Salford’s VCSE Strategy 2018-23 – What progress have we made?

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Following the signing of the VCSE Manifesto in 2016 by Cllr Paul Dennett, there was a subsequent joint commitment between the City Mayor and other public sector leaders to develop a more strategic relationship with the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector in Salford. A multi-agency writing group which included VCSE leaders, Salford CVS, Salford City Council and NHS Salford CCG was formed to develop a VCSE Strategy for Salford.

Salford CVS then led extensive engagement and discussion at our VCSE Conference in 2017, followed up by work continued over the next 12 months; culminating in the launch by the partners to the strategy of the final version of the Strategy and an accompanying Executive Summary at the VCSE Conference on 5th July 2018.

The Vision of the Strategy is:

A city where voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises are at the heart of creating a better and fairer Salford’

The final version can be downloaded here.

Together, we have developed this Strategy to describe the position and role of the VCSE sector in Salford: how it supports and benefits local people, delivers services and influences city wide policy and strategy. Salford has a strong and active VCSE sector with 1,513 VCSE organisations working in our city, making around 2.4 million interventions with clients, service users or beneficiaries each year (State of the VCSE Sector in Salford 2017 – Salford CVS, Sheffield Hallam University). We know that in order to survive austerity, we need to protect and enhance that work. We recognise the important contribution that the sector makes to Salford’s diverse communities. We also want to further invest in the role of the VCSE sector, in order for it to grow and to be sustained.

Our Strategy starts from what we share as partners – a focus on tackling poverty, improving the local environment and the wellbeing of local people, and in our shared values. The objectives have been developed around Salford’s VCSE Manifesto – Involve, Include, Collaborate, Value, Invest and End (poverty).

So what progress have we made so far?

Strategies provide a good starting point but it’s the doing that drives real change…That is why we have developed a comprehensive action plan to help us implement the strategy and to enable us to be clear on the progress that we have made and the challenges and opportunities that remain.  We meet as partners to monitor this, ensuring that we report back to stakeholders, sharing our successes and asking for support with our challenges.

At our February 2019 meeting we have been clear that there are some successes to celebrate and some work to do.

Some of our achievements so far include:

  • 20 VCSE leaders have been involved in a whole city conference on Inclusive Economy
  • We have appointed and gained backfill for VOCAL Wellbeing Health and Social Care Reps to Salford Together
  • Wellbeing Grant applications now involve two pitching panels per year to enable more groups that struggle with completing written application forms to apply for funding
  • We have held 2 Funders and Investors Roundtables and developed the first draft of a VCSE Investment Strategy for Salford
  • We have developed and are implementing the Volunteering Strategy and its action plan; for example launching the 24 Hours to Make a Difference initiative between Salford CVS and Salford Council
  • We have agreed a way for Salford CVS to co-ordinate volunteers and a wider VCSE offer in an emergency as part of Salford Council’s refreshed emergency planning approach
  • We have agreed clear feedback and ‘temperature testing’ arrangements on the VCSE Strategy for each of the partners including to the annual VCSE Conference (23rd May this year)

For the future we have agreed a range of diverse actions. These include:

  • Promoting local democracy e.g. public attendance at and the preparation of formal questions to statutory committees/Boards
  • Working with partners to initiate a Salford Economic Development Partnership and ensuring VOCAL Leaders representation at this
  • Providing VOCAL Leaders representation to Salford’s Strategic Housing Partnership
  • Developing a consistent and proportionate approach to effectively monitor equality and diversity in VCSE activity throughout Salford
  • Keeping a watching brief on the move towards Salford City Council & NHS Salford CCG integrated commissioning – how will this affect future commissioning from the VCSE sector?
  • Developing a VCSE Investment Strategy which makes the most effective use of existing resources for VCSE organisations and maximises opportunities to draw in further investment
  • Leading work on poverty that places the charitable objective of tackling poverty at its heart and provides opportunities for VCSE organisations and individual citizens to support partners in the implementation of the Poverty Strategy for Salford
  • Reviewing VCSE representation in all Salford’s strategic partnerships
  • Maximising community benefit from Salford’s physical assets by VCSE organisations

We have made significant progress in the first year of Salford’s VCSE Strategy and we have some exciting and challenging work ahead of us. I look forward to continuing work with partners that strengthen the VCSE in Salford and helps to ensure that we truly ‘are at the heart of creating a better and fairer Salford’.

To read the full version of the Strategy or its Executive Summary go to: VCSE Strategy

If you have any questions about the Strategy please contact me:

Email: louise.murray@salfordcvs.co.uk

Tel: 0161 787 7795 x 206

Salford CVS
Author: 
Louise Murray, VCSE Strategy Manager

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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