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East Sussex County Council and the Voluntary Sector – Partnership Plus

October 2019 Update

Partnership Plus met again at a well attended session on 18 October 2019. A Number of key successes were celebrated including the Big Event, launch of the Social Value marketplace and a national award won by Healthwatch. The discussions covered:

  • How best to capture our ways of working together in an updated Compact.
  • Future co-ordination arrangements for the VCS.
  • Strengthening our workforces’ understanding of each other.
  • Effective use of and maximisation of resources.
  • Whether to do a study into the economic value of the VCS in East Sussex to support bidding and track changes in the sector.

A clear set of actions were agreed and will be delivered in the next few weeks. Further detail is available from Becky Shaw (Becky.Shaw@eastsussex.gov.uk) and Steve Manwaring (steve@hvauk.org)

August 2019 Update

The Partnership Plus group held its second meeting in June to look at how the East Sussex County Council and the East Sussex voluntary sector can better use our various relationships, knowhow and assets together for the benefit of local people.

Participants collectively agreed that we need to move swiftly to engage the wider sector, and to understand the issues different communities face. We intend to work with a wider range of partners on specific actions focussing on better shared outcomes for vulnerable people.

As part of the process, we have set up working groups to focus on the following topics:

  •  To completely review The Compact.
  • To improve Resourcing, both by  attracting new funding and by making better use of existing resources.
  • To undertake Workforce Development, in order to makes sure staff from all sectors are more aware of each others’ contribution and work more closely together. This will be done through induction, secondment, shadowing and briefings.
  • To examine information on help and support, referral pathways and access routes to determine what works and what could be improved.

Our aim is to apply this approach across the whole system to ensure consistency. This will include GPs and the private /independent sector as well as VCSE and statutory organisations. There will be a third meeting of Partnership Plus in the Autumn to check the progress of the working groups, and to make the necessary decisions to take the work forward.

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.