VCSE groups urged to act on health and social care plans

TAKING CHARGE OF OUR HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE IN GREATER MANCHESTER
The Plan – Final Draft December 2015

GMCVO initial review
January 2016

If you are working with people in communities then you and your service users or members will feel the impact of this, regardless of whether you are formally doing anything health or social care related. This is because the plan sets out to change quite radically both how public services are delivered in future, and what kinds of services are delivered.

The intention is for a greater proportion of funding to be targeted at enabling people to stay well, thus reducing the need for professional interventions and reducing current health inequalities.

All of this may bring opportunities to some VCSE organisations, but will present threats to others, and will change the relationships we may have with public sector staff. In general, I think the VCSE sector should be ready to welcome and endorse the plan.

The plan contains much that we would want to see including many references to the importance of our sector in successful implementation, and I think it shows that we have been listened to at both Greater Manchester and locality levels.

The big challenge for us now will be to translate this into a concrete commitment to a strong role for VCSE organisations in the Implementation Plan. Although all the right words are there, and I believe many public sector leaders do sincerely believe in the value of the voluntary sector, there is no guarantee that ‘alignment’ and ‘partnership’ will necessarily translate into a share of the available resources.

I believe our sector and our organisations have certain things to offer which cannot be offered by the public or private sector, however good they are, and which will be crucial to the success of the Plan. But we should remember that we have no monopoly on the delivery of high quality, responsive, innovative services – even though we can be very good at this.

There is also no guarantee that preventative community based work will be seen automatically as VCSE ‘territory’ – it is likely that the current public sector workforce will be encouraged to develop more preventative approaches as part of their core service delivery. We will therefore need to be clear about what we can offer, the resources and people we are able to mobilise independently and what we will need in return.

In formally endorsing the plan as a member of the Strategic Partnership Board on 18th December, I made three main 'offers' on behalf of our sector. These are set out in more detail in the informal comment made in advance of the publication of the Plan – details here.

• We have the ability to reach out and engage widely with people and communities, including people whom others might struggle to talk to
• Voluntary and community action and volunteering are hugely significant in creating strong communities and also to the health and wellbeing of the people involved.
• Service providers from the VCSE sector typically offer huge additional social value and will be keen to be involved in the new local care organisations.

Organisations should note that the majority of delivery will take place at local authority level, with some cross-cutting work at Greater Manchester level. It is therefore important that you are also connected with your local membership/representative organisations and take an interest in the further development of the Locality Plans.

Time is short since the Implementation Plan must be finalised by the end of March.
We therefore want to encourage all organisations to do the following:

• express an interest – and get on the mailing list
• respond to a quick survey
• (a voluntary sector 'assembly' held on 27th January, provided an opportunity for interested groups to hear about the plans and discuss the sector's 'offer').

All of this will enable GMCVO and the Greater Manchester reference group to respond promptly and positively to the draft plans on behalf of our sector. You are also of course encouraged to make your own responses.

Alex Whinnom
Chief Executive, GMCVO

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