Equity Diversity Interdependence
Promoting a Peaceful and Fair
Society based on Reconciliation
and Mutual Trust.
08 June 2011
COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL
|NAME OF MEETING:||Victims & Survivors Committee|
|VENUE:||Community Relations Council Offices, Belfast.|
|DATE:||10:00am on Wednesday 8th June 2011|
|PRESENT:||Jim Campbell, Leon Litvack (Chair), Robin Morton, Sean Coll, Sheena Funston.|
|STAFF:||Anne Rogan, Brian Mullan, , Danny Angus, Jacqueline Irwin, Joan Clements, Karen Duggan, Mary Pantaleoni, Micháela Mackin, Verna Harper (minutes)|
|OBSERVER:||David McGowan (OFMDFM)|
WELCOME & APOLOGIES
The Chair welcomed those present. Apologies were received from David Russell, Eamonn Oakes, Jackie Witherow, Katie Hanlon and Maureen Hetherington.
MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The minutes would be formally approved at the next meeting.
A verbal update was provided with regards to audit investigations underway. It was noted that a report is expected in July from Goldblatt McGuigan and regarding assurance audits a final report is expected soon from FPM auditors.
Barney Devine and a staff member from NICTT delivered a presentation on the economic burden of PTSD in N Ireland. An information pack was distributed to the committee members.
An update was delivered on the current funding position. The Letter of Offer for the Strategic Support Fund was received by Council on 21st April for the first 6 months of the financial year and groups are now receiving their first payments. Due to amendments in the budget, the team met to adjust the awards which were approved at the May meeting. A number of groups have applied for reprofiling but there will be no increased funding.
All the SSF contracts were released on 13th May and it was noted that there is a slight over-commitment to allow for potential underspends. A profile was also presented relating to the categories of need with mental health and social support coming the highest.
The Development Grant scheme is not yet opened but the materials have been refreshed, a scoring matrix for the committee has been devised and new application and evaluation forms have been created. Groups will have to resubmit an application and there will be no retrospective funding. Concern was expressed by all that some groups felt under threat and it was suggested that an update be sent to all groups reassuring them of our commitment to their funding. A reminder of the urgency of the situation has also to be sent to the Department.
There will only be a one month window of opportunity for applications. Some concern was expressed that this could cause logistical problems.
It was reported that verifications are being completed for 2010. There has been considerable delay with some of the groups sending in their documentation. As a result this means that groups have missed deadlines that have been provided by Officers numerous times, and with pressure to complete CRC accounts for end year groups will have lost funding and underspends are coming forward. The SSF verification has started and Core is to be finalized soon.
The Victims and Survivors conference was well received and thanks were extended to Dr Leon Litvack for his speech. It was noted that the conference was a valuable networking opportunity for groups with excellent input and exchange of ideas, practice and learning. It is deemed unlikely however that there will be a residential conference next year considering CRC has reduced its administration costs in relation to its management of the Grant Schemes by 9%.
It was reported that an assurance audit of three of the groups has been completed successfully and those groups have been provided with their new SSF contract. Two are delayed due to issues with forensic imaging but one of these should be ready on Friday 10th June.
An update was delivered to the committee on the befriending sector. It was reported that there is a general sense of despondency in the victims’ community due to delays with funding. A substantial number of referrals suffering from PTSD are being received but there is a lack of funding for external supervision. There has also been a lack of time in the past year for support.
It was reported that NICTT have been engaged in training other groups and that they have agreed to deliver emergency PTSD assessments. Concern was expressed about over-diagnosis of PTSD and it was strongly emphasised that psychiatric referral should be required.
The research by eight of the groups into complementary therapies has been completed and a joint launch between SEFF and CRC will take place shortly. An invitation was extended to the committee and they would be informed once a date was available.
STRATEGIC SUPPORT FUND / REQUESTS FOR REALLOCATIONS OF BUDGETS
It was noted that the Peace 3 funding had been extended for 2 months therefore the group are only requesting 8 months funding rather than 10. Staff are now part time, there has been a saving in running costs and a change in the workplan. It was emphasised that a distinction is required between funding sources.
There has been a reduction in budget due to a vacant staff post and a cut in transport costs. It was noted that the group will be using the Council’s Dungannon offices for training. The application has been re-profiled and a request has been made to change the headings.
The committee did not approve changes due to the level of changes being requested. Further discussions with the group were to be had to focus on possible eligible reprofiling.
Families Moving On
It was noted that there has been a saving of £8,909 on salary and rent. As there will be no staff in position till July the group requested that they use the salaries for April and half of May towards advertising and recruitment.
The group requested a rearrangement of their current funding – befriending travel money will be used for refreshments and social support funding for truth and justice. Despite a lack of savings on this budget the Committee was happy to approve the reprofiling and considered it a reasonable request.
Support was recommended for this application in which the number of training sessions has been reduced and money redistributed into 4 post-conference seminars.
It was noted that this was another application which had received an extension of Peace funding. Some ineligible costs were highlighted and disallowed.
This application included recalculations of National Insurance contributions and staff regarding. It was noted that there is a vacant post in Ballymoney and delay has been experienced in recruitment due to internal difficulties. It was also noted that an exception has been made for the funding of lift maintenance due to health and safety reasons.
There was some discussion about this application and the Committee were informed that the co-ordinator is leaving and will have their work covered by the Director – this post was not originally awarded by the committee. Some concern was raised over the volume of work that this would entail. It was also noted that the group are moving back towards psychotherapy rather than personal and professional development and concern was voiced as to whether the award was still relevant. It was decided to have further discussions with the group and the Officer was asked to provide the group with the following questions.
1. Is the director taking on the role and duties of the co-ordinator post to ensure delivery of the work plan of services as per your current Letter of Offer?
2. How will you deliver the activities awarded in your current SSF Letter of Offer?
It was noted that there was neither an under or an over spend on this application, simply a reallocation of funds.
It was noted that this group are not prepared to accept the SSF award and claim it is not viable. They feel that there has been for example an unreasonable budget awarded for travel in such a rural area. As this is not a request for reprofiling the group will have to lodge a formal review of their decision before Friday 10th June.
It was noted that this group has not yet lodged a formal reprofiling request but rather a review. The issue of difficulty experienced by this group and some others in securing a bank account without charges for original cheques was also raised and will be considered by the Committee. The group area also seeking funding for external supervision which would have to be an exception to the general rule. As this is not a request for reprofiling the group will have to lodge a formal review of their decision before Friday 10th June.
It was noted that the staff were under extreme pressure and heavy workloads. The need for a timely delivery of the committee papers was also emphasized to enable the members to consider the documents and reach decisions.
CAPACITY BUILDING PROJECT
A budget profile of befriending service work was presented and discussed with committee.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
No other business.
DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Victims & Survivors Committee is scheduled for 31st August and 1st September 2011. There may be an interim meeting in the future as other groups may apply for reprofiling.
Click here to download this document (KB )
© Copyright Community Relations Council 2013
Community Relations Council
6 Murray Street
Tel: 028 9022 7500