DECISIONS CAN BE IMPLEMENTED AT 5PM ON THE DAY THAT A CALL-IN EXPIRES. DECISIONS MAY BE ENACTED AFTER 5PM ON THE DAY PRIOR TO THE DATE INDICATED BELOW IN THE 'EFFECTIVE FROM' COLUMN
Decision Maker: Joint Strategic Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Before the Committee was a report by the Director for Communities, copies of which had been circulated to all Members and a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as Item 9.
Generalist advice was an important service that was provided across West Sussex. The current contract for this work was held and delivered by Citizens Advice and included work around optimising benefit claims for the Councils’ communities and a free drop in advice service for its communities in locations in Adur and Worthing.
The service had provided a vital response to the ongoing impacts of the COVID pandemic, where increasing numbers of local residents were facing challenges in relation to insecure housing, financial sustainability and accessing appropriate support. All of which made the work of an advice service even more necessary for the next contracting period. During the current contract, Citizens Advice had also secured additional funding sources for specific projects to bolster their core programme, including work around housing support and Covid related champions.
This work formed an important part of AWC’s ‘Platforms’, and to the Councils’ pandemic response and recovery plans to support its most vulnerable communities in relation to advice, and financial capability work as evidenced in the JSC report 'Proactive interventions to support local income residents’ (July 2021).
The report included key data from the service to demonstrate its reach and impact. In addition, work was also being carried out across the Councils’ departments to ensure this service was aligned to the changing needs of its communities now and into the future as a result of the pandemic, ensuring a good reach across all the Councils’ communities and especially to those experiencing poverty and hardship, and inequality.
The current contract for this service was due to expire in April 2022, after a period of three years. Discussions were being held with WSCC about the reprocurement of this work.
Members of the Joint Strategic Committee were asked to consider and approve arrangements for West Sussex County Council to procure a generalist community advice and support service on behalf of the County Council and all other District and Borough Councils in West Sussex from April 2022.
The Joint Strategic Committee
1. Endorsed a new contract for Citizens Advice on the basis of a 3+3+1 year agreement; and
2. Supported the proposed allocation of funds of ADC £83,824 and WBC £79,829 per annum for the contract period 2021-2028.
The call-in deadline for decision will be 5.00pm on 17 September 2021.
Publication date: 10/09/2021
Date of decision: 07/09/2021
Decided at meeting: 07/09/2021 - Joint Strategic Committee
Effective from: 18/09/2021