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17 December 2010

VCS Assembly News Update 17 December (Issue 56)

In this issue:
1. News
2. Dates for Your Diary
3. Funding News
4. Consultations
5. Compact
6. Career Opportunities
7. Important Reminders

1. News

Wishing you a Happy Christmas
I hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year!

With best wishes
Sarah, Ruth and Elaine

Office for Civil Society Launches Website
The Office for Civil Society has launched a new website for Big Society. The site includes news and resources and can be visited using the following link:

Localism and Decentralisation Bill Published
The government published the Localism and Decentralisation Bill this week. The proposed legislation tackles a variety of topics of interest to voluntary and community groups, such as:
- Community Right to Buy. This would require local authorities to maintain a list of public or private assets that have been put forward by residents or voluntary groups as being of potential value to the local community. If they come up for disposal, communities would be given time to develop a bid.
- Community Right to Challenge. This would allow community or voluntary sector groups, as well as parish councils and council employees delivering the service, to challenge, and take over, current local service provision.
- Local referendums.
The official 'Decentralisation and the Localism Bill: an essential guide' is available at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/1793908.pdf

Modernising Commissioning Green Paper
The Modernising Commissioning Green Paper has been published. It asks for views on how the Government can create a level playing field for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that want to bid for public service contracts.


Expert panel publishes recommendations (from VolResource)
Community Development Foundation established an independent expert panel earlier this year to look at the challenges facing community development. The chair of the panel discusses its recently published report and recommendations on The Guardian's blog, and hopes that a wider debate will follow. Skills - Third Sector has also called on workers, organisers and others to get involved, and they will help to define the skills and knowledge needed. Download the panels 'Final report and findings' and read CDF's response, via http://www.cdf.org.uk/web/guest/news-headline?id=378303

Commitment to voluntary sector on cheque replacement
(from VolResource)
The Payments Council has issued the first Progress Report on its Cheque Replacement Programme, a year after announcing a target date of 2018 to close the central cheque clearing system. It has also published ten commitments on the run up to 2016, when the decision will be taken on whether the target date is feasible. The commitments include at number 3 "We will continue listening to and working with charities, clubs, societies and other voluntary organisations to ensure that we understand and address their requirements, both as writers and receivers of cheques." Press release with link to the report and commitments at:

Final report from NCVO's Funding Commission
The Funding Commission, set up in February 2009 by NCVO as produced its final report. One headline is that the sector could increase income via individual giving, trading and commercial sector donations from £20.7bn to £32bn per annum by 2020 if it invests just £12.2million. Find out more by following the link below:

Case studies on commissioning social enterprises
A new report from Local Government Improvement and Development with the Social Enterprise Coalition, 'Stimulating new markets - commissioning social enterprises', is based on four in-depth case studies that demonstrate how commissioning has been used to develop new social enterprise markets. http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/aio/24042772

Fresh Start New Beginnings Opens Shop
The Board of Trustees of Fresh Start New Beginnings is very happy to announce the opening of the charity's shop.  The shop, situated in the Darwin Centre, Shrewsbury on the middle level in between WHSmith and M&S. Fresh Start New Beginnings have secured it on a short term let until New Years Eve. The shop is selling items that have been made in the charity's designated workshops at HMP Shrewsbury by prisoners. They include, jewellery, knitted items, match models, art, Christmas cards, woodwork items such as bird boxes.  It is also an outlet for ethnic items from India for the Earl of Powys who has kindly offered to donate a percentage of the sales to FSNB. All proceeds from the shop will go to Fresh Start New Beginnings as part of its fundraising strategy thus continuing to support on-going work and development.

Infrastructure Partnership Newsletter
The latest version of the Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership newsletter is attached. This edition includes information on events, training opportunities and latest news from Shropshire's voluntary and community sector.
pdf16th December SIP newsletter issue 6 (377.48KB)

Shropshire Place Based Interventions - News Update
Good progress has been made to date on the Oswestry Place Based Intervention Project which focuses on substance misuse in the three most deprived wards of Oswestry.  Initial mapping of datasets and statistics has been completed and highlighted issues and trends which helped identify teams and individuals from whom further information has been gathered through one to one interviews.

The review team have spent a considerable amount of time working through the interviews both with Shropshire Council service providers as well as partners and voluntary groups.  The interviews have had three purposes:
-           To explain the purpose of the work and to gain support for the project;
-           To improve understanding of the subject area and
-           To collect data and evidence relevant to the project.

In undertaking such a large volume of interviews there is a risk of "scope creepage", therefore taking up too much resource and not adding real value to the work.  In many cases the issues being raised in interviews are generic and we need to really understand how this applies to Oswestry.  Similarly the interviews are raising problems which have already been identified and have solutions planned - again the challenge is to understand how this applies to and fixes the Oswestry "problem". 

The interviews are also highlighting the complexity of how services are put together and delivered locally, the interaction / relationships between services, some of the barriers caused by the "system" and some specific difficulties arising from the principal theme chosen.    The review team is developing a spider's web of interactions to help understand how services fit together (or not) and have evolved, and these assumptions will be tested at a 'Service Jigsaw' workshop to be held with frontline staff on 13th January.  Following this workshop (which will also ask participants to consider their service's 'typical' response to a variety of case studies) the volume of information gathered together to date will be used to formulate a second 'Co-design' workshop, where participants will once again come together - this time to identify improvements to be made to current practices and examine the potential for commissioning and decommissioning opportunities and wholesale service re-design in some areas.

An associated piece of work to better understand the perspective of service users, their families and the wider community in Oswestry is also being planned in association with the Neighbourhood Renewal Centre for Central England - from whom we have secured some free support.  A series of activities is planned for January to engage local people in this work and is being led by Fiona Boak, Worklessness Coordinator.  Information gained from this process will feed into the mass of information that will be used to inform the co-design workshop.

The other Placed Based Intervention pilots are: NorthEast Shrewsbury (Family Poverty and NEETS); Market Drayton (Worklessness and NEETS) and Ludlow (Health Inequalities).  The pilots are phased and the North East Shrewsbury project is currently at the mapping/ early interview stage.  Work in the other localities has not yet begun, but will do so in January and February 2011. VCS organisations that have indicated they would be interested in being involved, and who work in the context of the particular theme selected for each area are being contacted as each pilot begins. 

If your organisation would like to be involved please contact Jenny Powell jenny.powell@shropshire.gov.uk

Hospital Services in Shrewsbury and Telford - Consultation
From Thursday 9th December, people across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and mid-Wales will be invited to have their say about proposals to keep high quality, safe hospital services in the county. The public consultation, which runs until March 14th 2011, was given the go ahead by the two PCT Boards and the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust Board on 2nd December. The purpose of the proposed changes is to make sure that people receive safe, high quality care and that the county's two hospitals - the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital at Telford - can continue to serve the people of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Mid-Wales for a long time to come. Full details of the consultation are attached.
pdfHospital Services Consultation letter (89.97KB)pdfHospital Services Consultation Document 8th Dec 2010 (1035.27KB)pdfHospital Services consultation - Media release (81.27KB)

VCSA Board Member Briefing - Liberating the NHS
Missed the consultation meetings a few weeks ago? Don't worry - Bob Morgan from the VCS Assembly Board provides an update:

I attended the presentation "Liberating the NHS" at the Shropshire Conference Centre RSH last evening. The first speaker was Dr Caron Morton, Professional Executive Committee Chair Shropshire PCT. Dr Morton outlined the current PCT structure and new way of working for GPs in Shropshire. The following is just a few key bullet points from her presentation:

?         GPs will form consortia in a size that will be large enough (of a size) to properly manage risk and budget.
?         All Shropshire GPs will either form into a  Consortia or will be allocated to a Consortia.
?         There will be five GP Consortia formed in the current Shropshire PCT area.
?         These will be SW Shropshire; SE Shropshire; NE Shropshire; NW Shropshire and Shrewsbury & Atcham.
?         GP Practices of 8 (one will be 7) will be included for each of the 4 Shropshire segment Consortia and 14 for Shrewsbury & Atcham.
?         There will be a single Consortia covering the existing Telford PCT area.

Note: This is the most probable outcome but may change as things develop over the next two years. For Shropshire:
?         An Interim Board will be elected by GPs on 10th December 2010.
?         The Board will consist seven local GPs: Chair, Deputy Chair and Five Members representing, as far as is possible, the area of each new GP Consortia.
?         The Board will be in place by February.
?         It will be operational as an Interim Board by April 2011 with a Role to determine how the new structures and Consortia will operate.
?         It will function for two years until Consortia working is in place and full commissioning responsibility is transferred by April 2013.
?         It will shadow the PCT from April 2012.
?         SHAs will be abolished 2012-2013.
?         PCTs will be abolished 2013.

Consortia Responsibilities:
?         Determine Population Healthcare needs
?         Ensure services are purchased to address these
?         Ensure quality and clinical effectiveness
?         Manage contracts with providers
?         Monitor and help improve quality
?         Have oversight of providers training requirements

GP Consortia will be accountable to the National Commission Board.
Across the NHS there are quite challenging Efficiency Improvement Targets to be achieved by 2014.
With thanks to Bob Morgan for feeding back. Keep watching this newsletter for information and updates from the NHS in Shropshire.

Intergenerational Project - Can you help?
The Federation of Stadium Communities is doing an intergenerational project about Shrewsbury Town Football club.  They are looking for people who would like to share their memories of the club to create a digital scrapbook.  Please see the attached poster for details.

2. Dates for Your Diary

Shropshire VCS Annual Assembly
The 2011 Shropshire Voluntary and Community Sector Annual Assembly will take place on 7 April. More details will be circulated nearer the time but please pencil the date in your diary!

Children, young people and families in the West Midlands
This event will be an excellent opportunity for the sector to get up to date on key policies and initiatives, to network with colleagues from across the region and to access high quality training to support them with the skills and knowledge to take their organisations forward into 2011. Due to the content of the training workshops this event is primarily aimed at trustees, CEOs, project managers and senior workers of VCS organisations in the children, young people and families sector. Places are limited so book early. Book your place online at http://www.rawm.org.uk/news-events/events/looking-future.  All bookings must be received by Thursday 13th January.
pdfLooking to the Future event flier (511.01KB)

Social Inclusion Event - 11 January
Please find attached the details and booking form of an upcoming seminar being hosted in conjunction with the Open Project at the Nishkam Centre in Birmingham on Tuesday 11 January 2011 - 9.30am - 2.30pm. Over the past 2 years the OPEN project has explored key themes of social inclusion exploring the EU's Open Method of Coordination of grassroots engagement in policy development. The OPEN project is now in its final phase with its final seminar looking at the reality of the new political Big Society agenda. The overall aim of this FREE seminar is to provide the opportunity for delegates to explore this agenda and look at how this will impact upon social issues in the West Midlands. This seminar is being led by West Midlands Councils with partnership support from RAWM, EHRC, Birmingham City University & the Nishkam Centre. If you have any questions or would like further information please do not hesitate to contact Steven Harvey at West Midlands Councils Telephone: 0121 245 0153, Email: s.harvey@wmcouncils.gov.uk
pdfOPEN Event Flyer (67.92KB)docOPEN Event Booking Form (250KB)

NCVO Annual Conference 2011- 1st March, London (Early Bird rate until 7th January)
Attend the most important networking event in the voluntary sector calendar and you will find out:
™ How your organisation can carry out its mission with potentially reduced resources.
™ What new skills are most relevant to your role.
™ How you can ensure financial and operational stability for your organisation.
™ How to find new contacts who will help your organisation prosper.
™ Where you fit into the Government's Big Society and localism agendas
Keynote speakers include the Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles MP, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Sir Stuart Etherington. There will be a full workshop programme addressing topics such as funding, change management, governance, open data and more.

Book online at:

3. Funding News

Community Climate Change Grant Scheme - Closing date 14th January 2011
£20,000 is now available from Shropshire Council in the form of grants up to £3,000 (with 50% match - can be in kind) or up to £500 (with no match). The grants are for projects that can be delivered fairly quickly (it is this financial years money but it can carry forward until July 2011). Your project should aim to help communities respond to climate change, either adaptation or mitigation actions. Projects which can provide evidence of social, economic and environmental benefits to the community will score higher than those focussing on a single area so think carefully about how you write your application! Projects may include mitigation works to community buildings, community awareness, developing efficient technology lending schemes (e.g. smart monitors), demonstration schemes etc. This is currently a single fund and with current financial pressures it is unlikely this will be available again next year. Guidance notes and an application form are attached. If you are unsure if your project is suitable please contact Mrs Ruth Hudson, Sustainability Officer at Shropshire Council. Tel. 01743 252577 Email: ruth.hudson@shropshire.gov.uk
pdfGuidance-notes-climate-change-grant-2010 (35.5KB)doc2010-climate change-application-formRHupdate (522KB)

Transition Fund opens for applications
The Transition Fund, set up by the government to help voluntary organisations which deliver public services (in England) adapt to a different funding environment, is open for applications. Grants of up to half a million pounds are available to organisations which have derived much of their funding from state sources and expect to be impacted by public spending reductions - there are strict criteria. Cabinet Office news item or go direct to http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/transitionfund. Applications by 21st January.

With thanks to Gary Spence, External Funding Officer and Joe Bubb, Team Leader Funding & Programmes

4. Consultations

Modernising Commissioning Green Paper
The Modernising Commissioning Green Paper asks for views on how the Government can create a level playing field for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that want to bid for public service contracts.

A Bridge Between Two Worlds: A study of support and development organisations and intelligent commissioning

NAVCA has published 'A bridge between two worlds', a report which explores what is being done by local support and development organisations, working in partnership with public bodies, to develop, promote and shape really good, intelligent, local commissioning practices. It draws on a year long series of seminars held across England on ways to successfully influence the commissioning of third sector organisations and services.


Draft charity investment guidance addresses social investments (from VolResource)
The Charity Commission has launched a public consultation about new draft guidance on investment by charities (CC14), which "confirms that charities can validly consider seeking a return which brings social as well as financial benefits". Previously charities had seen Commission guidance as creating problems for pursuing social investment. Responses must be submitted by 28th February. Visit:

5. Compact

National Compact Published
A renewed Compact, the agreement which governs relations between the Government and civil society organisations in England, has been published by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society and Simon Blake, Chair of Compact Voice. The new Compact is shorter than the previous agreement and aims to create the right environment for partnership working. It is backed by accountability and transparency measures, also published.
The National Audit Office will carry out a one-off study into the operation of the Compact across government which will be reported to parliament. This unprecedented level of scrutiny will enhance adherence to the Compact and provide a strong platform for the Cabinet Office and Compact Voice to work together to embed the agreement in day to day relations between government and civil society. 

To download the Compact and supporting documents visit:

If you would like to become a Compact Champion please email me, Sarah Dodds, sarah.dodds@shropshire.gov.uk or telephone 01743 252740.

Have you got a Compact story?
Email sarah.dodds@shropshire.gov.uk and share it with others.

6. Career Opportunities

None this time!

More career opportunities are advertised on the Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership website. Visit: www.ShropshireVCS.org.uk

7. Important Reminders

News Items

Developing Health and Healthcare - A Strategy for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin
Many of you will have heard about or will have been involved in the previous work to secure high-quality, safe and sustainable hospital services in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. We recognise that we did not always get things right then and have learnt from the feedback we received.

We are now clear that the following are essential:

  • two, vibrant, well-balanced and successful hospitals, with both playing a full role
  • an A&E department on both sites
  • access to emergency general surgery from both sites

And now that we have a new Government and its health policy is clearer, we understand that the solutions must be centred on patients and carers and that they must be owned by local GPs and hospital consultants.

A workshop for clinicians was therefore held in August 2010, which generated initial ideas about the future configuration of hospital services. A report on this workshop was made available at ournhsinsat@nhs.net , circulated to stakeholders and feedback requested.

Discussions also took place with clinical staff, the public and patients, the LINks, local Councils and politicians and this feedback was incorporated into the proposals. Two public workshops took place in November 2010 where members of the public considered the proposals from the first clinical workshop and gave their views. A second clinical workshop took place in November to formulate a more robust proposal to go forward to the assurance panel and then public consultation.

At this point, the proposals were put to an external panel to test out the ideas to and challenge them to make sure that they would work. This is called the assurance panel, which met after the second clinical workshop to provide an independent view on the proposals and to ensure that they are clinically safe, robust and sustainable, financially viable and affordable and that they comply with the Lansley tests*.

The assurance panel will then make recommendations to the NHS Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire County PCT and SaTH Boards. If the Boards agree, the proposals will be passed to the Strategic Health Authority to check that the correct procedures have been followed and the Lansley tests* have been met. Following approval by the SHA, a public consultation is estimated to start in December 2010.

* The Lansley tests are the new criteria against which all proposals for NHS service reconfigurations need to be measured. They include GP commissioning engagement and support, public engagement, clinical evidence and patient choice.


Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund
The Department of Health has launched its new Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund for National Volunteering Organisations in Health and Social Care. This is the Department's first national grant scheme for health and social care volunteering and will make around £3 million available from April 2011. Projects that focus on volunteer involvement in key areas such as personal budgets, cutting smoking and encouraging healthy eating will be targeted as part of this national fund that will run over the next three years. Grants will specifically be awarded to projects that develop new, improved and/or streamlined systems in health and social care volunteering rather than projects that can simply supply core services. Applicants can apply for up £200,000 per annum. The timetable for this national scheme is as follows: Register interest online between 16 November and 13 December 2010.  
Stage 1 Applications: open 1 December and close 12 January 2011.
Stage 2 Applications for shortlisted applicants: open 1 March and close 5 April 2011.


Community Focus Groups
Marta Gajewska, Social Marketing Project Officer for Shropshire has organised some community focus groups aimed at men aged 55 to 65 to help to develop a new and exciting participant-led project. Information is included in the attachment. For any additional information telephone 01743 255045 or email: marta.gajewska@shropshire.gov.uk


Future of VCS Infrastructure Support
The Office of Civil Society (OCS) recently launched a consultation on the future of infrastructure support in the voluntary and community sector. Further information, along with the consultation document and questions, are available from www.strongercivilsociety.org.uk/

Social Housing System Consultation
The Department for Communities and Local Government is consulting on plans to reform the social housing system (England only). The new plans include changes on tenure, management of waiting lists, a new 'affordable rent' tenancy and changes to the system of council housing finance. Responses by 17th January. http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/socialhousingreform.

Ideas on future funding of care and support
The government's Commission on Funding of Care and Support has issued its "Call for Evidence" to hear ideas on what a future funding system for care and support should look like. Deadline 28th January. http://www.dilnotcommission.dh.gov.uk/call-for-evidence/.

Charity trustees and campaigning
NCVO is running a survey on the rules concerning campaigning activities by charities, and is keen to find out what role charity trustees play in campaigns. The online survey is available at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/795D8FW.

NCVO's 'Trustee guide to campaigning and influencing' can be downloaded from http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/trusteeguidecampaigning.

Back issues of newsletters can be accessed from: www.2shrop.net/shropvcsassembly

Please contact me if you have information you would like to share with Shropshire's voluntary and community groups and organisations.

With best wishes

Sarah Dodds
VCS Assembly Coordinator and Compact Officer
Telephone 01743 252740