In order to effectively manage the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP) the Lead Partner, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, will appoint three core CVLLP staff to be dedicated to the project.
The staff will consist of:
CVLLP Scheme Manager – full time
CVLLP Finance & Administrative Assistant – part time
CVLLP Practical Projects Officer – full time
Fit to existing strategies and objectives
N/A, these are effectively support roles put in place to ensure the CVLLP programme succeeds.
Comprehensive description of the project
CVLLP Scheme Manager – (SM)
This will be a senior administration post reporting to the CVLLP Partnership Board and the Lead Partner (Staffordshire Wildlife Trust) Chief Executive. In addition to project management, the appointed person will work with the CVLLP Practical Projects Officer to help to deliver high standardised quality of projects, including health and safety and welfare provision, so practical project leading skills will also be required.
CVLLP Finance & Administrative Assistant (FAA)
The FAA will be based at the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership’s base within the valley and will co-ordinate the administration, paperwork and reporting for the project. In addition to general office duties it is expected that the FAA will need to liaise closely with the Lead Partner (Staffordshire Wildlife Trust) Finance Team and may need to travel to SWT HQ at Wolseley (near Stafford) once a month.
CVLLP Practical Projects Officer (PPO)
The PPO, with the support of the Scheme Manager where required, will work across projects to help partners in delivering consistent and high quality practical outcomes. Although having a dedicated officer supporting all projects sounds a luxury this has been agreed within the Partnership Board and there have been some significant savings made as a result.
Where major projects, such as the Canal Access Improvement Project (CVLLP 15) had originally been submitted with a budget that included elements such as:
“Direct supervision – youth placement officer and BW supervision = £80,000”
We have worked with the partners to ensure that our Practical Project Officer provision will be an alternative solution. In the case of the canal access project the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Training Officer (CVLLP 13) will also be heavily involved and the Participation Officer (CVLLP 9) will have some activities here also. This is a real example of how the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership has come together to be more effective than individual projects.
Partners, such as the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust do not employ staff and, while their volunteers are skilled and committed they would not have the resources internally to engage suitable professional day-to-day oversight for CDM required projects such as Bridge 70 (CVLLP 7). Our Practical Projects Officer will offer that support, he/she may not posses all the necessary heritage skills, which can be supplied by specialist volunteers and management support by contractors, but he/she will be an experienced officer used to working with contractors and volunteers on complex outdoor practical projects.
There are a number of projects within CVLLP which have a significant overall benefit to priority areas such as Access and Interpretation and require only minor works, such as improving footpaths or putting up a way-marker or Quick Response (QR) barcode. In these cases there is no other identified competent person to work with volunteers to ensure that these tasks are done. It will be part of the Practical Projects officer to work across the Churnet Valley.
Management of project by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
This project is supported with its own Scheme Manager and Finance & Administration Assistant, however, there are still considerable management requirements being placed upon Staffordshire Wildlife Trust as Lead Partner and Financially Accountable Body. At a very conservative estimate we are including a management charge to CVLLP from SWT at the following rates:
Line Management of Scheme Manager by Wildlife Trust CEO, ½ day per months @ £350 per day = £525 per quarter with small annual increase.
Financial Management of FAA by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Finance Manager. 1 day per month @ £250 per day = £750 per quarter with a small annual increase.
Office / Workshop / Training Room Provision
Although there are only three members of the CVLLP Core Team to be hosted at the CVLLP Headquarters we have also agreed to host the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Grassland Officer (CVLLP 2), the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Youth Engagement Officer (CVLLP 13) and the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Training Officer (CVLLP 22) so there will be a total of six dedicated work stations required. In addition we will supply two workstations for hot-desking consultants, volunteers and other CVLLP operatives who might need to use the local office in order not to have to travel extensively while delivering projects for CVLLP.
In addition to office space the overall CVLLP programme will require facilities for;
- indoor training and storage space for trainees equipment;
- indoor workshop and storage space for youth and practical projects;
- secure parking for two minibuses.
This effectively equates to a small industrial unit and fenced yard. Whereas we will hope to identify accommodation that provides all of our needs in one place, we might need to lease two sites, hence separate budgets.
£20,000 is requested for general staff and similar contingencies as identified in the risk analysis section of various projects, if not used for staff retention and continuity then we will request HLF permission to add it to a staff retention training budget. A further £10,000 is identified as a contingency requirement for CVLLP 19, Coombes Valley Improvements, this is retained within the core budget as HLF will need to agree expenditure.
Outputs and outcomes
Well managed and successful Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership Projects.
The Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership identified the creation of Learning Barn as a significant element of the project pre-development phase. During development it became apparent that the cost of such a facility was higher than anticipated and it was argued that it would not offer value for money at this point. As a result CVLLP have agreed that it does not require a building of its own. Instead, CVLLP will lease suitable accommodation for Office, Workshop and Training needs where they cannot be supplied through the partnership (such as the offer of office space at Lafarge, or the use of the education facility at Coombes Valley). Where a lease is entered into and funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund it will be for the period of the project only.
What happens when CVLLP finishes?
The Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership is dedicated to the valley and to ensuring that the heritage of the valley continues to be protected and managed for the benefit of the community and visitors, hence we do not consider the Heritage Lottery Funded CVLLP programme as a terminal project and efforts will be made to find the necessary resources to carry the project, and the dedicated team, forward. However, in order to be fiscally competent the CVLLP Project Core Team will all be on time-limited contracts.
Risks and constraints
Risk: Key staff retention, technical skills and relationships with land managers need to be built up over time, staff recruitment and retention is therefore important.
Contingency planning: Project is over a reasonable timescale compared to many other projects, this should attract committed staff. Project figures allow for modest salary increases over the time period.
Risk: Long term staff absence, for example maternity leave or illness, could affect the success of the project because it has ambitious targets for the project timescale. Contingency planning: Contingency budget to pay for cover for staff if necessary.
Risk: Key staff leave to find new employment toward the end of the funded project resulting in skilled and competent cover needed over a short period which is hard to fill.
Contingency planning: Consideration of a golden handshake was made but considered insufficient. Staff will be encouraged to remain and efforts made to ensure continuity of employment post Heritage Lottery funding of CVLLP, if funding is available (un-spent from the contingency budget), specialist skills training in the final years may be offered to core staff to encourage retention.
Our Practical Projects Officer and Scheme Manager will maintain high levels of biosecurity within their work; they will also work with others to raise the awareness of biosecurity issues within the valley.
Reduce travel: The project HQ will be based in the project area to reduce travel to a minimum and meetings will all be held in the project area. Where possible site management equipment will be stored in the project area thus negating the need to bring it in from a distance. The HQ has not been confirmed yet but one target is to identify suitable premises along a well serviced bus route to facilitate staff and volunteers and particularly young people taking part in youth engagement projects and the accredited training programme.
Efficient travel: Vehicles provided for the project staff will be low carbon emissions vehicles; there will be a CVLLP dedicated mini-bus available within the overall project which will be used to reduce private car use. We will endeavour to run events and activities close to population centres or along cycleways so that young people can attend without using family cars.
Discipline: Project Staff will be expected to comply with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Environmental Policy.
Overall ethos: Our work throughout the valley will be heritage orientated, but throughout there will be a strong element of sustainability and the core team will support the community to include environmental issues in the projects they carry out.