STSD - Somerset Trust for Sustainable Development STSD - Somerset Trust for Sustainable Development d

The Somerset Trust for Sustainable Development

The Somerset Trust for Sustainable Development provides a key long term route for introducing and encouraging sustainable construction in all sectors

The Trust has two key activities:

  • Information and education
  • Environmental improvement through not-for-profit sustainable construction projects
Factors behind the importance of the Trust:
  • A clear local source of advice that can work with all sectors - SSDC & SCC, individuals and community groups, Housing Associations, developers, architects, self-builders, etc
  • A clearly defined local organisations for networking with key national organisations
  • A flexible and dynamic organisation that can act as an independent developer, as well as being able to work in partnership with other developers, including HAs
  • A dynamic community based organisation that will be attractive to external funding sources

Through the commitment of the Councils to the community based approach and environmental principles that the Trust embodies, two full-time jobs have been created, with an initial office established. A work programme and funding proposal has already been put together by the Project Manager and the consultant, in consultation with senior officers at District and County. This identifies a variety of well targeted potential projects and is seeking external funding up to a total of £318,000 over three years

  • The establishment of the Trust within a year of the 1999 Conference demonstrates a significant commitment by both District and County councils, and is to be applauded. It demonstrates that political and officer will, combined with appropriate local partners, can lead to significant local innovations
  • With 2 full-time jobs created, with staff now in post the next 6 months will indicate the level to which the Trust will be able to match (or possibly exceed) the high expectations of many involved and observing the project
  • The existence of the Trust is a vital element of the overall strategy and it creates an additional local choice in routes to development, creating an ethically driven organisation, with social and environmental objectives, that can operate both independently and in partnership with all the key players in the housing and construction sector, local government, social housing and the community sector
  • The two core activities of the Trust - education and undertaking exemplar development schemes - are essential within the overall project and totally complimentary areas of work
Recommended Targets for 2001:
  • Securing appropriate Service Level Agreements with both SSDC and SCC
  • Securing at least £50,000 external funding on top of appropriate contract based Council funding, for a variety of appropriate education / training and development projects
  • Completion of at least 2 exemplar projects during 2001
  • Initiation or securing of at least an additional 3 STSD led exemplar projects during 2001
  • STSD as partners or advisers on at least 4 exemplar schemes during 2001
Recommendations to SSPC re Future Working Arrangements with STSD
  • For the 2001/2002 year and beyond it is recommended that the Trust should negotiate a Service Level Agreement with SSDC and SCC that identifies specific work areas and outputs to be achieved by the Trust for the Council(s). Partnership Committee should consider whether it would recommend this being done:
    • Independently with the two Councils or
    • Jointly via SSPC.
    The benefit of the latter would be that this would be likely to lead to a more strategically coherent work programme.
  • The Service Level Agreement should be negotiated initially for one year only, because the Trust is a new organisation and is expected to expand its staff and work programme. For 2002 and beyond, by which time the Trust will be well established, it will be more appropriate to consider a Service Level Agreement that covers a 2 or 3 year period (recognising that year-by-year contracts do not help to create a sense of security).
  • Negotiations on the initial Service Level Agreement(s) should start probably in Autumn once the Trust has commenced its 2000/2001 work programme so that the Councils and the Trust have time to assess most suitable areas of joint working etc.
  • Alongside negotiations of a Service Level Agreement the STSD should seek agreement in principle to 3 year funding from the Councils via SSPC as this will demonstrate clear financial commitment that would be essential for levering in external funding for the Trust’s project based awareness raising, educational and training work. The final year of the 3 year funding should include no grant funding and should be clearly allocated against tasks and outputs in a future Service Level Agreement because the Trust has the intention of being economically self-reliant by the end of its third year of operations



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