Southwark Council Agrees to New Voluntary Sector Strategy

Southwark Council Agrees to New Voluntary Sector Strategy
The VCS strategy will provide a great opportunity for cross-sector collaboration
By
Robert Jamieson

Community Southwark is excited to announce that the development of a new co-produced Voluntary Sector strategy has been approved by Southwark Council.

A report went to Cabinet last night detailing the council’s response to the Southwark and Lambeth Early Action Commission, which included a number of recommendations involving the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS).

The key recommendation that stands out instructs the council to work with the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the VCS to co-design a new tri-partite voluntary sector strategy to be approved by cabinet in October 2016.

The report also highlights the need for a thriving VCS that mobilises community action and makes best use of community resources, skills, knowledge and spaces.

The strategy will look to develop clear commissioning outcomes, improve communication pathways, and presents a great opportunity to redefine our relationship with our public sector partners. It will also provide a unique chance to better understand how the council and CCG operate.

Community Southwark has been undertaking ongoing work to highlight the true value of the work that Southwark’s VCS undertakes and the strategy will build on this. We know that many organisations are rooted in their local communities and, as a result, have an intimate knowledge of the beneficiaries that they help.

This also puts many charities in a unique place to help the most vulnerable and hard to reach.

Community Southwark recently submitted a response to the Institute for Public Policy Research’s (IPPR) report on how small and medium charities are adapting to change and challenges.

We were keen to stress the health and wellbeing benefits, as well as the savings, that a lot of preventative work brings. An example we provided focuses on a local sanctuary service for women experiencing domestic violence. The service helped 215 clients feel safer in their homes, saving and estimated £12,331 per domestic violence incident prevented once the cost of all services involved (including police and NHS) were added up.

More examples of this are available in the ‘Recognising the Value’ section of our website, which you can access here. 

The fact that the VCS will play a key role in co-producing the strategy will mean that the value of our work will hopefully be reflected, as commissioning priorities shift towards acknowledging and promoting the importance of preventative work.

We will be keeping you up to date on the strategy’s development over the coming weeks and months, including ways you can influence and shape it so that it best represents our borough’s thriving sector.

In other developments, the council have agreed to collaborate with Community Southwark on the ongoing work to develop the Southwark Giving scheme. This looks to create and strengthen relationships between local businesses and the community for the benefit of Southwark residents.

If you have any questions or comments please get in touch with Robert Jamieson, Policy Officer, at Robert@communitysouthwark.org.