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3 December 2010

VCS Assembly News Update 3 December (Issue 55)

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

A4U News
Good news from A4U Action, Advice, Advocacy! A4U have been successful in their bid for Social Welfare Law funding to continue their specialist quality marked Community Legal Services contract with the Legal Services Commission. A short statement/update is attached.
pdfA4U News 151110 (63.32KB)

Infrastructure Partnership Newsletter Published
Please find attached the latest newsletter from the Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership. In particular, please note the deadline of Monday 6 December at 5pm for expressions of interest in the Transition Fund Briefing Sessions on page 3. As always the partnership provides regular updates and information on its website: see http://www.shropshirevcs.org.uk/. For more information about SIP contact Renie Wallace, Partnership Services and Information Officer, Tel: 01743 342169, Email:   renee.wallace@shropshire-rcc.org.uk
pdf1st__December_SIP_newsletter_issue_5 (153.13KB)

Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Strategy Published
The Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Board (Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council) have issued a final version of the Safeguarding Strategy which was endorsed at the last Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Board on 19 October. A copy is attached for your information.
pdfVulnerable Adults Safeguarding Strategy - final endorsed version Oct 10 (108.11KB)

Government publishes department business plans
A series of business plans for government departments, setting out the work of Government for the next four years, have been published. They can all be accessed via the Number 10 website.http://www.number10.gov.uk/ Of particular interest are the following:
7         Establish a taskforce to investigate bureaucratic burdens on the voluntary and community sector and provide recommendations on how to reduce them - Jan 2011
7         Publish a White Paper on giving, using findings from the Green Paper consultation -  March 2011
7         Establish a Big Society Bank using funds from dormant bank accounts - April 2011
7         Create the Communities First fund to support the creation of neighbourhood groups with small grants and endowments - May 2011

Government's Big Society Awards
The government has launched a Big Society Awards scheme, to recognise some of the excellent examples of the Big Society in action taking place all around the country. Judging takes place every 3 months, but the first winner has already been announced. Award winners will receive a certificate from the Prime Minister and will be invited to a regular Big Society Award Winners Reception at Downing Street. You shouldn't nominate your own organisation. The form is available at http://www.number10.gov.uk/bigsocietyawards

Measuring Wellbeing
The idea of measuring wellbeing has recently made national political headlines. A news item is available on the Prime Minister's website about setting up an official measure, with a link to his speech.
New Philanthropy Capital has issued information on "Why government measuring well-being is good for charities". NPC has also been developing a well-being measure to enable organisations to demonstrate their impact on the well-being of young people aged 11 to 16.

Labour Party sets up voluntary sector policy group (from VolResource)
Third Sector reports that the Labour Party has set up a voluntary sector policy group of MPs, provisionally called the Social Action Forum, to formulate the party's response to a wide range of government social policies.

Small charities and Collaboration
A new Charity Commission research report has been published which focuses on the experiences of small charities collaborating, and explores the issues and challenges they face when doing so. The research shows collaboration is more likely to happen and more likely to succeed when charities network and get to know each other first. See http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/publications/rs24.aspx

Evaluating collaborative working
A new guide from Charities Evaluation Services on collaborative working aims to help organisations plan the measurement of outcomes and reach their own conclusions on the likely or actual benefits of collaboration. Split into five sections of Prepare, Engage, Plan Together, Monitor and Evaluate, 'Making a difference together?' can be downloaded via http://www.ces-vol.org.uk/index.cfm?pg=726

Guide on open spaces transfer to community groups
New guidance on the transfer of parks and green spaces 'Community-led spaces: a guide for local authorities and community groups' has been produced by Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment with the Asset Transfer Unit. Eight case studies from across England show a variety of approaches.

The VCS and Personalisation
The National Commission on Personalisation set up by chief executives organisation ACEVO has published its report, exploring how the third sector can respond to public service reform. It urges a "mutualist approach" and recommendations include:
-          Encouraging people to pool personal budgets and self-funded contributions
-          Supporting a new bottom-up model of quality assurance
-          Funding independent information, advice and advocacy
-          Encouraging providers to band together
-          A new form of Social Investment Relief to increase the sums invested in civil society
There is also a connected Lambeth Commission on Personalisation, focused on the practical changes third sector leaders need to make. See ACEVO web page on both reports at http://www.acevo.org.uk/Page.aspx?pid=2244

Volunteering as part of local authority work with young people
A joint paper between the Local Government Association and Volunteering England, 'Hidden talents: young people and volunteering. A way forward', builds on the LGA series of Hidden Talents publications. It aims to start a conversation about the role volunteering can play in local authorities' support for young people who are not in employment, education or training. See:

Trustee ideas on making charities and trustees more effective
New Philanthropy Capital ran a number of seminars over the summer where over 80 charity trustees debated how they could make their charities more effective and shared ideas about improving trusteeship. 'Talking to trustees' brings together some of the ideas raised (registration required).

Charitable Incorporated Organisation model expected for 2011 (from VolResource)
Charity Commission chief executive Sam Younger has reaffirmed plans to launch the new Charitable Incorporated Organisation legal structure early next year. He expects the Office for Civil Society to make an announcement in January about the timetable. http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/finance/news/content/7808/

Legal fact sheets for community groups (from VolResource)
LawWorks, the charity providing pro bono legal advice for community groups, continues to add to its range of online fact sheets. Recent additions include a glossary of common terms in commercial leases http://www.lawworks.org.uk/?id=498&entityType=Documentand the new rules on Pre-Employment Health Questions under the Equality Act http://www.lawworks.org.uk/?id=500&entityType=Document

Managing the Risk of Serious Harm
Guidance for the Voluntary and Community Sector has been issued by the National Offender Management Service. The guidance concerns working with NOMS to manage the risk of serious harm. The VCS delivers a vast range of services to offenders in custody and the community, including those who pose a high risk of harm. Consultation with, and feedback from, these organisations has highlighted concerns over the knowledge, awareness and safety of staff and volunteers when working with this group of offenders. The guidance has been developed by the NOMS Public Protection & Mental Health Group in collaboration with voluntary sector providers and representatives, and draws extensively on the 'Risk of Harm Guidance and Training Resource' provided for NOMS by De Montfort University. It aims to assist VCS staff who work with offenders who pose a high risk of serious harm. Please see attached.

2. Dates for Your Diary

Regional briefing sessions for Transition Fund

10 December 2010, Birmingham
The Cabinet Office has launched a new £100million Transition Fund to help the charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that are affected by public spending cuts to make necessary adjustments so that they can continue to play an important part in public service reform and the Big Society Agenda. The Transition Fund will help civil society organisations which deliver high quality public services to be more resilient, agile and able to take opportunities presented by a changing funding environment. The Office for Civil Society has appointed BIG Fund (non-Lottery funding operation of the Big Lottery Fund) to administer the fund. The BIG Fund are holding briefing events in the West Midlands for civil society organisations which meet the criteria below and are interested in applying to the Transition Fund. The briefing events are open to charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises which meet the following criteria:
1.      Civil society organisations with an income of between £50,000 and £10 million
2.      At least 60% of your income is from taxpayer funded sources
3.      You must spend at least 50% of your taxpayer funded income on service provision in at least one of the following areas - health and social care; homelessness; education and training; offender rehabilitation; welfare to work/ employment services; children and families; debt counselling and legal advice.
4.      Your free reserves must not be more than six months.
5.       You face significant cuts; you will experience cuts of least 30% of your taxpayer funded income in 2011/12, as compared to your most recent set of signed annual accounts
6.  The minimum grant size is £12.5k and grants will meet no more than half your taxpayer funded income. This means that you will have lost at least £25k
7.      The majority of the grant expenditure will be on change activities
8.      You are delivering the majority of your services in England.
If you are unable to attend a briefing session, all of the information you need on eligibility and applying is available on the BIG Fund's website.

Booking Information
To register for the event, please email transitionwm@bigfund.org.uk by Monday 6th December, 5pm with your name, phone number, organisation, address and any access requirements. Please also choose which two-hour session you are able to attend.  The BIG Fund expect demand to be high for these events and there are a limited number of places in each session, so please indicate all of the dates and times you are available.
10 December at 10.00am until 12.00pm - Birmingham
10 December at 1.30pm until 3.00pm - Birmingham
Due to space constraints, registration is limited to one person per organisation. Spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis. After the regional briefing sessions all of the information from the events including the presentation will be uploaded to the BIG Fund website.

Are You Making Enough Of Your Assets?
Time is running out to book your place on this FREE workshop, email as soon as possible to secure your place.
7 Do you want to be innovative in meeting your customers' needs?
7 Are you interested in exploring the Big Society agenda in relation to your organisation?
7 Are you new to social enterprise and want to find out more?
If you answer yes to any of the above and are free on December 15th why not join a workshop to be held at Worcester County Hall Offices.  This workshop will help you to explore potential models for service development from market research to co production. Sue Fry from Midwest Rural Enterprise will work with you to explore these issues from 9.30 - 3.30. The workshop is free to attend as it is supported by the Business Link Social Enterprise Development Programme, and Worcestershire County Council.  To book a place, contact Louise Gibbs - louiseg@midwest-rural.org.uk
To discuss or obtain further information, call Sue Fry 07779 539487. Please note, that places are limited so a firm commitment for attendance is required.

Razzle Dazzle
To celebrate the festive season, BID Services, who work in partnership with deaf people and other communities, is hosting another musical extravaganza "RAZZLE DAZZLE" at the Deaf Cultural Centre, Ladywood, Birmingham, B16 8SZ, on Saturday, 11 December, 2010. Back by popular demand, the show features a range of dazzling performances by the very best Deaf Artists & Musicians so why not come along and have some early festive fun! Don't miss out - the show was a sell-out last time, so get your tickets early! The Variety Show is suitable for all types of audiences and our Deaf Cultural Centre is fully accessible. There are two shows available to choose from. Evening performance show starts 7:30pm. Tickets £12 each (NB: not suitable for children under 5). Matinee performance for our younger audience show starts 3:00pm. Tickets £6 each. To reserve tickets please contact Lisa Davies on telephone 0121 246 6100, or email Lisa on lisa.davies@bid.org.uk

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
pdfinvitation for discussion social marketing (46.11KB)

Grassroots: A celebration of Grassroots Music & Drama
The Community Council of Shropshire is holding a celebration for Grassroots Grants. Performances will be held on Wednesday 15th December, 7.30pm at The Maidment Building, Shrewsbury School. A poster is attached with all the details.
pdfCCS Grassroots Poster (148.98KB)

TB Alert Offers Free Seminars
Please see attached details of a programme of free seminars, to find out about a new programme of training, materials and support available for third sector leaders to raise awareness of TB in communities experiencing health inequalities that has been developed by TB Alert.


3. Funding News

December External Funding Update
Gary Spence from Shropshire Council's External Funding Team has issued this month's External Funding Update. The update has information on:
- The new Community Buildings Strand of BIG's Reaching Communities programme
- 2011 round of People's Millions
- Changes to HLF criteria, to encourage more bids
- OPAL grant scheme - for local history society recoding schemes (grants of £500 to £5,000)
- Community Sustainable Energy - final deadline
- Heart Research UK - grants for local groups to promote the importance of a healthy heart
A copy is attached.
pdfEFU67 Dec 10 (49.04KB)

Transition Fund open 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.

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. The programme is driven by clear strategic priorities that support the Big Society agenda in the health and adult social care field, as well as key health service priorities. The scheme is open to national charities and partnerships of voluntary organisations, as well as social enterprises, co-operatives, mutuals and other not-for profit organisations, with social aims. 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 in order fund activities which support four key priority areas as follows:
A patient-led NHS.
Delivering better health outcomes.
Improving public health.
Improving health and social care.
Projects should have national 'reach' by operating across at least four localities in different regions/counties geographically spread across England. Proposals for funding should differ substantially in scale and priorities from the fund's local projects for which there was a separate call for applications earlier in 2010. 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.

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

4. Consultations

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.

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.

5. Compact

National Compact Delayed
The publication of the new National Compact has been delayed. The Compact was originally due to be published in November but Compact Voice has reported that the document's approval has been slowed up due to parliamentary processes. The Compact should now be published this month but a publication date in December is not available.

Wolverhampton Maintains VCS Funding Levels
Compact Voice has reported that Wolverhampton has decided to preserve current funding levels for the local voluntary sector, citing the Compact as central to "developing an environment in which the voluntary and community sector can thrive" and recognising the impact the voluntary sector has locally.

Guidance Published
A new guide from the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), entitled "Voicing your right to know", has tips, information and case studies for organisations on how to use Freedom of Information in their campaigning work. The document is being proported via the Compact and is available from:
Also launched is the Commission for the Compact's keenly anticipated Support Pack for public sector Compact champions, covering topics such as understanding the voluntary sector, how to demonstrate social and economic benefits of Compact working and relating Compact to different service areas.

If you would like to become a Compact Champion or book a place at the event 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: http://www.shropshirevcs.org.uk/

7. Important Reminders

News Items
Please see the website for previous news items.

Please see the VCS Assembly Website for details of previous newsletters.


Shropshire Partnership Standing Conference - 13 December
Members of the VCS Assembly are invited to join the Shropshire Partnership Standing Conference on 13 December 2010. The event will be held from 6:30pm in the Council Chamber at Shirehall. If you would like to register your details to receive more information contact Ruth Turner (email Ruth.Turner@shropshire.gov.uk or telephone 01743 252269).


Building a Stronger Civil Society
On 16th October, at NCVO, the Government launched a new strategy for the voluntary and community sector. As part of this new strategy, the Government has launched a consultation in which it is seeking your views on how it can improve the effectiveness of the advice and support that is available to frontline organisations.

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 www.2shrop.net/shropvcsassemblyhire's voluntary and community groups and organisations.

 With best wishes

Sarah Dodds

VCS Assembly Coordinator and Compact Officer

sarah.dodds@shropshire.gov.uk Telephone 01743 252740