This section explores the background to the development of a new Voluntary and Community Sector Strategy in Southwark. There are a number of key documents which have informed the strategy development which are listed at the end of the section.

The strategy started life as a response to the Southwark and Lambeth Early Action Commission which set out the argument for a greater investment in preventative services - with the voluntary and community sector central to this realignment. 

Southwark Council's cabinet agreed (October 2016) to establish a voluntary and community sector strategy with the following basic principles underpinning it:

  • A recognition of the significant financial challenges across the partners meaning that we must reduce duplication between services, commission efficiently and reduce demand on more intensive interventions such as hospital based services and care homes.  The approach is to invest in enabling people to remain healthy and independent in their own homes and communities.
  • The need to focus on outcomes for our residents and work that integrates services to improve the quality and experience for users.  The need to work together across the council (including Public Health), the CCG and the VCS on services that best support our residents and communities and provide services that offer all residents support appropriate to their needs in their local area so that Southwark is a fairer place where everyone is able to fulfil their potential and access the opportunities that living in Southwark presents.
  • The need to work with the VCS to provide innovative solutions and high quality services that improve outcomes for people affected by complex social issues such as, mental health, domestic violence, and long-term health conditions. We need the sector to develop its work with particular population groups such as young people and elderly residents.
  • The need for a thriving VCS that mobilises community action and makes best use of community resources, skills, knowledge and spaces and improves residents access to opportunities, services and buildings that meet their needs and ensure no-one is left behind, maximising our collective impact.
  • The need to work strategically across the partnership and wider community to build the capacity of the partners, promote volunteering and support fundraising.

Working group

A group has been formed to take forward this work. The group steers and contributes to the development of the strategy; the tripartite membership enabling a coordinated approach to the development of the report.

The group oversees the strands of the work feeding into the strategy, including:

  • Defining the scope of the VCS engagement plan
  • Overseeing and managing the engagement
  • Defining and testing key thematic areas with stakeholders
  • Seeking agreement on priorities for change
  • Making recommendations


The working group decided to take an iterative approach to developing the strategy in partnership with the voluntary and communtiy sector. The idea was to provide a programme of listening and learning designed to co-produce the strategy. In summary the programme was as follows:

  • Four sessions
  • First two – value, need for strategy, challenges
  • Next two – priorities and key lines of inquiry
  • Drafting strategy and sign off by various governing bodies.


  • Stephen Douglass, Director of Communities, LBS Housing & Community Services
  • Gordon McCullough, Chief Executive, Community Southwark
  • Jacky Bourke-White, Chief Executive, Age UK Lewisham & Southwark
  • Matthew Jackson, Head of Property, LBS Chief Executive’s Office
  • Dick Frak, Interim Director of Commissioning, LBS Children’s & Adults
  • Ali Young, Head of Pathway Commissioning, CCG
  • Stephen Gaskell, Head of Strategy & Partnerships, LBS Chief Executive’s Office
  • Simon Mitchell, Senior Commissioning Manager, LBS Children’s & Adults
  • Andy Matheson, Senior Commissioning Officer, LBS Housing & Community Services
  • Jin Lim, Assistant Director, LBS Public Health

Useful documents