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East Sussex County Council and the Voluntary Sector – Reforming Our Approach

April 2019 Update

Eighteen representatives from ESCC, the CCGs and the voluntary and community sector met on Monday 8th April to look at how we could more effectively use our combined resources,  build on existing skills and knowledge and develop much better ways of working for the benefit of people in East Sussex.
As a result of the discussion it was agreed that finding radical new ways of working , flexibly and at pace is the way forward.
A joint planning group has been formed to get things moving to identify community priorities  using our collective knowledge and data and move swiftly to “doing”, recognising that endless planning achieves nothing.

The relationship between East Sussex County Council and the network of Voluntary Sector organisations who work in the county is absolutely crucial to delivering quality services, enabling local action, and engaging effectively with local communities.

Following informal meetings with senior County Council officers and leaders from some of the county’s Voluntary Sector organisations, it has been agreed that during 2019 work should be undertaken to review and reset local arrangements so they are effective, well understood and accessible. The work will include how national best practice can be achieved. We will focus on the following areas:-

  • Inward investment – East Sussex is well positioned to respond to funding opportunities.
  • Procurement and Commissioning – in commissioning services from the VCS East Sussex is pursuing and leading national best practice.
  • Meeting Needs - there is genuine cross-sector collaboration to make best use of the resources when providing services and support for local people through partnership working.
  • Cross Sector Understanding - build a strong cross-sector knowledge base, and joint long lasting approaches to workforce development.
  • Strategic engagement - cross sector “conversation” between ESCC and the voluntary sector is effective, wide ranging and strategic.

Becky Shaw, Chief Executive of ESCC said “ESCC places huge value on the unique strengths of voluntary and community organisations and action. We are absolutely committed to working as effectively as possible with the diverse local sector.  Given the significant changes in available resources, and how we all work, live and play, it is a good opportunity to review and improve how we work together, learning from best practice elsewhere as we do so.”

Steve Manwaring CEO of Hastings Voluntary Action said “This is going to be a really vital piece of work as we want East Sussex to be a place where partnerships with, and processes affecting the voluntary sector are among the best in the country.”

Joint Statement    
A copy of the joint statement agreed as the culmination of this work can be viewed here and is listed under 'Useful Documents' on the right hand side of this webpage. 
Get in touch with your views
At this stage we are interested to hear about any specific issues or opportunities which you would like review on the themes we have identified. Please email essp@eastsussex.gov.uk with the subject line 'ESCC and the Voluntary Sector'.

We will be issuing further statements as the work unfolds and sharing the results of this work with other public sector partners via the East Sussex Strategic Partnership and other cross sector forums.