Have Your Say Consultation
VCS Assembly Consultation
Shropshire VCS Assembly and Shropshire Council have been working together throughout 2011 to respond to local priorities identified by VCS Assembly members and to the Government's vision of Big Society and the new challenges set out in the Localism Act.
Work has predominantly taken place around three priority areas:
- New Community Rights
Please comment on the work to date
A number of draft documents (attached below) have been produced under the three main themes above and VCS representatives are now keen to obtain feedback from the wider VCS Assembly Membership. It is important to ensure all Assembly members have the opportunity to influence prior to implementation of new approaches and policies.
Draft documents are set out below with a brief description. Key questions you may wish to consider include:
- Are the main principles set out in the documents the right ones? Are they in line with your views/needs and national policy direction?
- Will the suggested approaches help your group or organisation to better work with Shropshire Council?
- Could any of the draft policies/approaches have a negative impact upon your relationship with Shropshire Council?
- Are there any gaps?
- Are any additional guidance or polic documents needed?
- How can the information be presented in the most accessible way?
How to comment
The consultation will end shortly before the VCS Annual Assembly on 19 April 2012. The website link will be available and reminders provided over the coming months.
Send your responses by email to: VCSAssembly@shropshire.gov.uk
Have Your Say Workshop 2nd February
Thank you to everyone who attended the Have Your Say workshop on the 2nd February. The details of the event including copies of the presentations and a report of the event (including discussion group feedback and evaluations) are included below. The report of the event will also be made available in the coming weeks.
Any help disseminating this information to organisations that may not have internet access would be greatly appreciated.
The Commissioning Strategy attached below has been developed to provide an overview of Shropshire Council's approach to commissioning. It sets out the national and local policy context, key commissioning objectives and details elements of the commissioning process. It has been designed to promote good practice in commissioning and to act as a resource for local service providers aiming to deliver commissioned services.
The Commissioning Strategy will sit alongside other documents and guidance (including the documents presented below) and it is hoped that work may take place with other public sector commissioners to continue to develop and improve commissioning practice in Shropshire.
Commissioning Engagement Guidance
The attached guidance has been designed to sit alongside the overarching Commissioning Strategy. The guidance sets out how commissioning will be undertaken and how the VCS will be involved at each stage. It sets out a step-by-step process to follow, acting as guidance for commissioners and potential service providers. Effective commissioning ensures all stakeholders (including service users and service providers) are effectively engaged in the process of identifying needs, service design, delivery and review, resulting in services that best meet local needs and deliver the best outcomes.
Commissioning Intentions Document
The Commissioning Intentions document has been designed to communicate commissioning opportunities to VCS organisations, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and other potential service providers operating in Shropshire. The document collates information from across all Shropshire Council's service areas. It highlights where current contracts and financial arrangements are coming to an end and where new tender opportunities are anticipated. The aim of the document is to communicate potential service delivery opportunities as early as possible, allowing any interested service providers to undertake work to prepare for future opportunities.
As the document and its underlying processes become more integrated into the work of the Council the Commissioning Intentions document will become more focused on the outcomes that Shropshire Council intends to commission rather than services. Focusing on outcomes will offer the opportunity to innovate and deliver services in new ways to best meet local needs.
Decommissioning Guidance has been produced to encourage and promote good practice in decommissioning. Decommissioning is a vitally important stage of the commissioning cycle and can lead to improvement if done well. The guidance sets out how to decommission effectively and will help both commissioners of services and service providers by communicating what to expect from the decommissioning process and how to work together to ensure the best outcome for service users.
The Performance Framework attached below sets out a new approach to performance management. It sets out a new 3 tiered system of managing commissioned services. The framework is designed to introduce a more proportionate system of performance monitoring - making performance requirements appropriate to the value/scale/risks of a contract/grant. It moves away from a 'one size fits all' approach and promotes the adoption of proportional and appropriate performance requirements and quality assurance. The framework also promotes a flexible approach to the use of payment mechanisms, again using the three tiered system to ensure payment approaches are appropriate to the value/scale/risks of a contract/grant (also using a combination of payment approaches if this is appropriate and introducing incentives to exceed targets where these would be beneficial). It is now important to consult on this approach to ensure it meets the objectives it has been designed to achieve: proportionality, flexibility and transparency.
The Performance Guidance document guidance document has been produced to support the implementation of a new approach to performance and the implementation of the Performance Framework. Performance measurement of contracts and grants will become more focused on outcomes and the framework will be used to ensure that performance management and payment options are proportionate to the value, size and risks of the contract, funding or grant opportunity.
The document sets the background for that work, explaining the context and underlying principles on which the work is based. It also works to assist smaller service providers to gain a better understanding of outcomes and outcome monitoring and reporting.
Community Rights - The Localism Act
The Localism Bill was introduced to Parliament on 13 December 2010, and was given Royal Assent on 15 November 2011, becoming an Act. The Localism Act introduces a number of community rights including the Community Right to Bid (previously known as the Community Right to Buy) and the Community Right to Challenge.
Community Right to Bid (assets of community value)
The Community Right to Bid has been designed to provide an opportunity for voluntary and community groups and organisations and town and parish councils to take ownership of local assets. The Right to Bid recognises that local groups need time to organise a bid and raise money.
The Community Right to Bid process includes the identification of assets of community value, these are then listed and the list maintained by the local authority. When listed assets come up for sale or change of ownership, the Right to Bid gives community groups the time to develop a bid and raise the money to bid to buy the asset when it comes on the open market.
The Right to Bid process is attached as a diagram.
Community Asset Transfer Policy
A Community Asset Transfer (CAT) Policy is being prepared to enable Shropshire Council to positively respond to requests from voluntary and community groups to take on a Council owned asset (as a lease or through sale). The policy complements the implementation of the Community Right to Bid and the Council's Asset Strategy and supporting documents. The CAT Policy will be supported by a number of appendices and guidance documents designed to assist both Shropshire Council officers and local groups and organisations in their joint work to transfer community assets.
Community Right to Challenge
The Community Right to Challenge gives voluntary and community groups and organisations, parish and town councils and local authority employees the right to express an interest in taking over the running of a local authority service. It provides a process that local authority can use to consider and respond to challenges, and where challenges are accepted, the process triggers a procurement exercise in which the challenging organisation can bid. The aim of the Community Right to Challenge makes it easier for local groups with good ideas to put them forward and drive improvement in local services.
The group working to understand and implement the Community Right to Challenge has developed draft documentation (an Expression of Interest form) in anticipation of the national implementation of the new right but this may be replaced by standard national Government guidance (the publication date of this national guidance is not yet known).
A process diagram summarising the Community Right to Challenge is attached below: