Bev Taylor, Volunteering Development Manager, Public Participation Team, NHS England
I can’t help thinking that it would be great to develop the Strategic Partner Programme in new ways and harness the considerable resources of strategic partners to directly support the VCSE sector with the considerable challenges that the health and care system presents.
A chance to review and act
NAVCA already does an annual survey which throws up some interesting intelligence about the difficulties which VCSE projects face in understanding the health and care system. Wouldn’t it be great if strategic partners could develop a support offer around this intelligence, which might include regular bi-monthly briefings on issues such as Integrated Personal Commissioning or understanding the Vanguards or using your local intelligence to influence public health? This would need to be planned well in advance, worked on jointly with an editorial team to manage quality, but could provide some very useful guidance for struggling VCSE projects trying to make sense of health and care changes. We’ve talked about these ideas before, but now is a great chance to review and act!
Wouldn’t it also be great if strategic partner support for the sector could also be extended to providing regional learning events or webinars to match the briefings, providing greater support, particularly for smaller VCSE projects, who can’t afford to come to London. I’m not suggesting anything big or expensive. Strategic partners could use local VCSE venues, act as facilitators, offer trainers and give VCSE projects the opportunity to network and develop their skills around tricky health and care issues. This would help to skill up local VCSE leaders as well as provide strategic partners with the chance to connect with the sector and develop their own facilitation skills.