Notes from Rural Parliament meeting - 25th October 2016

Pip had attended.

Notes will appear on the RP website (http://www.scottishruralparliament.org.uk/) Main issues to note: we need to set up a meeting with Amanda plus ideally a B4RN rep to hear about developments there).

There is about to be another auction of a chunk of the mobile spectrum.   The RP would be proposing that Ofcom are required to deliver to specific percentages of properties and geographic areas, and  to work from remotest properties inwards, rather than the more usual settlements outwards. 5G did not look promising as a replacement for broadband.

 

UPDATE Clare has tried to set up a meeting with Amanda, no luck so far.

 

Suppliers Day

Clare had attended the CBS suppliers day. A brief note would be circulated to the wider group along with the presentations given on the day.  A number of points of interest had emerged, including a certain restiveness among suppliers about the length and complexity of the bidding process. However as we are a large project, this is of less concern to us, though small projects might struggle to attract bidders. A presentation by a consultant working for the Scottish  Government suggests that the CBS route may be the only one for us as it does not appear that R100 will include remote rural communities. A number of projects appeared to have received funding from their local authority. This may be because the authority has held back a portion of the central  funding provided rather than giving it all to BT. It may be possible to use Leader funding for a project manager.

 

UPDATE Clare has circulated relevant documents

 

Funding

Urgent as nothing in place at present

Appeal to groups in project for very basic funds .  If nothing found,  then try all community councils in the intervention area. SUP can act as banker and manage funds

UPDATE Clare has drafted appeal note – waiting for list of relevant community councils – now  ready to go

 

Try Leader funding for project manager and any other  aspects of project.   CJH and PT to meet Simon Lynch of  Leader team at SBC to discuss,taking project documents along (plus person spec and job spec for project manager actioned elsewhere

 

UPDATE Callum has prepared a budget and project manager job/person  spec. A very positive meeting  with Simon Lynch has taken place. We are going to go for Leader funding  which will give us 60% of funding for those parts of the budget eligible which we estimate will yield about £50k. Simon also provided a list of other possible sources to bid for the required matched funding. Initial application lodged, full application to be in by 30/11 funding would be granted by 24/1/17. We need a constitution to bid into Leader too.We can run the project manager recruitment subject to funding so that we can use it as soon as approved.

 

NEW ACTION Clare (and anyone who can help) to search through info provided by Simon and bid to possible funds

 

 

Pip agreed SUP could remain as the ‘parent’ body for the project. As SUP is a charity, this means we can apply for windfarm seed funding for the project. (which could be used as matched funding for other bids??). Callum had prepared an outline budget to use in discussions with funders.  Clare to find out who is gatekeeper for the larger windfarm fund and to email any further info available about it to Pip and

 Callum

 

UPDATE action done.  Formal letter drafted for 3 windfarm CCs

NEW ACTION  Issue letter

 

 

Other funding sources. Contact Jean Robertson at SBC re other possible sources of funding

 

UPDATE – done - Jean has left and replacement Clare Richards does not start until 24/10. Clare has contacted replacement to try to get an early meeting. Simon has also provided a  contact at the the Social Enterprise Chamber at St Boswells. Clare to set up meeting. A query on Basecamp about other projects’  funding did not yield any useful results.

 

NEW ACTION Set up meetings and follow through on funding bids – Clare (+??) Meeting dates set.

 

 

 

Communications

 

We must get this right with SBC as SAPC now underway  – CJH to contact Councillor Stuart Bell initially for advice. Depending on what he says, circulate briefing to other councillors

 

NOTE : CBS  have confirmed, contrary to our previous understanding ,  that there is no need at this juncture to publicise the project other than by contacting the two new postcodes in the intervention area (around Langholm) . However we do feel it is necessary to go out to community councils in the intervention area to update them and perhaps to issue a press release to local media

 

UPDATE Callum has contacted Cllr Bell, who was very supportive and agreed with other people as the government’s approach to this is very uncertain we must keep going.  He suggested a meeting be set up with Doug Scott, Bryan McGrath and Rob Dickson (all of SBC). These people have been contacted and we are waiting for a date. A briefing for other SBC councillors has been prepared and sent to Cllr Bell for comment.

 

A website will be needed very soon, CJH is anxious that project has professional branding so delay until ready for this

 

Communications within the project and with stakeholders – we need somebody ideally with this experience – we also need people with a range of skills, so defer this to 2nd press release when we have such a list

 

UPDATE in the meantime we need to feed back to the project group and inform community councils and the general public. This will be done by this update to the group, a letter to community councils in the project area and a press release for the public. All these are ready to go.

 

Project visits

Discussed as potentially a long lead time and agreed we need to do these, eg Argyll and Bute, but wait until project board in place. There is funding available to do this. Research the possibilities and check re funding  (as  slight risk that funding goes before we get round to it so maybe apply for some???)

 

UPDATE Clare’s found the website – we have to be properly constituted before we can access this but that is the case for Leader too so we are working on it - up to £750 for a visit, still seem to have some funds.

http://crns.org.uk/community-learning-exchange-funding/

 

 

Suppliers

According to CBS on the supplier day, we are free to talk to suppliers before formal procurement starts. CJH indicated caution required as CBS experience in competitive dialogue may be limited, and there are pitfalls to be avoided. CJH to ask CBS about their experiences re this, and speak to a professional contact with

expertise in this area

UPDATE CJH still to do 5/11/16

 

CEMH said the project needed to find out who was active in terms of suppliers.  CJH said that it may be fine to contact suppliers but see above, and that a supplier day might have to be held for all interested suppliers to avoid accusations of unfairness. Agreed to see who other projects had been using via Basecamp

UPDATE Not much feedback from Basecamp so far – perhaps need to go to projects directly - CEMH to inquire 5/11/16

 

Pip felt that involvement of local communities in actually delivering the project would be useful.  This was felt to be practical for some tasks, but not all,  and could be written into requirements as a menu option especially if costs high (eg trenching for ducts).

 

 

Project Structure

Outline documents had been prepared and circulated, including a revised version to take account of helpful feedback from David Pollard. The only people volunteering so far were David Pollard, Peter Lawton and Vicky Davidson.

 

The key person needed is a project manager. It is acceptable to advertise before funding is in place making it clear that offer of post is subject to  funding.  Recruitment timescale from issue of ad to appointment is about 6-8weeks.

 

Callum to devise person and job spec ready for meeting with Leader people next week. We need about 3 days per week for 6-12 months at notional cost of £250 per day. It is important that this person is technically capable, while also  being equipped to work with suppliers, communities and volunteers. SUP would act as employer and recruiter (how does this tie up with formation of CIC – do they then transfer??)

UPDATE This has been done and the daily rate has been increased at Pip’s advice.  We can advertise for this any time as subject  to funding (Leader) being received.

 

Research who is managing Argyll project, what can we learn from them? Where did they look for their project manager. Get hold of Bob Murison’s job spec

 

UPDATE We have a number of project manager job specs which have been used to help develop our own

 

Mention project manager in press release,  i.e. work in hand for recruitment, seeking a project manager.

 

NB if Leader timescales not going to work for project manager, go back to SBC and try there maybe via B McGrath

UPDATE on hold awaiting meeting above, going to try other sources as well as SBC

 

New! Contact D+G council  as there are some 340 properties in there

UPDATE Done, planning to copy our documents to them for D+G to use.

 

As there are so few volunteers, it was proposed to try to form a project board by inviting members of the project group  in the first instance, before taking the search further if those people felt they could not commit.

UPDATE A few emails have been tried but no response so far. It appears that though people back the management structure in principle, there may be a few qualms about implementing it in practice. We need to revisit this with the group.

 

NB It has become apparent that major funders will require the formal structure we plan and if we do not manage to get this in place, the project will fail.

 

 

GIS

CJH was thanked for the work done so far on GIS, which was already helpful. CEMH had applied for membership for the community council  to the Ordnance Survey OSMA scheme which if successful would give the project access to OS maps and property data so that individual premises in the intervention area could be pinpointed, essential to accurately scope the project and build contact lists. When the company is formed it may have to re-apply for this data.

 

UPDATE we now have access to all the required data and we can view properties within the project area. It is throwing up some interesting queries which have been raised with CBS. More to follow when we hear back

 

SAPC

Revamp the press release provided by CBS and circulate to group for comment .And  Doug Scott and Brian Mcgrath ?. This has to be in Southern etc next week.

 

UPDATE as mentioned earlier, according to CBS this is not critical. However we think it is useful anyway for various reasons and have a release ready to go – just checking with people.

 

Issue the documents provided by CBS to the project group

 

UPDATE Done

 

Investigate the two additional postcodes identified by CBS and make contact if possible. Try CBS for a contact?

 

UPDATE The postcodes appear to be on the outskirts of Langholm. Will try to contact the community council