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Paper 7 - 26 November 2004 Meeting

HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

26 November 2004

CHANGEUP – CAPACITY BUILDING AND INFRASTRUCTURE FRAMEWORK FOR THE VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR

Report by Ken Dufton, Chief Executive, Eastleigh Community Services           ________________________________________________________________________

RECOMMENDATION

That the report be noted.            ________________________________________________________________________

BACKGROUND

1.                  ChangeUp is the Government’s ten year strategy to ensure that “by 2014 the needs of frontline voluntary and community organisations will be met by support which is available nationwide, structured for maximum efficiency, offering excellent provision which is accessible to all while reflecting and promoting diversity, and is sustainably funded.”

2.                  It emanated from the Treasury document The Role of the Voluntary and Community Sector in Service delivery 2002 – A cross cutting review and is part of the Government’s plan to increase to participation of the sector in the delivery of public services and to ensure it has the necessary support to succeed in doing so.

3.                  The strategy was developed over the past two years in consultation with the sector and published in the summer of 2004.

THE FRAMEWORK

4.                  ChangeUp makes a large number of recommendations both short and long term but  these are grouped under the following headings:

·              Performance improvement
·             
Developing a highly effective workforce
·             
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
·             
Governance
·             
Recruiting and developing volunteers
·             
Financing voluntary and community sector activity
·             
Infrastructure
·             
Reflecting and promoting diversity
·             
Sustainability, sub-regional and regional infrastructure development

5.                  The Government envisages that activity will be supported at a national, regional, county /sub regional and local level. At a national level in is proposing to fund national hubs of expertise on:

·              Performance improvement
·             
Workforce development
·             
ICT
·             
Governance
·             
Financing voluntary and community sector activity

A national hub for volunteering, Volunteering England, already exists.

REGIONAL AND LOCAL ACTIVITY 

6.                  Over the summer the Government funded an early investment programme to move the Framework forward. In the South East the regional voluntary infrastructure body RAISE (Regional Action and Involvement South East) was commissioned by the Government Office for the South East (GOSE) to look to do a review of the voluntary and community infrastructure in the region.

7.                  As part of that review four projects were commissioned in the HIOW area, one on human resource issues, one on workforce development and two on ICT issues. The network of Councils for Voluntary Services (CVS Network) was heavily involved in all four pieces of work and led on two of them.

8.                  The report has been with GOSE for some time now and is due to be published shortly.

9.                  At the same time Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) commissioned a separate piece of work, lead by Community Action Hampshire, to look at the needs in the rural areas. This was submitted and DEFRA has indicated that it wishes to fund a Black and Minority Ethnic mapping and support project in the rural parts of Hampshire.

10.              As a follow on from the RAISE work the CVS Network in the HIOW sub-region has undertaken to draw up an Infrastructure Development Plan. This is being worked on at present and will look at the infrastructure support needs of front line voluntary and community organisations in this area and propose actions to meet these. Some development will be at district level but other more specialist support needs will be more effectively provided at a sub-regional level. The intention is to share this with our partners locally and to complete the work by Christmas to inform the allocation of funds by GOSE. The overall aim is to ensure that voluntary and community organisations throughout the sub-region have access to the information and support they need on a co-ordinated basis.

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

11.              In the 2002 Spending Review the Government set aside £80million for investment during 2003-06 in capacity building and infrastructure. Some of this money has been spent on the consultation, some will be spent nationally but approximately £5.6million is available for the South East over the next two years. GOSE is in the process of establishing a regional consortium to oversee the allocation of that money.

12.              As is often the case the Government has not given a commitment to long term funding although there was a hint of further investment in the 2004 Spending Review. However it emphasises in the documentation the need for long term sustainability of services, and the key role played by the local public sector. There is also discussion of the scope for income generation by the sector although this is linked with the issue of full cost recovery for front line organisations delivering public services who depend on the backup support of infrastructure organisations such as councils for voluntary service.

CONCLUSIONS

13.              ChangeUp represents a major opportunity to build the capacity of the voluntary and community sector in the HIOW area by strengthening the support that the sector receives through its infrastructure bodies.

14.              There are many good things happening already and indeed the HIOW area is ahead of other places in the region but there are areas where coverage of support is not uniform across the area or where the support needs extra support to deal with the pace of change.

15.               The sector looks forward to working with its partners in HIOW to maximise the potential that this opportunity offers.

KEN DUFTON
Chief Executive, Eastleigh Community Services

Date:                11 November
Annex:              0
Contact:              Ken Dufton – 023 8090 2440, E-mail kdufton@ecs-vol.org

Last update: 16/11/2004
Author: Nick Goulder, Director

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