Could a Contract and Investment Readiness Programme be a tool for the VCSE sector to thrive in the changing health and social care landscape?

Daria Kuznetsova, Strategy and Market Development Director, Big Society Capital

The Investment and Contract Readiness Fund was a programme set up in 2013 to enable promising charities and social enterprises compete for public service contracts and secure other forms of investment.  Organisations can get advice on business planning, modelling, bid writing or impact measurement. To date ICRF has spent £13.2m and supported 155 ventures, both small and large. Half the ventures supported by ICRF successfully secured at least one contract or investment as a result of the support they received with the total value of contracts and investment raised through the support being £233m. One example is FCMS which is a social enterprise providing urgent health and wellbeing services. Through the ICRF programme they received financial modelling and HR advice which was instrumental to securing a £9m bid.

So what is the relevance to the VCSE review tasked with exploring how the sector can build sustainability and capacity whilst maximising and demonstrating its impact? Continue reading

A new approach for VCSE infrastructure

John Gillespie and Gemma Cossins, Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service

We think that the infrastructure sector can be more confident about what we can do, and less defensive. In many ways we don’t know how good we are, and don’t always have confidence in our capacities. However this does not mean that we don’t recognise a need to change. Continue reading

The Voluntary Sector: adding a certain Spice

David Russell, Head of Policy, Spice

Most people in our communities do not spend time pondering public service reform and which organisation or service is funded from which source. They want healthy and happy lives for themselves and the people they care about. For us this is a key to how we plan and design our work and is central to the way we aim to work with public services and would like public services to work with us. Continue reading

The role of the VCSE sector in co-producing new models of health and care

Sandra van der Feen, Health Policy Officer, London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC)

In June this year, I produced an article following on from our Whole Systems Change: co producing new models of health and care event in April. The event highlighted how co-production could bring about more effective partnerships between the sectors and potentially more funding opportunities for the VCSE sector. One of the issues raised was about the lack of funding going to the VCSE sector when GPs prescribe a patient or carer to a VSCE social prescribing project. Continue reading

Feedback from the final VCSE Review event

Alex Fox, CEO Shared Lives Plus and Chair of the VCSE Review

At the final VCSE Review consultation event this week, we heard from national charities that are struggling to navigate an increasingly devolved health and care system. Despite being ‘national’, often these are small charities whose work is focused on particular health conditions or addressing health inequalities experienced by particular communities. Continue reading

Strategic approach to commissioning for prevention

Sian Lockwood, CEO Community Catalysts

I thought that the best way to illustrate the way in which imaginative commissioners are drawing upon the gifts and talents of local people to deliver preventative services for people with health needs is to tell the story of one inspirational community entrepreneur, John Baly. Continue reading

Need to invest for change and survival – State of the Third Sector in the North East

Jane Hartley, Chief Executive, VONNE

The latest findings

The latest report from the Northern Rock Foundation Third Sector Trends Study provides a digest of findings on the state of the third sector in the North East. It began as a longitudinal study in 2008 and has continued to review progress since then. Continue reading