On 18 June lead representatives from the Voluntary Community & Social Enterprise (VCSE) infrastructure organisations in each of our three places (B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire) and Healthwatch met with Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) Partnership system leads to consider how we further develop voluntary sector engagement and participation at both place and system level.
In attendance were James Carlin, Director at 3SG in B&NES, Lynn Gibson, CEO at Community First, Amber Skyring, CEO from Wessex Community Action, Kate Morton, Chair of Trustee of 3SG, Kevin Peltonen-Messenger, CEO at the Care Forum (for Healthwatch) and Pam Webb, CEO Voluntary Action, Swindon.
Attending on behalf of the Integrated Care System (ICS) were Independent Chair Stephanie Elsy, Senior Responsible Officer and CEO of the Clinical Commissioning Group, Tracey Cox and Tamsin May, Deputy Director of Communications and Engagement at BSW CCG.
We were also joined by Abdul Mulla, senior manager personalised care, at NHS England and NHS Improvement (South West Region); part of his remit feeding into the national NHSEI team is working across the South West to ensure that the VCSE has a voice within the developing ICS systems in the region.
Stephanie and Tracey began by recognising the critical role played by the VCSE sector during the pandemic and thanking everyone for their ongoing support to our communities.
They then gave a presentation setting out how ICS arrangements are developing and confirmed their commitment to working closely with the third sector as a strategic partner in developing and delivering services and tackling inequalities.
Representatives at the meeting agreed to work together to build on the involvement of VCSE partners already happening at place to make sure VCSE partnership working is also embedded in the decision-making processes that are developing at a system-level across BSW. This will include involving the sector in governance structures and system workforce, population health management and service redesign work, leadership and organisational development plans. It was acknowledged that these arrangements will require time and resources to help the VSCE actively participate. A number of themes emerged including streamlining of contracting and procurement processes that can be an impediment for smaller organisations, funding streams to support development activity, access to public health data and insights and making best use of shared resource.
The group agreed to meet again to co-produce plans for VCSE involvement in our developing ICS.
For more information about the BSW Partnership which was designated by NHSEI as an ICS in November 2020, visit www.bswpartnership.nhs.uk