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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 16 December 2013 were agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
2.00pm - Informal discussion of Background Research - Briefing notes and research papers
The information pack was given to Members hardcopy at 16 December 2013. Members are requested to comment on key points of the documents in relation to the terms of reference.
The Committee discussed aspects of the briefing note and research papers that had been circulated at the meeting of the Committee on 16 January 2013. There was a specific discussion around “Social Value” and its application.
1) The Chairman welcomed Judy Doherty to the meeting and invited her to outline to the Committee her role in KCC and to answer questions from Members of the Committee.
(2) Judy explained that she worked in the Customer and Communities Directorate; her line manager is David Weiss (Head of Business Transformation and Programmes, who reported to Angela Slaven) and that her areas of responsibility covered a number of factors related to the County Council’s relationship with the voluntary sector and the social enterprise sector, for example, working with commissioners to help build understanding of the current operational environment for the voluntary sector and to advise on engagement with the sector.. The team also works with colleagues in Business Strategy on developing a new relationship with the Voluntary Sector.. The aim was to enable the voluntary and community sector organisations to operate within a commissioning environment, in which there is greater use of contracting and less emphasis on grant funding.. Judy works with the Kent Community Foundation who also administer, on behalf of KCC, the Big Society Fund, which helps new and existing social enterprises access loan finance on bespoke terms which are designed for them.
(3) Judy referred to the launch of the Volunteering Charter which was part of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy work and which is a statement of KCC’s commitment to supporting volunteering.
(4) Judy stated that she worked directly with the voluntary sector in relation to Kent’s Partners Compact, which is Kent’s relationship agreement with the sector (Compact is a national agreement). The Compact for example covers the way that KCC and other statutory bodies enter into funding agreements and a code of practice on volunteering. She stated that every local authority in the country receives annual Freedom of Information requests from Compact Voice regarding their Compact and any changes in funding arrangements. Compact Voice publishes a report annually.
Question – Are you able to explain you role in relation to the issues to be explored by the Select Committee as set out in a) to g) of the agreed Committee themes?
(5) Judy explained that she did not directly commission work herself, part of her role was to work with commissioners to help them to understand the pressures on the voluntary sector, and to help the sector build its understanding of commissioning processes including needs assessment and outcome focused delivery. Commissioners regularly consult with providers regarding the impact on them and to take into account the feedback.
Question – One of the main problems is the question of barriers especially for smaller organisations, do you have a view on that?
(6) Judy stated that the major policy issues for the voluntary sector were the dual problem of being able to secure capacity for forward planning and financial stability in a changing funding environment. There is also a sense that the voluntary sector is in a new contractual and funding environment which has the potential to compromise the ‘independent’ lobbying voice of the ... view the full minutes text for item 5.