We want your views on our proposals to introduce a Voluntary Community Sector (VCS) Asset Strategy. The consultation runs from 15 March to 25 April 2021. Please share your views with us by completing a short survey.
Voluntary sector organisations currently occupy a wide range of Council-owned buildings with different groups paying a large variation in fees and charges. We are looking to standardise rates paid to ensure a fair and transparent system. We also need to invest in our buildings to bring them up to standard and ensure their lasting use in the community.
At the same time, the Council needs to increase accountability and clarity over the use of premises to encourage greater creativity in the operation of properties which are currently occupied and managed by VCS tenants and see if they can be made more sustainable. This consultation only relates to VCS Property Portfolio which has - short to medium term leases and does not include Tenants Halls, Youth and Play ( Adventure Playgrounds, Youth Centres, One O'clock Clubs) and VCS Portfolio on long leases. The proposed VCS Asset Strategy has the following elements:
The Letting Policy proposes consistent letting terms on a subsidised rental level with terms that encourage the lead tenant to share the accommodation with other VCS organisations. There will be a fair and transparent allocation of property to voluntary and community sector applicants following selection criterion for allocating Community Leases. Under the proposed Letting Policy, the Council will assume responsibility for external repairs, whilst the tenants will be responsible for repairs and maintaining the interior;
A Social Value Evaluation tool
Developed and agreed in partnership, which will place an obligation on VCS groups to demonstrate the social value they bring to Lambeth communities and their contribution to the delivery of the Future Lambeth Borough Plan, and the VCS Strategy key aims. The Council will require all VCS tenants to complete and submit an annual social value evaluation, to increase visibility, accountability and transparency relating to the use of Lambeth’s VCS Property Portfolio. VCS groups will also be required to publish contact details, organisation aims, service provision and operation hours, and other useful additional information.
VCS Property Panel
A partnership between the Council (and other public sector partners), and the Voluntary and Community Sector in Lambeth. The Panel will be set up to promote, develop, improve cross-sector relationships, and build trust between the Council, other public sector partners, and the VCS sector in Lambeth in relation to effective use of the Council’s VCS Property Portfolio. The Panel will also oversee the provision of an effective channel to exchange information, share and promote best practice and improve communications and cross-sector working in relation to use of the VCS Property Portfolio;
A VCS Tenant Liaison Officer
A Tenant Liason Officer who will establish dialogue and engage with VCS tenants, keeping a focus and attention on the social value delivered from the premises, providing early support to the VCS tenants to enable timely intervention, and developing appropriate support action plans before taking formal action for non-compliance, if required.