Over the last few months, we have been supporting one of our members around a strategic issue relating to commissioning and from this work, there are a few actions that are now going to happen:
· Cheshire East Council wish to be part of a meeting/event with small and rural VCFS organisations to discuss how we can work together more effectively when it comes to service delivery and ensure that the smaller organisations are able to be part of partnerships or have the chance to bid to deliver services.
To plan this event we will be working initially with a small group of VCFS organisations and the council jointly to develop the event. If you are interested in being part of the planning for this please do email me.
· The issue of Community grants has been raised and the Council have agreed to work with us to resigns the grant scheme which would open out the scheme and enable more organisations to access funding. Some of the key elements that are being considered are, increasing the top level to £10,000, funding salary costs and volunteer expenses. We expect a revised grant scheme to go to the Cheshire East Cabinet meeting in April and that any changes approved by the cabinet to be in place for the 2019 - 2020 financial year.
There is currently and underspend against the Community Grant scheme and there is fantastic news that the Council will be carrying this forward into the next financial year and we won't lose this funding. We are really pleased that the council is safeguarding this funding which we know can make a significant impact in the community when delivered by our members.
Strategically the Council is working on a document, which would outline how we would work together. This provides an opportunity for us to plan for future working and to develop ways to work using co-production methods. I will be working with Nichola Glover-Edge on this and will keep this section updated on its progress.
Following work that CVS undertook in early 2018 to raise the profile of the effect of the budget cuts on the Early Help Services delivered by the VCFS. The Chief Executives Network met and discussed how they felt the Council percieved them and there was a desire to work more closely with the Council and raise the profile of the VCFS and in particualr how we could, if given time and support, help the council meet some of its challenges around reduced funding and increasing demand for services.
CVS spoke with Mark Palethope, Acting Executive Director of People at the Council who agreed to have a round table with the Chief Executives Network. In advance of this meeting the Network put together an open letter to the Council (atttached here) which formed the basis of our discussion.
On the 12th July Mark Palethorpe and Nichola Glover-Edge, Director of Commissioning, met with 15 representatives from the VCFS. This was a very productive meeting and there were a number of actions agreed. Notes from this meeting can be found here.
Nichola and I are committed to working together, through the Chief Executives Network and the wider VCFS to implement these actions.
If you are a Chief Executive or the most senior staff member you can join the network here.
The lead staff member for this is Caroline and can be contacted on Caroline.firstname.lastname@example.org or 07792 754904