Support to VCS on Health and Wellbeing Boards March 2015

March 2015 Supporting VCS and Healthwatch reps on Health & Wellbeing Boards

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to the 19th ebulletin for people working to represent the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and Healthwatch on health and wellbeing boards from Regional Voices of which LVSC is a constituent member. When relevant, information specific to London and LVSC (and London for All) is included in this monthly ebulletin.

This bulletin comprises:

LVSC news:

  • At your fingertips: datasets and indicators training by Public Health England - using data to support your JSNA and commissioning 27th March - PHE data presentation

London news:

  • Greater London Authority publishes "Better Health for London: Next Steps"
  • London Health & Wellbeing Boards (HWB) Conference - Conquering the Twin Peaks - 12th March presentations
  • Fairer engagement - Redbridge Fairness Commission

Regional Voices /national news:

  • Practical guides to engagement
  • HWB/VCS engagement survey- findings published
  • What challenges are facing reps- and how to overcome them
  • Review of Health and Wellbeing Boards in the North East
  • Care Act Briefing
  • Question to ask on boards: how are we working to improve the health of Gypsy Traveller communities?
  • Webinar: Due North- a VCSE perspective - listen again
  • Supporting influence on social media
  • About this project

Please forward this email to anyone you think might benefit from this ebulletin. If you know of anyone who may wish to subscribe, please inform Sandra van der Feen:

Warm wishes


Sandra van der Feen, Policy Officer, LVSC



At your fingertips: datasets and indicators training presentation from Public Health England

Public Health England has developed a number of tools which display suites of indicators for different aspects of health and wellbeing using software called fingertips. These profiles are a rich source of indicators across a range of health and wellbeing themes and have been designed to support JSNA and commissioning to improve health and wellbeing, and reduce inequalities.

A well-received hands-on training session took place on 27th March. Thanks for everyone who participated. I have yet to see if there were further questions and issues in the feedback forms to be raised within LVSC or Public Health England but I will address this in the next few weeks.

The objectives of the training were:

  • To develop an understanding of the broad range of indicators and datasets available within the fingertips tools.
  • To be able to use the tools to understand how local authorities compare with others and what has happened over time.
  • To be able to export the dataset behind the tools and use locally.

Graeme Walsh, Public Health England presentation

Please contact Sandra van der Feen, LVSC for more

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London news

Greater London Authority publishes "Better Health for London: Next Steps"

The Mayor of London, NHS England, Public Health England, London Councils and the 32 GP-led clinical commissioning groups have come together to outline how, individually and collaboratively, they will work towards London becoming the world's healthiest major city.

The aim is to work together at all levels to make the best use of resources and build on best practice to improve the health and well-being of all Londoners wherever they live in the capital, and this represents public health in action.

The report could be a useful tool for VCS reps on the HWBs. For example, the GLA aims to see 10 basis point improvements in polling data on how organisations that deliver health or health-related services engage Londoners in service design. By actions locally:

  • Local authorities consulting local citizens on the design of policies that directly or indirectly impact health.
  • Local NHS organisations ensuring patient representation on local transformation groups so that the citizen voice informs transformation efforts.
  • Proactively engaging local populations in conversations about productivity, health spending and supporting citizens to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
  • Local authorities, CCGs, NHS England London and Health and Wellbeing Boards considering how to broaden engagement in discussions about planning and service design, so that diverse London groups can get their voices heard.
  • CCGs tailoring offerings on the MyHealthLondon website to the needs of the local population.
  • Co-developing relevant health and health service outcome measures that matter to local populations.

More information is available on the GLA website (including the link to the full report)

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London Health & Wellbeing Boards (HWB) Conference - Conquering the Twin Peaks - 12th March presentations

This event by London Councils took place on 12th March. The conference featured the presentation of findings from a recent study commissioned by London Councils into London HWBs direction of travel, future potential and ambitions with responses from senior London stakeholders across health and local government. The presentations, breakout sessions and further information can be found on the London Council's website

The PowerPoint slides provide some insight into the HWB members perspectives. It also recognises the importance of the NHS Five year Forward View:

"The NHS Five Year View presents a major opportunity for boroughs and their partners to play the lead role in transforming the health and care system. This will require collaborative local leadership of the highest quality. HWBs provide a vehicle for exercising that leadership, but they are not doing so yet."

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Fairer engagement

Redbridge has launched a Fairness Commission. You might be interested in what the Commission is trying to achieve- a public debate about how the Council should deal with poverty and inequality in a context of funding cuts, bringing in expertise from the VCS. How the engagement strategy was laid out publically is rather impressive - who they want to engage with, when and why. Worth a look- and useful for HWBs to learn from- given a complaint in the survey is that it's hard for the VCS to engage with HWBs.

You can also find out more about the Commission from Ross Diamond, Chief Officer, Redbridge CVS.


Regional Voices and national news

Practical guides to engagement - two briefings launched to help VCS organisations build strong partnerships with local commissioning bodies

Compact Voice and Regional Voices have launched two briefings designed to help voluntary organisations to build strong partnerships with local commissioning bodies. One of the briefings focuses on engaging with health and wellbeing boards (based on all our learning from this Supporting Influence project) and the other on clinical commissioning groups. These two briefings are based on the experiences of a range of voluntary organisations who have established strong partnerships with local health bodies. Their knowledge and tips have been translated into a number of practical steps organisations can take to engage better with CCGs and health and wellbeing boards.

Link to the new briefings.

You may also be interested to read Ross Diamond's (Chief Officer, Redbridge) CVS blog on Compacts as a tool to support VCS engagement with health

Ross Diamond, Chief Officer of Redbridge CVS wrote recently for Compact Voice, concerning how Compacts can be used as a tool to support VCS engagement with health. The blog can be found on the Compact Voice website.
Ross shared his experiences of how the Compact had helped to form a foundation for strong partnerships with health bodies locally, and this guest blog provides a short overview of what he covered. The PCT - and now its successor, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) - funded Redbridge CVS  to employ a Health Partnerships Officer to help the NHS and the voluntary & community sector to work together and understand each other better.

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HWB/VCS engagement survey- findings published

Regional Voices has published the full survey report from the survey conducted earlier this year about how the voluntary and community sector (VCS) is engaging with health and wellbeing boards (HWB). Thanks again everyone who responded, sharing their experiences from across England- making it a grand total of 780 people responding over the three surveys. Specific questions were asked to VCS representatives on health and wellbeing boards, Healthwatch reps on the boards and to the wider VCS, interested in engaging with the HWB. This has been the third survey about VCS engagement with health and wellbeing boards. Encouragingly, some good practice for how boards involve the VCS is emerging. However, some challenges remain. It feels like the VCS is continuing to be under-utilised by local partners in health and care. Although there is considerable desire in the VCS to work with HWBs, only 22% of respondents reported being able to link in with local Healthwatch or a sub-group of the HWB and around 30% were able to raise issues with a VCS rep and only 9% of respondents felt their organisation was linked with the work of the HWB (a reduction since the last survey).

We heard some nice examples of where the VCS was adding value to HWBs. Where it works well, VCS representation and engagement with HWBs can add a lot of value to partnership work and strategy development:

  • Bringing in expertise of the voluntary sector to address key services and priorities, for example around:  mental health, young people's services, physical activity/exercise, services for older people, carers and approaches to dementia.
  • The VCS has close links to the communities they work in - it can reduce duplication- with better awareness of what's going on in an area. It can improve engagement- particularly to address specific inequalities. The VCS is a large part of the work force- it can bring expertise as a provider.
  • The VCS can support government programmes, for instance development of the Better Care Fund programme, Making Every Contact Count and around the preventative agenda. It can support co-design of creative solutions to systemic problems, such as accident and emergency overload.

The survey captures good practice and challenges and makes recommendations to help improve development of working links between the VCS, Healthwatch and health and wellbeing boards.  Link to read the survey report and summary with recommendations. The survey findings will be added to the findings from the Health and Care Voluntary Sector Strategic Partnership survey findings, due to be launched next month- and used to influence health, wellbeing and care policy development.

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What challenges are facing reps- and how to overcome them

Regional Voices' South East network, RAISE, has conducted a "listening exercise" with its Supporting Influence network members. Phone interviews and an email survey were conducted, asking VCS and HW reps on HWB what challenges they faced. The listening exercise brings together what people said and really useful resources that exist to help overcome the barriers.  The top three challenges were:
1. Poor agenda setting, lack of strategic focus and a lack of dynamism
2. Confusion about the role of local Healthwatch on the Health and Wellbeing Board
3. Personal challenges related to time and communication

Link to results of RAISE listening exercise

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Review of Health and Wellbeing Boards in the North East

Our network organisation in the North East, VONNE, has worked with a politics student to review all of the health and wellbeing board priorities, agendas and minutes over the last two quarters. Every board shares at least one priority with one or more other boards and this may provide an opportunity for the VCSE to work together on common issues and concerns. Some things the researcher noted- the variation in quality and timeliness of papers on the website (minutes/agendas)- made it difficult to know what was going on (definitely an experience shared with respondents to our survey). Interesting three areas hadn't discussed any items that they had previously prioritised- for two meetings, although items such as "economic leadership" and "development" cropped up, despite not being on the priority list. Link to review of North East HWBs.

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Care Act Briefing

The Care Act 2014 (implemented from 1 April 2015) introduces major reforms to the legal framework for adult social care - to the way care is funded and to the rights of those in need of social care. It introduces new statutory duties on local authorities to put into practice the principles of personalised care and support. The Act has been described by the Government as 'the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years'. VONNE has written a briefing about the act and how the VCSE can play a key role.

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Question to ask on boards: how are we working to improve the health of Gypsy Traveller communities?

Are the health and social care needs of Gypsy Traveller communities currently included in the JSNA and were Gypsy Traveller community members or voluntary sector organisations engaged with in this process?  And who is co-ordinating action to address the chronic social exclusion and severe health inequalities Gypsy Traveller communities face in accessing health services and achieving health outcomes? Two useful resources to help HWBs address these issues are The National Gypsy and Traveller Inclusion Health project report 2012-2015 and Inclusion of Gypsy Traveller health needs in JSNAs: a review

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JSNA resources updated

We have recently updated our "JSNA resources" webpage to include this resource on JSNA around Gypsy and Traveller issues, around segregated data, from the Men's Health Forum and a call for a review of the JSNA process from RNIB, Epilepsy Action, National Voices, Diabetes UK and Macmillan.

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Webinar: Due North- a VCSE perspective - listen again

For anyone who missed the Due North Webinar- you can now listen to a recording of it online. Webinar's may not be perfect (if you have duff broadband, for instance)- but it sure beats trailing to London to hear about something new! Listen again- Due North- from a voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) perspective.

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Join the VCS reps online discussion forum

Join us on our online discussion forum for VCS representatives on health and wellbeing boards! Do join up to share your thoughts and issues and get feedback from others around the country on all things representation and health and wellbeing board! It is a private space - just for representatives on health and wellbeing boards (and Regional Voices ) - so you will need to create a password- but we've made it as simple to access as possible!

Link to join the discussion forum

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Supporting influence on social media


@regionalvoice - our general Twitter account. Often tweeting under #VCSJSNA

#integrationpioneers see what is happening around the pioneer projects in integration

#HWBlearning this is the hashtag for the national learning network for health and wellbeing boards' community (on the LGA Knowledge Hub)

@LGAWellbeing used by the Local Government Association to tweet about health and wellbeing boards.


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About this project

Regional Voices aims to support voluntary and community sector (VCS) influence on health and wellbeing boards- to keep up to date about developments and to support connection and learning between local areas. Each of the nine English regions, Regional Voices' component networks are developing networks to support VCS influence on health and wellbeing boards.  Networks will work to support effective engagement with health and wellbeing boards, both where there is a VCS representative, and where there isn't.  Networks are looking at different routes to influence and sharing good practice nationally.  In addition to these ebulletins, networking events and online networking are being developed; progress in engagement between the VCS and health and wellbeing boards (both directly and by working with local Healthwatch) will be tracked through surveys.  Resources and training will be developed, in response to requests from participants.

All the information about this project, "Supporting Influence" is available on the Regional Voices website

Wider resources about health and wellbeing boards and JSNA are available here

This project is supported by the Department of Health (Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund) and will run until April 2015.