by Alison Cullen, Interim Executive Officer at CVS Cheshire East.

Thank you to all the attendees of the Chief Officer Network Meeting on 12 July, we’ve had some good feedback from sector leaders welcoming Nichola Glover-Edge’s refreshing approach to working with the Community, Voluntary and Faith Sector. 

I invited Nichola, Cheshire East Council's Director of Commissioning along to the Network meeting to listen to some of our concerns and issues facing the sector, from managing increasing demand on services, being undervalued, lack of communication with commissioners and frustrations around tender timescales and contract reporting. Nichola was extremely candid in terms of her forward thinking commissioning intentions across Cheshire East and how the public sector needs to be working closely with the sector to co-design services that provide a quality offer for our residents. Nichola spoke about services being influenced through the voice of the user and outcomes based commissioning and the sector having a key role as a strategic partner. 

Pre-armed with questions, I had thought Nichola would face a torrent of discontent, but no!  We spent an hour discussing how we can work better together and when the VCF sector is fully engaged in the process from the onset, we can help shape future provision that contributes to strategic priorities and meets local demand.  

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