May 2007 to April 2012
|NORTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL|
|Agenda Item 4 |
30 August 2010
|Subject: ||North Ayrshire Women's Aid: Monitoring Report|
To provide a monitoring report on the utilisation of the grant funding awarded to North Ayrshire Women's Aid in the financial year 2009/2010.
The Committee is asked to note the monitoring report.
1.1 Under the terms of reference of the Committee a monitoring report is required to ensure proper scrutiny of external organisations where the Council provides financial assistance.
1.2 A previous monitoring report was submitted to Committee on 11 February 2008. Since that time North Ayrshire Women's Aid (NAWA) has been restructured and the new structure has been included as an appendix to this report.
1.3 NAWA is a registered charity that provides support and assistance to women affected by, or who are fleeing from, domestic abuse. The services are funded from Housing Services General Fund (non Housing Revenue Account).
1.4 NAWA have a mixture of scatter flats and refuge spaces available to women fleeing domestic abuse. There are 20 refuge spaces and 4 scatter flats within North Ayrshire.
1.5 NAWA also receive significant additional funding from other income streams (e.g. Housing Benefit).
2. Current Position
2.1 NAWA received grant funding from Housing Services totalling £794,430. This is broken down as follows: Children's Services (£150,000), Addiction Services (£66,500) and Housing Support Services including; Counselling and Support, Refuge Accommodation and Outreach Support (£577,930).
2.2 The main aims and objectives of the organisation in respect of Housing Services grant funding are:-
- To offer safe accommodation to women and children fleeing domestic violence;
- To provide support and counselling services to women affected by domestic abuse;
- To provide support to women in relation to addiction issues; and
- To provide training and awareness of domestic abuse issues.
2.3 Contractual agreements have been developed and implemented for all of the above mentioned services. All contracts commenced on 1 April 2010 for one year with the option to extend annually for a maximum of 3 years. A performance management framework was implemented as a contract monitoring tool and as an appendix to the contract. Information is received monthly and quarterly by Women's Aid and this is collated into a performance report which is distributed to all homeless managers.
2.4 The weekly cost of refuge accommodation support provision is on average £236 per week and NAWA supported approximately 111 women in safe accommodation throughout 2009/10. Outreach support was provided to 115 service users providing a total of 4515 hours in the year, and the Counselling and Support service provided 3993 hours to 483 service users.
2.5 Void levels across all NAWA refuge accommodation averaged 20.94% for year 2009/10. This performance was negatively impacted by the performance of the Kilbirnie Refuge with void levels of just under 50% (see table below). A meeting was held with Women's Aid to review void performance in general, and to discuss in more detail the issues pertaining to the performance of the Kilbirnie Refuge. During this meeting NAWA were advised that their void performance was not acceptable and could not be sustained. In response to this Women's Aid have reviewed their client group and have now widened the eligibility criteria. Void levels have subsequently reduced considerably since the beginning of the financial year (2010/2011) and now average 6.9% (see table below for more detail). Void Level (%) 2009/10 2010/2011 (as at 8/8/10)
NAWA Scatter Flats 12.05% 0.77%
NAWA Ardrossan Flats 9.45% 3.4%
NAWA Irvine Refuge 10.03% 5.4%
NAWA Kilbirnie Flats 16.53% 11%
NAWA Kilbirnie Refuge 49.63% 13.7%
2.7 Within the terms of the agreed contract NAWA can have void levels of 5% without incurring a penalty. Void levels above this figure trigger an option for the Council to recoup a % of their accommodation budget. The % that can be reclaimed increases in line with the void levels up to a maximum of 15% of the budget e.g. void levels of 20% could result in the Council reclaiming the maximum 15% of the budget.
2.8 Housing Services has a representative on the Violence Against Women Forum. The Forum appointed a consultant to carry out research on violence against women within North Ayrshire, with Housing Services contributing £10,000 toward the cost of the research. A Violence against Women Strategy has been developed and the action plan from this Strategy has been incorporated into the Homelessness Strategy. Funding for this service assists in meeting the aims, objectives and outcomes of both these strategic documents.
2.9 Housing Services are committed to delivering and managing services that provide value for money. It is proposed that the contract is continued to the renewal date when a full review of the service and value for money will be undertaken.3. Proposals
3.1 The Committee is asked to note the monitoring report.4. Implications
4.1 There are no financial implications for Housing Services as the budget has been identified until the end of the contract period.
Human Resource Implications
4.2 There are no human resource implications
4.3 There are no legal implications
4.4 There are no equality implications
4.5 There are no environmental issues
Implications for Key Priorities
4.6 The grant funding to NAWA assists North Ayrshire in meeting the national and local SOA outcomes:-
- Outcome 6 (c and d) - We live longer, healthier lives;
- Outcome 7 (a) - We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society;
- Outcome 8 (a) - We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families; and
- Outcome 9 (a and b) - We live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger.
4.7 The removal of grant funding for NAWA would negatively impact the Council's ability to meet the SOA outcomes referred to above.5. Consultations
5.1 There was ongoing consultation with NAWA throughout the development of their contracts thereby ensuring that both the Council and NAWA were satisfied with the content and the level of services to be provided.
5.2 Regular meetings are held with NAWA to discuss performance and operational areas such as void levels.6. Conclusion
6.1 Housing Services will continue to monitor NAWA and will hold regular meetings with them to monitor performance and ensure value for money. A higher level of scrutiny has been introduced and this will continue to be monitored via the performance management framework.
Corporate Director (Social Services and Health)
Reference : DH/1338/10
For further information please contact Alex Adrain, Divisional Manager, Headquarters , on 01294 324641
Background Papers : n/a