Venue: Bridges Room - Civic Centre
Contact: Rosayln Patterson- Tel: 0191433 2088 - Email: Rosalynpatterson@gateshead.gov.uk
The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2017
(i) That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2017 be approved as a correct record.
Report of Strategic Director, Communities and Environment
The Committee received an update on the Volunteer Plan report. The Volunteer Plan was derived from one of the Council’s Vision 2030’s six big ideas – ‘Gateshead Volunteers’. This will be the final update of the plan before it is refreshed for 2018.
Gateshead Volunteers seeks to achieve the following outcomes which were summarised:
· The voluntary and community sector thrives within Gateshead
· Vibrant, sustainable communities through a culture of supporting community and voluntary sector organisations in the delivery of local services
· Volunteering recognised as important in career development
· Volunteering frameworks that help volunteers develop their skills
· Gateshead known as a national leader in promoting and supporting volunteering
· Social responsibility is achieved through local businesses participating in supporting volunteers
It was explained that since the volunteer plan was launched in 2013 the number of registered volunteers has increased from 50 to 1,687. Additionally, there has been an estimated 82% increase in volunteering within Gateshead from 4,426 to 8,065. The current estimate of the number of volunteers across Council services and within the voluntary and community sector is:
· Community Links - 60
· Countryside & Environment - 500
· School Governors - 1,200
· General School Volunteers - 900
· Community Centres - 800
· Youth Offending Team - 25
· Youth Council - 30
· Children Centres - 50
· VCS Organisations and others - 1,000
· Sports - 400
· Heritage, Events & General Culture - 500
· Libraries - 800
· Employee Volunteers - 50
· Private Sector Employee Volunteers - 250
· Jewish Community - 1,500
· Total – 8,065
It was noted that there has been an increase in external organisations participating in voluntary opportunities; this has an economic investment of £123,863 being calculated for Gateshead in 2016/2017. Organisations including Virgin Media, Costa Coffee, Gateshead College and the National Citizenship Service have participated. It was also explained that the targets set for informal and formal volunteering have been achieved.
An overview of the Council’s engagement with TUC and Volunteering England was provided. A joint charter entitled ‘Strengthening Relations’ makes it clear that volunteering is distinct from paid work. The Council’s Volunteers Plan principles endorse and support this.
The Committee were advised that during Gateshead Volunteers Month (June 2017) 106,189 hours of volunteering were recorded. This equates to £1,380,457 economic value and is a 5% increase on the previous year.
It was noted from the report that in May 2014 the Gateshead Council Employees Volunteering Policy was refreshed enabling employees to request up to 15 hours paid time to volunteer in Gateshead over a 12 month period. This needs to be matched by at least 15 hours pro rata of employees own time. Currently there are 60 employees registered as volunteers although it was also noted this figure is likely to be higher due to underreporting.
A summary of Environmental ‘Friends of’ Groups was given. Throughout Gateshead there are a number of different Friends of Groups that support the community and enable them to form informal ‘Friends of’ groups to support with the maintenance and upkeep of Gateshead’s open spaces and parks. It was advised ... view the full minutes text for item CR12
Report of Strategic Director, Communities and Environment
The Committee received an update report and presentation on the ongoing partnership working between Gateshead Council and the Newcastle Voluntary Service (NCVS).
In April 2016 Council agreed to enter into an agreement with NCVS for the provision of support, development, networking and representation to the voluntary and community sector in Gateshead. The agreement with NCVS was extended from March 2017 to September 2017.
Cabinet will be asked on 17th October 2017 to agree to a further extension to the agreement until 31st March 2018 to allow a joint procurement exercise to take place with Newcastle City Council.
Since April 2017, 102 groups have been engaged with 35 groups being provided with funding advice.
CVS are offering support via several projects and schemes including:
· Attended Gateshead Diversity Forum
The NCVS expressed that they would like to continue work with Gateshead. It was noted that the support that NCVS have provided to organisations has been valuable and feedback was positive. It was noted that the grant application process can be complex for organisations and often requires someone with specialist knowledge and experience, this support has been provided by NCVS. Additional thanks were given to NCVS for the support provided at the Birtley Hub and the Elgin Centre in Deckham.
(i) That the Committee note the information provided.
(ii) The Committee commented positively on the report with reference to the performance and activities delivered by Newcastle CVS.
Report of Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance
An update on the implementation of the Workforce Plan was provided to the Committee.
The plan was devised and implemented in 2015 with the aim of ensuring the workforce are able to support the delivery of the sustained transformation to achieve the services residents want and need. It was highlighted that it is important for staff and management to be equipped with the right skills to do their jobs both now and in the future.
An issue that was highlighted from recent employee surveys suggests that management across the Council is unfair and inconsistent. To remedy this mandatory training has been implemented for managers to attend in recruitment and selection, dealing with capability and competency issues, undertaking an investigation and sickness absence. To date around 1?3of managers have attended.
The committee were advised that the employee survey in 2016 highlighted that only 47% of employees across the Council had an A&D in the 6 months prior to the survey and that underperformance going unaddressed was affecting morale. To improve this, the A&D and the competency framework have been revised and simplified.
The new A&D process was rolled out in April 2017 with an initial deadline for completion by the end of June 2017. It has become clear this deadline was a struggle for managers to achieve so this was extended to the end of August 2017. Recent figures show around 53% of A&Ds have been completed – feedback for this shortfall suggests that many of the outstanding A&Ds belong to staff who are on long term sick, are new staff or are staff in the process of leaving the Council’s employment. It was noted that a new task and finish group would be established to look at the ongoing implementation of the new A&D process. The Committee were advised that the new performance rating tool on the new A&D process is likely to be implemented from January 2019.
An update on the Talent Management element of the Workforce Plan was provided. A priority of the plan is that all employees have the opportunity to learn and develop. It was noted that managers should be having conversations with staff to discuss the learning and development opportunities available to them. Service Directors from each group have been appointed Talent Management champions and will be responsible for ensuring that talent management is embedded within their service.
A summary of the apprenticeships system which took effect from April 2017 was provided. The apprenticeship system includes the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, the introduction of the public sector apprenticeship target and the new apprenticeships standards. The committee were advised that work has been undertaken to scope out the current and future demand for apprenticeships within the Council and that to meet the target the Council is required to start 2.3% of the workforce on an apprenticeship annually.
A review of the Council’s employee recognition policy was provided. From the report it was noted that the Council ... view the full minutes text for item CR14
Joint Report of the Chief Executive and the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance
The Committee received the 2017/18 work programme for information.
(i) That Committee noted the provisional programme.
(ii) That Committee noted that further reports on the work programme will be brought to the Committee to identify any additional policy issues, which the Committee may be asked to consider.