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Welcome to LVSC News - March 2016
Things are hotting up as far as the Mayoral Elections are concerned and the whole question of the EU referendum and Brexit has thrown another complication in.
It was no surprise that Boris, the outgoing Mayor, announced he was in the 'Leave' camp but many people were taken aback by Zac Goldsmith joining him. The City generally seems in favour of the 'Stay' option, as is Sadiq Khan. It will be interesting to see if this has any great effect on the result of the Mayoral competition.
LVSC has its own manifesto, The Big Ask, where it sets out our six key asks of the new Mayor - Matt Scott explains a bit more about it in under our London for All news along with some thinking on why our sector is barely being mentioned.
Lisa Greensill highlights the latest, and last, paper from the National Coalition for Independent Action, which asks the question of what the role of our sector should be. It is thought provoking particularly with the questions it asks about accountability - who are we accountable to? Is it to our funders, our users or the wider community?
Finally, London Funders has announced the date for the publication of its Review into Civil Society Support so save the date - the afternoon of 13 April 2016 at Guildhall. This report is being eagerly awaited by all parts of the sector and will be the first step in a process of making support for our sector sustainable.
LVSC celebrates its 106th birthday
LVSC began life as the Social Welfare Association for London in 1910, inaugurated at a meeting at Mansion House with the active support of both the Lord Mayor of London and the chairman of the London County Council.
The aim of the association was to "secure systematic co-operation between social, charitable and industrial undertakings throughout the metropolis, and the establishment of councils of social welfare in every metropolitan borough to give effect to these objects" - and our function remains much the same today, being the conduit between the voluntary and community sector in London and the other sectors.
The organisation has led to the formation of many household names including NCVO, the National Council for One Parent Families, Citizen Advice and began the process of ensuring every borough had a Council for Voluntary Service.
So, what was London like in 1910? With a population of 7,160,441 it was 1.5 million people smaller than present day London, labour exchanges had just been introduced and the year would see the last General Election when women could not vote. But photographs from the period also show children and families in abject poverty, high rates of infant mortality and a disregard for the rights of a human being to have somewhere safe to live and enough to eat. Read more
Policy Viewpoint - March 2016
Lisa Greensill, LVSC Head of Policy and Sector Support, shares her pick of VCS news this month.
The Anti-advocacy Clause
You would have had to be trying very hard to miss the news of the new anti-advocacy clause that the Government is bringing into all its funding agreements. The clause will say 'The following costs are not eligible expenditure: payments that support activity intended to influence parliament, government of political parties, or attempting to influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants, or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action'. There have been many blogs and articles written already, and a letter of protest sent to the Prime Minister.
A handy blog comes from NCVO, with a particularly pithy introduction: The Minister for Civil Society has written in Third Sector magazine, restating the purpose of the anti-advocacy clause from the government's point of view. In his article, the Minister asserts that the clause won't harm charities (based on DCLG's best guess), that it doesn't contradict the Compact (we disagree, obviously), and that he has no problem with charities speaking truth to power (as long as it's on government's terms). Read more.
What IS the role of our Sector?
National Coalition for Independent Action has finally closed, leaving behind them their legacy site at . Their final salvo was typically thought provoking, with Penny Waterhouse asking what IS the job of the voluntary sector - are we supposed to be delivering public services? Are we being led by the State, the market or by our beneficiaries and communities? Who are we actually accountable to? Do we feel able to whistle blow when we see wrongdoing or poor practice? Read more.
At the Heart of Health
Nesta has just published a report called 'At the heart of health: Realising the value of people and communities', which explores the value of people and communities in health issues, underpinning the vision in the NHS Five Year Forward View vision of the role of people and their communities in health. The key findings are not surprising - they demonstrate that person and community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing have significant potential to improve outcomes for individuals, support the development of strong and resilient communities and ultimately help reduce demand on formal health and social care services. Read more.
Building a new deal for London
The London Housing Commission has published its final report 'Building a new deal for London: The final report of the London Housing Commission'. Key recommendations include giving the Mayor and the Boroughs more power around planning, property taxes and borrowing in return for a joint commitment to deliver significantly higher numbers of new homes. Read more
Community Action Southwark published a report asking how both the voluntary and community sector and commissioners can work together to produce innovative solutions to the issues communities face, particularly at a time when resources are scarce for all parties. It points out that for innovation to happen and to be successful, the right environment has to be created, bringing together the right people, and focussing on the right kind of problems. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the national and local context, a review of current initiatives and the results of CAS's own research to make recommendations for how to move towards truly innovative policy-making in Southwark - and perhaps elsewhere? Read more
LVSC News and Updates
VCS Assist - Employment and Skills News
Update on the Work and Health Programme in London
Development work is underway on the Work and Health Programme, the successor to the Work Programme. In London, the programme is being co-commissioned with the councils. As the name suggests, the programme will have a much greater focus on people with health problems. Payment by results will still be a feature, while the size of the programme is likely to be dramatically reduced. Useful updates around the scale of the cut back in funding and a look the probable limits to innovation in delivery available from the Learning and Work Institute.
London Assembly, Hourglass Economy Report
The London Assembly's report shows the challenges facing London's economy resulting from the loss of mid skilled employment opportunities and slowing productivity gain. The proportion of jobs paying less than the London Living Wage has increased 54% since 2008, while 57% of Londoners in poverty now live in working families. The recommendations include continued promotion of the London Living Wage and greater transparency in job adverts.
Is London a Fair City?
The London Fairness Commission is examining three questions: What is fairness? Is London fair? Should we be trying to make London a fairer city? Through open space events, public debates and a call for ideas, the Commissioners have been leading the conversation about fairness with Londoners. Following the interim findings published in September 2015, the final report will launch on 15 March 2016. This will be an important opportunity for the voluntary sector to contribute to the debate on the future of our city.
New Models of Care: Working together for a Healthy London
Wednesday 23rd March, 10am - 4pm at the London Metropolitan University
The last few years have seen dramatic changes to the way health and social care services are structured and funded. The health needs of the population are changing and goring more complex but there and there are increasing scientific and technological opportunities to support patients and their carers.
The NHS's Five Year Forward View has a key focus on prevention and patient centred interventions but what are the opportunities for the VCS, policy makers and commissioners in terms of co-producing and commissioning new models of care interventions?
LVSC (through its constituent membership of Regional Voices) and London for All are holding a free all day conference to consider some of the challenges and opportunities for VCSE and Statutory bodies to work together to design and deliver services to improve the health of Londoners. More information and registration details.
London Vanguard Guide - updated
LVSC has updated the London Vanguard guide to include the 6 NHS England principles which could support the VCSE patient bodies and vanguards co-produce more effectively. It now also contains information and links from the BMA about integration and regional configuration, which gives an overview of what's happening in each region with a list and links to all national programmes.
Integrated Care Pioneers in London - an LVSC & London for All briefing
The briefing paper provides an overview of the integrated care pioneers in London. It includes links to a range of case studies and support available to enable shared learning, good practice and co-production across the sites and between the sectors.
Safer Future Communities
Key Events in February
Another busy four weeks in the land of CJS policy and practice. Hot on the heels of the Prime Minister's speech on prison reform, came the interim findings of the Taylor Review. LVSC, Clinks and NCVYS held an event for the London VCSE to feed back on these findings relating to Youth Justice and custody.
Later in February, the Supreme Court ruled that Joint Enterprise legislation had been wrongly applied for the last thirty years and on the same day, the Court of Appeal ruled that changes to legal aid for survivors of domestic abuse were invalid, following a campaign by SFC member, Rights of Women.
In the final week of February, MPs rejected the Lords' amendments to the Government's Welfare Reform and Work bill, meaning some recipients of ESA will no longer receive £102.15 but £73.10. Mencap have been instrumental in campaigning against this change #NoESAcut
LVSC to launch series of workshops for organisations involved in CJS
Ahead of the new Mayor and London Assembly coming in in May, LVSC is about to launch a series of workshops for those involved in the CJS in London. The full programme will be announced soon, but will included governance and strategy topics like a 'Funders Q&A', and 'Writing That Winning Bid'. There will also be workshops focussed on delivery based topics including best practice and working with people with no recourse to public funds.
Review of Education in Prisons by Dame Sally Coates
Dame Sally Coates provided MPs and Lords of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Penal Reform some key insights from her review of Education in Prisons, which is expected to be published by the end of the month. She emphasised the importance of the autonomy of prison governors in making prison education work, as well as introducing an education element to people's sentence plans.
White Paper on the Arts to be published to coincide with Coates Review
Last week the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice invited the DCMS Minister, Ed Vaizey MP to talk on the arts and criminal justice. There will be a white paper on the arts, including its use in health and rehabilitation settings, released to coincide with the Coates Review. Ed Vaizey said, "Michael [Gove] is very serious about rehabilitation. I don't see how he can deliver that without an emphasis on the arts, to bring people in who are on the margins." Following his speech, SFC members' Clean Break shared an excellent performance of their piece 'Spent'.
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; and deliver more accessible services to support service users better.
London's Voluntary Sector - from the margins to the mainstream: waiting for a new Mayor who 'gets' the sector
Anyone waiting for one of the candidates to make mention of the voluntary sector in the current 2016 mayoral election campaign will wait a long time.
There is mention occasionally of volunteers and local communities as an afterthought to the headline issues of housing, transport, the environment and crime. Yet surely strong communities, underpinned by the collective action of voluntary groups is the solution to so many social problems? Without voluntary and community groups doing what they do, London is radically impoverished, so why the radio silence? A number of reasons spring to mind including a calculation that the sector will carry on supporting people regardless.
The Greater London Authority has neither a strategy nor a team to work with the sector. This mirrors the absence of clear engagement by central government, whose minister for civil society claims to be agnostic about the sector, widely interpreted as 'not interested at all …' Read more from Matt Scott.
LVSC is pressing London's mayoral candidates to give clear commitments to their manifesto asks including a commitment to go beyond a narrow range of consultation to ensure GLA engagement covers the whole sector and that a new mayor reinvigorates equalities and commissioning practice by ensuring effective collaboration. On the basis of what we hear back, we will publicise a simple score sheet of where the candidates are in relation to VCS policy.
LVSC's six 'asks' for the new Mayor, to enable a thriving sector are:
On the 20th January 2016 LVSC held a day-long conference to kick start the New Year. We've seen the comprehensive spending review, while 2016 brings the London mayoral elections and further progression of the devolution programme. The conference provided the VCSE sector with a space to think about what these and other challenges mean for their organisations and the people they work with. Exploring the political, economic, social and technological challenges and opportunities facing our sector, we explored strategies to not just survive but thrive, to ensure the best outcomes for Londoners. Read the full write up of this fascinating day with commentary from the workshops, breakout sessions and panel discussion.
London for All - more opportunities
LVSC Events & Training
Date: 23 March, 10am -1pm
An event for Management Committee members, Trustees and all those who manage paid staff or are considering taking on paid staff.
Date: 23 March, 10am - 4pm
LVSC (through its constituent membership of Regional Voices) and London for All are holding a free all day conference to consider some of the challenges and opportunities for VCSE and Statutory bodies to work together to design and deliver services to improve the health of Londoners.
Date: 30 March, 10am -1pm
Free introductory workshop on Human Rights legislation. Delivered by the British Institute of Human Rights, this workshop will give you an introduction to our human rights law here in the UK (the Human Rights Act) and how it can be used as a practical tool for change by those working in VCSE organisations.
The Impact of Welfare Reform on Young People (voluntary-private sector partnership seminar)
Date: 31 March 12 - 2pm
Hosted by City law firm, Weil Gotshal and Manges, this event is the next in the LVSC's cross-sector partnerships series, run through the London for All programme. We are bringing together a mixed private and voluntary sector audience to hear a range of expert speakers talk about action required to support young people facing significant challenges in their lives.
LVSC Happy Training
Notices & Events
Date: 24 March, 10am - 5pm
At a time when it feels as if everything is being done to keep the sector quiet The Sheila McKechnie Foundation(SMK) is holding a one day campaigning workshop in London on 24 March. The workshop is well suited to individuals that are new to campaigning or who want to brush up their campaigning skills. It will provide an opportunity to find out how to develop a campaign strategy and plan and an overview of the key skills needed to run an effective campaign. It will also provide an opportunity to meet other campaigners in London and advice on how to influence political processes and decision-makers, as well as how to use both traditional and social media to obtain support for your campaign. An attendee on the 2015 workshop said "Really excellent day well worth attending and great value for money". Book a place on the workshop now .
Date: 17 March 10 - 12.30pm
This free event is one of a monthly series for the sector from Economic Exchange, a social enterprise supporting organisations that strive to make an impact by tackling economic, social or environmental causes.
Date: Tuesday 5 April, 9 am - 5pm
Do you want to find out more about what the UK Parliament can do for your organisation? Want to know more about how the UK Parliament works? This is a free one-day conference to find out more about how our services can support your organisation's work, help you engage effectively with the UK Parliament and diversify the voices and stories that are heard by MPs and members of the House of Lords. The conference is organised by the UK Parliament's Outreach and Engagement Service, which works with people and communities across the UK to increase public understanding of, and engagement with, the UK Parliament.
The Coalition of Race Equality Organisations (CORE) - researching young Londoners' views from BMER communities
CORE wants to make sure the views of young people (16-30) from London's minority ethnic communities are heard during the 2016 London Mayoral elections on May 5th. This is a short survey and all those who complete the survey will get the opportunity to win £100 in Amazon voucher. Please share through your networks.
Full time post working for Advance - a charity supporting women at high risk to cope and recover for experiences of domestic abuse.
User Voice focuses on Criminal Justice and associated services, including Children's, Social Mental Health, and Alcohol Services. Closing date 14th March.
The average donation value of all these gift cards languishing unspent is around £21 each card. To return this virtual money into cash for you charity visit the 'Give a Gift' website and sign up for free account in under a minute. Once it's ready you can start promoting the idea and your page to your supporters.
Freelance writer and activist Eve Livingston looks at the role of online petitions in campaigning arguing that it is not a case of slactivism, but a valuable tool in the the suite of social media resources (via Guardian Voluntary Sector Network).