Agenda and minutes

Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 15th October, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Bridges Room - Civic Centre

Contact: Sonia Stewart - Tel: 0191433 3045 - Email: 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 89 KB

The Committee are asked to approve the minutes of the meetings held on 25 June and 10 July respectively.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED -  That the minutes of the meetings held on 25 June and 10 July 2018 respectively be approved as a correct record.



Progress on Implementation of the Council's Workforce Plan: Update on the Refresh of the Council's Workforce Strategy pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance


The Committee received a report to provide an update on progress made in relation to the implementation of the Council’s Workforce Plan.


The Council’s workforce strategy and plan were agreed in 2015.  The purpose of the strategy is to make sure that the Council has a workforce that can support delivery of the sustained transformation necessary to achieve the services our residents want and need, services which provide value for money, are fit for purpose, flexible and customer focussed.


The report provides a full update for members on work undertaken since October 2017 under the 6 key themes within the strategy.  Some key points were highlighted to the Committee:


Leadership Development for Leadership Team


There is currently a small working group looking at refreshing the Leadership Development Programme.


Upskilling the Workforce


An upskilling event took place on 4 October which was aimed at upskilling across all levels of the workforce.  The Council is also continuing to develop e-learning modules to encourage learning in a convenient and efficient way.  Learning is currently available in areas such as management, health and safety, equalities and diversity, ICT and finance.  Over 800 modules have been completed during 2017-18 year by Council employees.


Mentoring and Coaching


A mentoring and coaching framework has been developed with the Leadership Team being trained as mentors.  The aim is to support capacity building for managers and employees. 




The Government’s changes to the apprenticeship scheme took effect from April 2017.  The changes introduced a public-sector apprenticeship target.  The Council’s target was 2.3% of the workforce (160 employees) on an apprenticeship on an annual basis.  The Council has not drawn down all of the apprenticeship levy.  From April 2017 to March 2018 the Council had 95 apprentices.  From April 2018, 49 new apprenticeships commenced, these are a mixture of current employees who are upskilling and new recruits to the Council.


In an attempt to boost this number and increase the drawn down on the apprenticeship levy, briefings have taken place with Leadership Team and managers.  Employees have also been invited to participate in personal consultations to find out more about apprenticeship opportunities.  14 staff attended for one to one discussions with a further 9 having a telephone discussion.


The Council has faced a number of challenges including:


·         The lack of available standards and training providers, resulting in the continuation of traditional academic qualifications rather than apprenticeships

·         The essential requirement for all apprentices to demonstrate English and Maths and GCSE level when some staff already have degrees and other professional qualifications

·         The requirement to spend 20% of time “off the job” in training and the impact this has on service delivery

·         Insufficient providers completing the procurement process as they have failed to provide the required assurances in relation to health and safety and/or safeguarding matters

·         Insufficient provide in the region to deliver the apprenticeship programme the Council requires

·         Providers in the regional cancelling or deciding (sometimes at a very late stage) not to run apprenticeship training due to insufficient numbers of  ...  view the full minutes text for item CR3


OSC - Review - Scoping Report - Helping to Increase Support/Capacity of Voluntary Sector pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Communities and Environment


The Committee received a report proposing the scope for the review on “Helping to Increase Support / Capacity of the Voluntary Sector, agreed by the Committee on 16 April 2018.


The Committee were advised that this is not intended to be a review of the overall health and vitality of Gateshead’s VCS, or its effectiveness, although the review may highlight some examples and practices that could be shared and developed further.


The review aims to:


·         Establish the extent and nature of the types of support the Council currently provides to the VCS across a spectrum of service areas

·         How this activity is resourced and coordinated

·         Assess the effectiveness of this Council support in helping the VCS address the needs of Gateshead residents


The Council provide a wide range of support including:


·         Financial support in terms of grants and cash contributions

·         NNDR Charitable Rate Relief

·         Advice and guidance both directly and through commissioned organisations such as Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service

·         Commissioned work and contracts

·         Sign posting, promoting, sharing and networking

·         Community development and capacity building, including funding advice and project activities

·         Promotion and development of volunteering opportunities

·         The Gateshead Compact


The feedback of the Committee is sought on the scope and timeline of the review.


It is proposed that there will be several evidence gathering sessions as follows:


03 December 2018 – session will cover the analysis of the Council’s role in and budget for supporting the voluntary sector and to consider evidence from voluntary organisations.


21 January 2019 – Evidence gathering session


04 March 2019 – Evidence gathering session


01 April 2019 – Evidence gathering session


June 2019 – Date to be confirmed – draft report for consideration


July 2019 – Date to be confirmed – final report for Committee to refer to Cabinet


Members of the Committee welcomed this review topic and there is a need to make sure that it is as thorough and comprehensive as it can be.


It was requested that all Councillors embrace this and contribute in full to the review.


It was suggested that the Community Foundation be invited to attend and opportunities for philanthropic giving be explored.  It was also suggested that we need to make sure they have enough links to us.


It was suggested that there could be potentially some really good examples to bring into the evidence gathering.  It was suggested that one important piece of work is to map the organisations that are out there.  It was also noted that there is a dwindling pot of money with dwindling staff resource.  It was noted that grants and awards seem to see the same groups and the groups aren’t capacity building and aren’t becoming self-sustaining.  It was suggested that there would be a lot to be gained from bringing groups together.


RESOLVED -    (i)       That the recommendations of the scope and timeline be agreed.

                          (ii)      that the comments of the Committee with regards to what is included in the scope be noted.





Performance Monitoring: Infrastructure Support to the Voluntary and Community Sector in Gateshead pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Communities and Environment


The Committee received a report from the Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service to provide an update on the current position within the service and highlighted some of the work which will be undertaken and to highlight some of the key and current issues facing the voluntary and community sector.


In May 2016 Newcastle CVS was invited to provide interim voluntary and community infrastructure support to organisations in Gateshead.  Newcastle CVS provided a full service in Gateshead which finished on 31 July 2018 with a new contract starting in August 2018.


From 2016 – 2018 there has been formal contract performance monitoring, monthly meetings with commissioning officers and reports every six months to the Corporate Resources OSC.  During this time there has been:


·         Delivery of contracts – exceeding targets

·         Active engagement in the Gateshead Health and Wellbeing Board, Gateshead Health and Care System Board, Deciding Together/Delivering Together and other health initiatives

·         Publication of Gateshead specific reports – ‘Doing Good in Gateshead’ and ‘GaN Canny’

·         Development and Delivery of OurGateshead

·         Active engagement in the Gateshead Awards

·         Active engagement and dissemination of information on Gateshead Thrive/Anti Poverty Work

  • Involvement in 2017/18 and 2018/19 Gateshead Council budget processes, including dissemination of information, organising meetings, writing a full response
  • Regular meetings with councillors and Gateshead Council officers and partners active in Gateshead
  • Extension of all written and digital materials to include Gateshead
  • Development and delivery of the Gateshead Voluntary Sector Leaders Group
  • Attendance and (appropriate) involvement at Gateshead Council committees, events and initiatives
  • Development of the Blue Stone Consortium, formerly the Gateshead Commissioning Exchange and Newcastle Consortium, to take on the Public Health England contract for Well Newcastle Gateshead.
  • Engagement with funders e.g. Community Foundation (Tyne Wear and Northumberland) and Big Lottery highlighting the lower levels of investment in Gateshead.


Future services will include:


  • Changes to the staff team - the Newcastle CVS support and development team is currently going through a programme of restructuring in order to deliver the new infrastructure contracts in Gateshead and Newcastle, within a reduced budget and offering a more generic service; in line with the contract requirements.
  • Development and enhancement of networking opportunities for the voluntary and community sector, including a new Gateshead VCS network
  • Delivery of a one-day event for Gateshead’s voluntary and community organisations
  • Newcastle CVS is currently consulting on a name change to reflect its position in Gateshead
  • Newcastle CVS will change its governance structure in order that Gateshead organisations can become full members (rule change to be agreed at the CVS AGM on 12 November, to be held at St Mary’s Heritage Centre, Gateshead)
  • The new infrastructure service will be managed jointly across Gateshead and Newcastle by a single manager, separate workers and shared skills
  • Greater engagement of external specialist providers e.g. The Media Trust, Association of Chairs etc
  • Continuing development and promotion of the OurGateshead website
  • Development, update and rewrite of the Gateshead Voluntary Sector Compact
  • Annual key facts briefing for Gateshead
  • Participation in Gateshead Council review of Information, Advice and Advocacy Services
  • Engage  ...  view the full minutes text for item CR5


Volunteer Plan - Annual Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Report of the Strategic Director, Communities and Environment

Additional documents:


The Committee received the Annual Update Report with regards to the Volunteer Plan.  The Committee has previously agreed that they should receive an annual update on the implementation of the Council’s Volunteers Plan, now known as Helping Out.


Gateshead Council has adopted the Making Gateshead a Place Where Everyone Thrives, and this will supersede the current Council Plan.


The Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy 2019/20 to 2023/2 states that the Council will continue to seek to mitigate demand pressures within services by capacity building within communities, including where appropriate, work with partners and volunteers.


In April 2018 this Committee agreed the content of the Volunteers Plan Refresh.  The plan offered a new set of commitments to support residents and community organisations in Gateshead to help each other out.


The original Volunteers Plan (2013) and refresh (2018) have helped provide a co-ordinated approach to volunteering in Gateshead.  The plan was originally structured around key principles which aimed to support volunteers as well as organisations and services delivering volunteer opportunities.


Since the creation of the original plan in 2013 there are now 1978 residents registered with Gateshead to volunteer and increase of 1928.  A conservative estimate is there could be as many as 8000 to 10000 volunteers helping across our communities.


Corporate volunteer days continue to grow in demand, with a total of over 80 individual organisations being offered tailored bespoke volunteer days supporting an estimated 2500 individual employee volunteers.  The economic value to the Gateshead community is estimated at £160,955.


The Volunteer Plan and systems for the management of volunteering projects had remained largely unchanged since 2013 until the refresh.  Therefore, some of the systems and processes that support the recruitment and retention of volunteers are now difficult to manage efficiently due to the increasing volume of volunteering requests and the capacity available to process the requests.  It has also always been acknowledged that the Council’s arrangements only cover a fraction of the volunteering that takes place across Gateshead.


Council officers have worked with Open Lab Newcastle and PACT Lab Northumbria to try and find ways to address some of the issues around recruitment and management of volunteers.  One of the main findings from this and other research into volunteer recruitment is that an online system is required to provide appropriate support and alleviate some of the current constraints.  The Team are now looking at the various off the shelf volunteer management systems that could be purchased to help improve efficiency and quality of the support.


In May 2014 Gateshead Council Employee 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 employee’s own time.  The scheme also allows employees to take part in taster sessions.  Promotional activity will continue in 2018/19 with an aim to increase the number of employee volunteer days.


Throughout Gateshead there are many different informal environmental Friends of Groups (FOG) that  ...  view the full minutes text for item CR6


Annual Work Programme pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Report of the Chief Executive and the Strategic Director, Corporate Resources and Governance

Additional documents:


The Committee received the report detailing the work programme for the municipal year 2018/19.  The Committee were advised that there had been a couple of changes to the programme which had been highlighted.


RESOLVED -  That the Committee noted the changes to the Work Programme