Essential that valued Communities First projects can continue – Assembly Committee
The Welsh Government should ensure councils identify all programmes currently being delivered by Communities First that should be delivered by other public services and that they are transferred across to the relevant public service as soon as possible, according to a National Assembly Committee.
The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee also found it has been difficult to make an overall assessment of the success of the fifteen year, £432 million Communities First tackling poverty programme because of insufficient performance management.
Communities First was the Welsh Government’s flagship tackling poverty programme. The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children Carl Sargeant AM announced that the programme would be wound down in February this year.
The report also highlights that uncertainty for staff caused by the way in which the announcement was made has had a detrimental impact on their work, and affected the people using the services.
The Committee also recommend that the Welsh Government outline how long legacy funding will be available for as soon as possible.
Committee Chair John Griffiths AM said:
“For many people, Communities First has had a life-changing impact, and we know it has done great work in communities across Wales.
“We are concerned that the Welsh Government must learn lessons for future tackling poverty activities, ensuring progress is measurable, based on evidence of what works, and that the successful elements of Communities First, which could be delivered by other public bodies and are valued locally, are transferred to other public services to deliver.
“The need for these services hasn’t disappeared, but faced with uncertainty, we have heard that Communities First staff are already leaving for other jobs. Their expertise and relationships cannot easily be replaced.”
Other recommendations include:
- That the Welsh Government considers removing postcode barriers to families accessing Flying Start where there is an identified need and capacity to support them;
- That the Welsh Government ensures that all advice and guidance to local authorities is available in written form to supplement inThat the Welsh Government ensures that all advice and guidance to local authorities is available in written form to supplement information that is provided in person or orally; and
- That the Welsh Government makes it clear in guidance to local authorities that employability support should encompass all stages of the employment journey, including support to a person once they are in employment.
Read the full report:
Communities First Lessons Learned (PDF,2 MB)