In January the Leadership Group responded to a call for evidence for a review to ‘consider the oversight and governance of integrated care systems (ICSs)’ known as the Hewitt review. The timeline for submitting a response was short, but members worked to gather evidence and examples ensuring that the GM VCSE sector was represented in the review. Our thanks goes out to all who engaged with the review and submitted evidence. Following the evidence gathering, twelve priority action points emerged for how the VCSE sector should shape its relationship with public health partners. The points are as follows,

  1. Local VCSE Alliances, which exist in every ICS, should be recognised in statute as a full partner of the ICB and ICS.
  2. We need to fast track the VCFSE sector’s potential to develop innovative models of delivery, collaboration and market mobilisation. Each ICB should be able to invest in a VCSE Challenge Fund to help drive this forward.
  3. The VCSE role at place should be recognised, developed and supported. This means generating a strategic voice and within the implementation of a local VCSE market development strategy.
  4. The voice of people with lived experience needs to be turned up in order to build our evidence base. This means enhanced roles in service design, in measurement of impact, within peer and training support, and inclusion in community based research.
  5. Prevention, with a focus on addressing the wider determinants of health inequality, needs to be mainstreamed. ICBs and ICPs should be asked to develop a fiscal metric for their ambitions. We will always just be fire-fighting unless we increase our prioritisation of prevention and early intervention.
  6. Collaborative working arrangements between NHS providers and local VCSE should be established. We need to mobilise all local resources for improved outcomes.
  7. The NHS should conduct a national review of the VCSE role in hospital flow (discharge, admission and readmission prevention). The sector should be included as a full partner, from the start, in winter pressure planning.
  8. The NHS’s ‘Embedding the VCSE in ICS Programme’ should be enhanced. This should support reviews (like the sector’s role in winter planning) and further develop current guidance and models of working with the sector such that the role of the sector becomes mainstream.
  9. Full partnership between the VCSE and health sectors should be reflected in remuneration within contracts.
  10. Local VCSE Leaders should have regulated access to local strategic health and care data in order to drive improvement in health and care outcomes.
  11. National models, such as IAPT, need the flexibility to work at the place and local levels. Whilst national models are useful as reference points, they can be too constrictive.
  12. Intelligence sharing capabilities need to be enhanced. VCSE group and health partners have access to data that would be valuable to both groups but the mechanisms are not in place for it to be shared. Importantly, when in place, these mechanisms need to take into account confidentiality.

Going forward, the GM VCSE Leadership Group will use these actions point to inform discussions about the future of VCSE engagement with the health system.

For more information on the Hewitt review see these links,