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Local Intelligence Network

You may already be aware of the work of the VCS Emergencies Partnership and the plans to develop a Local Intelligence Network, which is now receiving some grant funding from DCMS.

3SG is a member of NAVCA, and has been categorised as the Local Infrastructure Organisation for Bath and North East Somerset and will be included in the Local Intelligence Network and receive a small amount of funding for this work.

What is the VCS Emergencies Partnership?

The Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership (VSC EP) is made up of a range of organisations within the sector. The Partnership was established in 2018, in the wake of Grenfell and the other tragic events of 2017, to improve coordination at national and local levels before, during and after emergencies.

The VCS EP is co-chaired by Mike Adamson, CEO of British Red Cross, and Jane Ide from NAVCA.

Bringing together local, national and global expertise from the sector, the VCS EP helps communities prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies, so that people can rebuild their lives.

The Partnership also has an influencing role and gives a voice to those at risk of or affected by disasters and emergencies in the UK, so that they are at the heart of any response.

In response to COVID-19, the VCS EP is developing four key areas of work:

- A national platform, to gather intelligence dynamically on unmet need and needs that are emerging. These insights will be shared with the voluntary and community sector to help the VCS EP develop responses and allocation of resource, with a focus on those who are most vulnerable.

- Request for support service, to enable local organisations to seek additional support from the VCS EP for any needs which cannot be met through existing local networks.

- Five regional multi-agency cells (MACs), across England, to help members of the VCS EP connect and pool resource in response to requests for support and emerging unmet need.

- One national volunteering cell, to maintain an overview of capacity across the voluntary and community sector and provide a single point of contact for the government and statutory agencies to engage volunteers for large-scale national requests.

DCMS has awarded a grant of £4.8m to the VCS EP which will contribute to these four areas of work. One of the key elements in this work is the development of the Local Intelligence Network.

What is the Local Intelligence Network?

The Local Intelligence Network is core to the delivery of the VCS EP’s key areas of work in the pandemic.

First and foremost, it will help ensure that no individual or community is left without badly needed help during the pandemic, by working collaboratively to address any needs for additional support or resource that cannot be met through current local arrangements.

Second, it will gather intelligence on emerging and changing needs through the course of the pandemic to inform national understanding and planning.

Third, it will help the VCS Emergencies Partnership develop robust and sustainable approaches to future responses to emergencies, with local infrastructure at the heart of such responses.

The Local Intelligence Network will be made up of local infrastructure organisations, drawn from the membership of NAVCA, ACRE and NCVO, and will work as a mechanism for reporting and acting on unmet need arising due to Covid-19.

It builds on the natural role of local infrastructure in gathering intelligence, convening resources and co-ordinating response, and is designed specifically to enhance that work – it does not duplicate or replace it.

How does the Local Intelligence Network gather intelligence and help meet local need?

Local Infrastructure Organisations (LIOs) across England have been grouped into geographical clusters, and each cluster has nominated one of its members to act as a Local Liaison Lead which for the West Of England will be Chris Head from WERN.

The Local Liaison Lead works with the LIOs in their cluster to gather requests for help that cannot be met by the LIOs, and the cluster works collaboratively to try to meet those requests.

If the cluster cannot meet a request, the Liaison Lead will feed it in to the VCS EP process to find solutions at either regional or national level.

The work of the Liaison Leads, supported by the local infrastructure organisations in their cluster, provides intelligence at national level on emerging and changing needs as the course of the pandemic progresses.

What is 3SG's role within the Local Information Network?

We will use our intelligence and information on current and emerging needs; and knowledge and understanding of how a sustainable local emergency response with local infrastructure at the heart of it can be planned and developed in the future.

We are identifying issues and challenges in the community that you cannot meet alone, either because additional resource is needed or because they are challenges that need to be resolved at national level.

About the Local Information Network grants

As part of the grant to the VCS EP made by DCMS, the sum of £1.3 million is being committed to the Local Intelligence Network.

The grant funding for the Local Intelligence Network is being administered by NAVCA.

The purpose of the grant funding for local infrastructure is to continue to support the local response to the Covid-19 pandemic, by:

- helping to address needs that can’t be met locally;

- developing and learning from VCS work during the first three months of COVID; and

- improving understanding of the ways to make national and local response work together effectively.

The grant is available to cover the cost of staff time to:

- liaise with your Local Liaison Lead at least weekly to obtain and share intelligence;

- share local intelligence with your local sector regularly and ensure any issues or unmet community needs are raised through your Local Liaison Lead;

- attend events, focus groups and briefings, and collaborate with other LLLs, NAVCA and other VCS EP Partners to support the design and development of a sustainable platform for future emergency response.

What next?

This is the first time in many years that a government grant programme has been given directly to support local infrastructure organisations, and it is significant that in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis the essential role of local infrastructure has been recognised in this way.

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