Update on Work with the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector During Covid-19
- Meeting of Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee, Thursday, 8th October, 2020 2.00 pm (Item 38.)
- View the declarations of interest for item 38.
Report of the Director of Policy, Performance and Reform
This report provides an update on the work with the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector in light of Covid-19, specifically updating on the work of Macc (VCSE Infrastructure Support Service) and the Council’s Our Manchester Funds Programme Team.
The Committee received a report of the Director of Policy, Performance and Reform which provided an update on the work with the VCSE sector in light of COVID-19, specifically updating on the work of Macc (VCSE Infrastructure Support Service) and the Council’s Our Manchester Funds Programme Team. The report noted that officers would work with the VCSE sector and the VCSE infrastructure provider to consider how the sector could play a full and active part in Manchester's ambitions to live within its science-based carbon budget and become a zero carbon city by 2038 at the latest.
Officers referred to the main points and themes within the report, which included:
- VCSE infrastructure support during COVID-19;
- Work of the Programme Team, including during the pandemic; and
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:
- To recognise the important contribution that voluntary, community and mutual aid groups across the city had made during the pandemic;
- Request for information by equality strand on the financial support that had been given during the pandemic from the Council and external funders;
- Request for information on the substantial investment being made in highways infrastructure, in particular demographic information on the people employed on these projects, for example, employment of Manchester residents and disabled people; and
- As the Our Manchester VCS grant fund was currently in the third year of a three-year programme which was due to end in March 2021, was an extension of the current contracts being considered, due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, and would there be a further funding round.
Mike Wild, Chief Executive of Macc, informed Members that a virtual Spirit of Manchester Awards ceremony would be taking place on 22 October to thank voluntary and community groups for their work. He informed Members that this would be broadcast on YouTube at 7pm and that he would be sending an invitation to all Councillors. He informed the Committee about Macc’s work to try to secure additional funding for the city, stating that additional funding had been secured from National Emergency Funding and the national Government.
The Programme Lead (Our Manchester Funds) reported that he would liaise with Mike Wild to provide an overview of where financial support was being provided during the pandemic in relation to the equality strands. In response to a Member’s request for information on any gaps in funding provision, he reported that he could provide high level data and advised that funders were now communicating and sharing information between themselves, supported by the Council, which would enable a more detailed picture of this to be developed in future.
In response to a Member’s question about work with older people, the Programme Lead (Our Manchester Funds) informed Members about the Older People’s Neighbourhood Support Fund, which was a targeted programme which had started shortly before the lockdown. He offered to provide additional information on work taking place with older people and how the neighbourhood groups were adapting during the pandemic.
The Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport informed Members that the social value of the highways contracts had been discussed at the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee meeting the previous day. She advised Members that a report on this would be going to a future meeting of that Committee and would include the information that the Member had requested. In response to a Member’s request that this report also be submitted to the Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee, the Chair advised that, if it included information which related to equalities issues, this Committee could also receive it for information.
The Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport reported that a number of options were being considered in relation to the current Our Manchester VCS Fund grants, including an extension of the funding for a further period. She advised the Committee that the programme was currently being reviewed, including discussions with stakeholders on the needs of the sector, and consideration was being given to the future funding arrangements for the sector. She reported that these decisions would need to take into account the Council’s new financial position and its strategic needs, including the re-set of the Our Manchester Strategy. The Chair expressed the Committee’s support for discussions about extending the current contracts and for the continuation and, when financially feasible, growth of the Our Manchester VCS Fund.
1. To request information on the financial support that has been given during the pandemic by the Council and external funders, broken down by equality strands, as well as information on any gaps in provision.
2. To request that the report on social value in the highways contract requested by the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee be provided to Members of this Committee for information.
3. To express the Committee’s support for discussions about extending the current Our Manchester VCS Fund contracts and for the continuation and, when financially feasible, growth of the Our Manchester VCS Fund.
[Councillor Grimshaw declared a personal interest as a Governor at St Anne’s Primary School, Ancoats.]