed, an outline of the action proposed to implement these. There were suggestions in the Budget papers that recommendations would be taken forward but the report did not indicate precisely what Cabinet would or would not do.

 

Councillor Collins wished to emphasise the detailed work that the Task and Finish Group had undertaken, with findings based on a wide range of interviews amongst the voluntary and statutory sector. He stressed the potential risks of pressure on acute services longer term if current services were removed. It was important for there to be a dialogue between the voluntary and statutory sectors to eliminate duplication and overlap and maintain a smaller but more vibrant voluntary sector to assist acute services.

 

Councillor Dennison responded on behalf of Cabinet, welcoming the July Scrutiny report and its recommendations. He explained that the current report was not explicit because the work in respect of budget proposals and available resources was ongoing. Cabinet accepted the recommendations but there were a couple of areas for review. Cabinet noted the concern about the potential loss of external funding should match funding be cut, but also wished to ensure that any external funding met local requirements. Scrutiny recommended the use of consolidation and consortia but Cabinet also advised that sometimes consortia were not the best approach when a smaller organisation might provide a specialist service. So Cabinet considered there needed to be a balance.

 

Councillor Chatt and Councillor Collins responded to the points raised. They advised Cabinet that the suggestion for the use of consortia had come from the interviews with the voluntary sector and would not preclude including small organisations within those arrangements. Similarly, suggestions about consolidation in the use of buildings had come from the interviews. The Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel was already looking at how best to use community buildings for young people. In respect of allocation of money from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), Scrutiny proposed encouraging developers to contribute to the voluntary sector. However, the Chair and Vice Chair of Overview and Scrutiny were concerned about the time taken to respond. It was expected that Cabinet would respond to Scrutiny in 6 weeks but the response had taken 17 weeks. Also there had been no acknowledgement of the letter expressing concerns sent to about the lack of clarity of the response to the Scrutiny report which had been sent to Councillor Foote on 10 November.

 

The Leader of the Council, in the Chair, confirmed what had been said about ongoing work and that the July recommendations had been accepted in principle, reported positive meetings with the voluntary sector to commence detailed work on how the sector would deliver services to ensure a sustainable service for residents and agreed that a further report should be brought back to the Cabinet in February/March 2017 to identify progress made on the recommendations.

 

The recommendations had been moved and seconded. Members considered the report and all the issues and options contained therein and in conclusion the recommendations were agreed unanimously.

 

Resolved:

 

That Cabinet noted the responses set out in paragraph 3 of the report to the findings and recommendations of the Task and Finish Group Review of Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE) Savings which was considered by Cabinet at its July 2016 meeting. The Leader agreed that a further more detailed response would be brought back to the Cabinet in Feb/March 2017.

Supporting documents: