Suffolk & North East Essex Integrated Care System

Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Leadership

The Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector is a key partner within our Integrated Care System (ICS) and plays a vital role in improving the health and care outcomes. Our charities, independent and social enterprises employ between 13,000 – 14,000 people and have a turnover of approximately £275 million. We work closely with our local population on a daily basis and are able to share invaluable insight to support the system to identify the assets, needs and aspirations of service users and carers. We have specialist expertise that is well placed to support those with complex and multiple needs within our communities and often focus on early action, preventative services and wider social value.

WHY we need to work together

We have specialist expertise that;

  • Is a conduit to the whole system to help gauge population and community need
  • Delivers social value tackling wider inequality
  • Provides preventative services freeing resources elsewhere
  • Focusses on early action as well as lasting effect
  • Is well placed to support those with complex and multiple needs

We believe we can all achieve greater outcomes for local people by working closely together with our ICS partners in health and care.

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HOW we plan to work together

We believe that all lives in Suffolk and North East Essex have equal value but not all of our population have access to the same opportunities. This inequality has a dramatic impact on their health outcomes and on the demand on our system.

Our goal is to improve the lives of people living in Suffolk and North East Essex by supporting the ICS and Alliances to utilise the strengths, flexibility, responsiveness and knowledge of the VCSE sector to achieve best outcomes for the population we serve.

We will;

Reframe conversations and encouraging the ICS and Alliances to maximise our knowledge and resources

Be direct and honest, challenging bureaucracy and negative behaviours to ensure change happens quickly and effectively.

Be relationship driven in our approach to establish strong partnerships

Be action and outcomes-driven in everything that we do
Organise ourselves to represent the VCSE at an ICS and Alliance level effectively

Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector Resilience

The VCSE sector has faced a range of challenges including Covid-19 which is impacting on the resilience of the sector however the VCSE sector has demonstrated the speed at which it can adapt and flex service delivery in a new environment and is showing energy and willingness to do what it can longer term to meet the needs of the local population by securing funding, mobilising resources and working as an equal and effective partner within the ICS to build system resilience.

The following four initial key areas for development are proposed based on discussion with local VCSE Leaders in Suffolk and North East Essex, and consideration of how similar issues are being addressed in other systems.

1. Equal partnership
Development of a culture, behaviours and processes in the VCSE sector consistent with whole system working recognising the VCSE sector both as an equal partner within the health and social care system and supporting equality across the diverse range of VCSE sector organisations.

2. Data sharing and digital integration
The commitment to share operational and intelligence data appropriately and effectively, within information governance protocols, across the sector and organisational boundaries.

Development of an approach to digital integration that is inclusive of VCSE organisations and seeks to enable the best use of digital tools across the system with a focus on enabling integrated working.

3. Sustainable resources model
Development of a model for resourcing that ensures VCSE services that support the system’s effectiveness are resourced in a sustainable, effective and efficient way. The direction of travel is commissioning of health and social care statutory providers to move towards more flexible, longer term contracts and grants that allow transformation and innovation to deliver improved outcomes and minimise bureaucracy. There are already local examples as a result of the pandemic of approaches to contract and performance monitoring, payment and measurement being appropriately relaxed to allow for a more fluid and creative approach to service delivery. The sector would also benefit from a more joined up, sustainable approach to both support and investment in the sector across NHS, Local Government and Community Funders.

4. A consistent approach to evidence and evaluation
Identification of a consistent set of evaluation and evidence tools recognised by both sectors, and used across organisations consistently to provide reduced reporting demands, support comparable results and enable stronger evidence led delivery.

The ICS Partnership Board is supportive of the proposed approach to taking forward the work related to the identified key areas for development.

“Charities are the eyes, ears and conscience of society. They mobilise, they provide, they inspire, they advocate and they unite. Charities play a fundamental role in our civic life. They are often in the front line of support for the most vulnerable and are therefore in the best place to assess their needs.”

‘Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society’, House of Lords
Select Committee on Charities, 2017

Last Updated on February 28, 2022

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