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Welcome to LVSC News - July 2015
It's heartening so hear some of the debates we've been having lately on the future of local infrastructure and the acknowledgement of the importance of infrastructure in supporting voluntary and community action. For example, at a recent Core Cities meeting (LVSC represents London on this national voluntary sector network) we had the opportunity to talk to Dawn Austwick, CEO Big Lottery Fund and share with her our views on local infrastructure and the challenges we are facing in the voluntary sector.
I was struck not only by the commonalities across the regions on certain issues, but by the responses of colleagues in dealing with the matters and the solutions that we (individually and collectively) come up with to address what might become long term challenges.
Building meaningful cross-sector partnerships is one of those solutions. And of course it's not just about the funding, (although it very often is!), it's becoming more about the relationships we have traditionally held with our statutory partners and the eroding of these as local authorities regroup and we try and find new contacts.
It is a time of change and uncertainty for sure, but it is also the time to demonstrate our uniqueness, our flexibility and our unerring ability to adapt to a new landscape.
Policy Viewpoint - July
Lisa Greensill LVSC Head of Policy and Sector Support's shares her pick of VCS news this month.
In the first Conservative Budget since 1996 Chancellor George
Osborne is expected to set out how he is going to achieve the bulk
of the £12bn in welfare cuts promised in the Tory election
manifesto. Measures are expected to include a reduction in
the benefits cap to £23,000 in London; a removal of subsidies for
social housing for families earning over £40,000 a year in London;
and perhaps most damagingly the removal of tax credits for the
lowest paid workers. The Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie and others
from the opposition are urging Mr Osborne to provide incentives for
employers to pay the London Living Wage of £9.15 an hour, a
campaign that LVSC supports, to counteract the effect changing tax
credits will have on the lowest paid workers but this would
represent a significant U-turn for the Chancellor.
NAVCA's latest survey, which was carried out before the General Election, shows a record level of pessimism about the financial prospects for local charities and community groups, with 95% of respondents feeling that the finances of local organisations would get worse over the coming year. The survey also shows that NAVCA members are concerned about their own financial prospects with 68% of respondents saying they expect their own financial situation will get worse - no-one from the panel of members said that they thought their own financial position would improve in the next 12 months.
However, the survey also shows that NAVCA members remain relatively optimistic about their own prospects with 45% of respondents increasing the services they offer. Interestingly, despite local authority cuts, recent surveys suggest that relationships between local authorities and NAVCA members may be improving overall. Additionally, 50 per cent of respondents said that local health bodies will have a positive impact on their success. Increased workload remains a major concern for members as they strive to support local groups.
NCVO have also published the latest edition of their annual publication the UK Civil Society Almanac. This shows that charity sector income and expenditure has largely stayed the same in 2012/13, a continuation of the recent trend in the charity sector economy, which has plateaued at a level slightly below the peak it reached in 2007/8 after several years of rapid growth. The sector ís total income fell by 0.2% to £40.5bn, while total expenditure rose by 0.1% to £39.3bn. Additional information available from NCVO includes
So, in the face of stagnant income and with fundraising becoming ever more difficult pressure continues to grow on charities to enter the market and be commissioned by the public sector to deliver services. A recent report by the National Audit Office contains a useful reminder for commissioners and prime contractors of the issues the voluntary and community sector face when being commissioned, issues that the sector has been trying to highlight for many years.
In Outcome-based payment schemes: government's use of payment by results, the NAO emphasises that charities intent to have a lower appetite for risk and lower working capital than larger private sector providers and that they can find it harder to sustain themselves financially in the period between intervention and payment. It also points out that commissioners need to understand how the providers, with whom they have a direct relationship, work with subcontractors further down the supply chain as these are often the relationships with the VCS that put the sector at a disadvantage.
LVSC News and Updates
LVSC recruiting for a Policy & Project Manager
Policy and Project Manager - Sector Support Ref. SS/02/15
Part-time, 28 hours per week, initially until 31 March 2017
dependant on funding
LVSC's vision is of a vibrant and sustainable city where lives of Londoners are enhanced through voluntary and community action.
We are seeking an experienced Policy and Project Manager to take forward our work supporting the voluntary and community sector in London, primarily through the London for All capacity building project funded by London Councils. Main duties include supporting and managing networks, devising project delivery, monitoring and project management and working with stakeholders to develop policy and research. Experience of partnership working is essential.
Closing date: Thursday 6 August 2015 Interviews: Wednesday 19 August 2015
To request an application pack please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
LVSC encourages applications from people of all backgrounds and would specifically welcome applications from people with protected characteristics, which are age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, race, religion and belief, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.
More information on LVSC's website
Update on the European Social Fund in London
ESF is a European fund which supports people into sustainable and quality employment. The majority of ESF is spent through "opt-in" organisations who provide match funding and run the commissioning and procurement. You can find the presentations from the recent market warming events here. The status of the ESF opt-in programmes is set out below:
Big Lottery Fund
The BLF programme, Building Better Opportunities, will focus on unemployed adults furthest away from the workplace. Projects for BAME women, carers and ILM health and disability are currently open; the deadline for 3 August. Projects for lone parents, common mental health issues, refugees and complex needs are expected to launch in October. You can find the project outlines on the Building Better Opportunities website Presentations from our BLF roadshows, along with other useful materials, are also available on the VCS Assist website
Skills Funding Agency
The SFA programme will focus on youth and adult skills. The SFA register for providers closed on 3 July, but you only need to be on it if you are intending to bid as a lead partner or a sub-contractors with an aggregated contract value of £100,000. It is hoped that the SFA will launch in July or August.
Department of Work and Pensions
The DWP programme will focus on unemployed adults. We do not yet have a date for launch but hope that it is this summer. We recommend that you register on Contracts Finder to get an alert as soon as the projects are launched.
Resources, events and training for organisations interested in ESF
LVSC is providing a number of resources for organisations intending to bid for ESF:
We have an Expression of Interest form, which allows organisations who are interested in accessing ESF to enter their details which are then published for potential partners to view. We currently have around 120 organisations on our form and update it on a regular basis.
If you are conducting your own partnership building work (e.g. are a lead looking for partners, have an Expression of Interest form or are holding an open meeting for potential partners) email Nehal@lvsc.org.uk : we are advertising partnership opportunities on our VCS Assist website. Likewise, if you want to know who is leading for which projects, keep checking this page as we will update it regularly.
Carrying on with our training to prepare the sector for ESF, we have a session on Pricing Your Services on 14 July. We are also planning a number of training sessions / partnership building sessions for over the summer, so please keep an eye on the LVSC events and training page for more details as these are confirmed.
Is the NHS Standard Contract a barrier to commissioning VCSE organisations?
We have been told that VCSE organisations find the NHS Standard Contract a barrier to having their services commissioned by the NHS. Consequently NHS chief, Simon Stevens, committed to exploring a shorter version of the NHS Standard Contract for low-value contracts, in the NHS Five Year Forward View.
Regional Voices, working with NHS England, is carrying out this survey to help understand specific issues which organisations have experienced in using the NHS Standard Contract. We expect the survey to take no more than 15 minutes. Follow this link to give your view on the NHS Standard Contract for VCSE organisations
More information about VCSE commissioning issues in health and wellbeing and the background to this work on the Standard Contract
NHS England will undertake its annual, wider, consultation in preparation for the 2016/17 Contract later this year, which VCSE organisations will also be invited to participate in.
If you have any queries about this survey, or would like any support filling it in, contact Emma Baylin or Yoshiko Stokoe on 0113 394 2300 or email email@example.com
Whole Systems Change: co-producing new models of health and care.
LVSC recently held a Whole Systems Change: co-producing new models of health and care event. Following the conference report, LVSC's Health Policy Officer, Sandra van der Feen produced an article /think piece, describing the lack of funding as one key issue emerging from the event for the voluntary, community & social enterprise sector (VCSE).
The article makes the case for a sustainable and transparent funding/commissioning strategy for the new models of care to work well and the need for the statutory sector including commissioners to invest to save. It also suggests a number of ways how this issue can be addressed and describes some of the actions LVSC will take.
The article is aimed at our Regional Voices partners as well the wider voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, locally, regionally and nationally. It will also be shared with our statutory sector colleagues, including NHS England, the vanguards, Commissioning Support Units, Academic Health Science Networks and other organisations and partnership bodies.
If you have any comments please contact Sandra van der Feen at Sandra@lvsc.org.uk
Free advice service for employers, employees and GPs
Fit for Work is a new Government-funded service providing free advice for employers, employees and GPs on matters relating to health and work. The Fit for Work service provides access to a website containing health and work information, including online chat, and a telephone advice service available to employers, employees and GPs. The website and telephone helpline are now up and running.
The second element of the service is a referral scheme under which employers can refer qualifying employees on a period of sickness absence lasting four weeks or more for a free, confidential occupational health assessment and obtain a return to work plan. The referral scheme is being rolled out over the next few months and will reach London in the autumn.
Since 1 January 2015, a tax exemption on employer-funded payments up to £500 per employee per year has been available for medical treatments recommended by the Fit for Work service, or occupational health services provided or arranged by the employer.
London For All
London for All is a London Councils' funded project designed to build the capacity of London's voluntary and community sector. As a partnership project, led by LVSC, it offers: insight and learning from a collective 200 years' experience: and the practical applications of that knowledge. London for All can strengthen your organisation's knowledge and skills, work more effectively and efficiently, deliver more accessible services to support service users better.
Equalities and human rights information and resources
Human Rights Alliance
Guidance for the voluntary sector on the Equality Act, the PSED and Due Regard
HEAR looking to recruit a Policy and Campaigns Officer
HEAR, London ís network of equality and human rights organisations and one of the London for All partners has secured Trust for London funding to recruit a part-time Policy and Campaigns Officer. Deadline is Wednesday 22nd July at 17:00. Apply for the post.
London for All opportunities
LVSC Events & Training
Date: 14th July 2015, 9.30-13.00pm
This workshop will take you through a process to work out what it costs to to deliver to one person using full cost recovery principles.
Date: 20th July 2015, 9.30-13.00pm
This half-day workshop aims to provide participants with an overview of the purposes of developing and using cashflow analysis, the key stages in drafting a cashflow statement, and the basic interpretation of an organisation's or activity cash flow report.
Date: 29th July 2015 10.00am -13.00pm
The aim of the course is to raise the awareness of potential and new employers about employment legislation and good practice in the workplace.
Date: 7th October, 10.00am -13.00pm
This workshop will be an interactive session that aims to increase your understanding of identities and language used in Trans communities, to increase your confidence when supporting Trans people and create awareness of Trans people's experiences.
Date: 14th October, 10.00am - 16.30pm
Our course aims to help you understand the new context in which businesses operate, where increased levels of scrutiny and desire to become engaged with the communities in which they operate mean that the days of businesses simply handing over cheques to charities are over, with businesses now seeking relationships of greater depth with direct involvement.
Date: 4th November, 10.00am -13.00pm
Whatever your type of service or beneficiary group you will at some point find that trans people are included amongst those who need your service or support. As well as a broader awareness of trans issues, it is important to be aware of the relevant equalities legislation.
Date: 2nd December, 10.00am - 16.30pm
Do you want to build meaningful partnerships with the private sector? This is an exclusive opportunity to improve your confidence in developing strategic partnerships with businesses. During the session, you will develop and road test your partnership proposition with the support of experts and business representatives.
LVSC Happy Training
Managing Time Work and Priorities 13th July From £95
Effective Presentation Skills 15 & 17 July From £190
Assertiveness Mixed Gender 17th July From £95
Introduction to Health and Safety 20th July From £95
Training the Non Trainer 21 & 22 July From £190
Dealing with Difficult People 31st July From £95
How to Book: To book any of these courses, please click on the name of the course and this will direct you to the booking page. Or you can call us on 020 7375 7300 and we will be able to book you over the phone.
Notices & Events
User Voice is looking for a dynamic person, committed to its values, to further this growth through expanding its research, impact and evaluation.
Whether you are challenging local authority social care changes or protesting about climate change - if you want information and advice to help you be more effective, then attend this campaign workshop delivered by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation.
The workshop provides the opportunity to find out how to develop a campaign strategy and identify the key skills needed to run an effective campaign, as well as the chance to meet other campaigners, develop your professional network and receive peer support.
The Foundation is a registered charity supporting campaigners to make an impact; equipping them to bring about change at a local or national level.
The IARS International Institute is excited to announce a staff vacancy for Projects Coordinator (Justice).
Date: Tuesday, 19th January 2016
Delegates at this seminar will consider priorities for policy on dementia care, and next steps for service delivery. It takes place in the context of new models of care outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View aimed at improving integrated care for patients, as well as developments in research and training NHS staff in handling dementia. Concessions available for VCS.
Date: Tuesday 21st July