Our Work

View some of our work below…

VCSE Representatives

The Leadership Group works to facilitate the recruitment of individual VCSE leaders and experts to act as representatives for our sector at Greater Manchester boards and forums. Representatives are recruited through an open process and are asked to sign up to a protocol committing them to connect actively with their peers, act on behalf of the wider sector and report news and opportunities.

View a list of current representatives

The GM VCSE Accord 2021

Greater Manchester leaders in local government, health and the VCSE sector have signed a GM VCSE Accord to work together in a collaborative way to tackle entrenched inequalities over the next five years.

This new agreement replaces both the 2017 Accord and the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding which formed the basis for the VCSE Health and Social Care Engagement project (delivered from 2017 to 2021), and builds on the substantial engagement undertaken with our sector to produce the VCSE Policy Paper (published in January 2020). The Accord also takes into account learning and reflections from the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 report of the GM Independent Inequalities Commission, the Marmot report ‘Building Back Better in Greater Manchester’, and the development of the GM Integrated Care System (ICS).

The GM VCSE Accord has created a shared collaboration space for the GM VCSE sector to work with the GM Combined Authority and GM Health and Social Care Partnership (soon to be replaced by the ICS).

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Greater Manchester Mental Health Strategy

There have been considerable pioneering examples of aligned strategic co-design, delivery and developments of our Mental Health Strategy in GM. Five years ago VCSE representatives were democratically selected to represent the sector across the GM Mental Health infrastructure and since then a Greater Manchester Leadership group of 22 leaders has emerged representing each locality and leading on system priorities. This approach has resulted in ground-breaking examples of integrated problem solving, examples of tackling structural inequity, increased funds reaching communities and a culture of including VCSE colleagues as equal partners at a strategic and governance level across Greater Manchester .

We continue to take steps to further strengthen this work as VCSE colleagues from geographical/local, issue and identity based perspectives take on more leadership roles to shape and influence the system developments at a GM and locality level. This opportunity to embed more key players in the strategy setting process and to play a key role in the translation of that strategy to local delivery and thematic areas will ultimately improve support and accountability for people across GM.

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The Leadership Group have supported Mustard Tree to co-ordinate a space for voluntary sector agencies to work together to better represent the issues and potential ideas to help tackle homelessness across GM. We established a steering group which has now merged into the Homeless Action Network (HAN), which helped to establish ‘A Bed Every Night’ emergency accommodation scheme across Greater Manchester. This work also fed into a national review of the homelessness situation in GM. We have reported the need for more support for people with complex health and social needs such as addiction and mental health issues which has resulted in new services being commissioned and supporting the case for investment by the NHS into tackling homelessness.

The next phase of this work is to work closely with the statutory sector around referral pathways and escalation routes into services as well as the 10 year Homelessness Prevention strategy.

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Inclusive Economy

Given the twin challenges of economic inequality and poverty in Greater Manchester, we recognise that the economy of Greater Manchester needs to be more inclusive, delivering better outcomes for all residents and ensuring everyone living in the city region can benefit from sustainable economic activity. We believe that VCSE organisations have a central role in achieving this, particularly in respect of encouraging economic activity in place with high levels of deprivation and poverty.

We are working to promote the VCSE sector’s role in the Greater Manchester economy.

View some of the tools developed as part of this work
Read our report on how to build a more inclusive economy
Read our economic vision for Greater Manchester


In early 2019, along with the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, we commissioned a partnership of Mind in Greater Manchester, Voluntary Sector North West, Bolton CVS and GMCVO to carry out the following:

  • A review of existing commissioning with the VCSE sector;
  • The inclusion of the VCSE sector into the GM Commissioning Academy programme;
  • The development of a VCSE commissioning framework to support commissioners.

We consulted with both commissioners and VCSE organisations to develop the VCSE Commissioning Framework which was signed off by the Joint Commissioning Board in February 2020.

In July 2021, a new preface was written for the framework, outlining its future in the context of:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic
  • The development of the Greater Manchester Integrated Care System
  • Deepening inequalities experiences by communities and the publication of the Greater Manchester Independent Inequalities Commission report
Download the VCSE Commissioning Framework

GM Equality Alliance

The GM Equality Allliance (GM=EqAl) is a coalition of organisations and individuals drawn from a wide range of communities of experience across Greater Manchester.

Hosted by GMCVO and funded by GM Health & Social Care Partnership/GMCA as part of the VCSE Accord, GM=EqAl works in alliance with VCSE, public and private sector individuals and organisations to connect communities and policy makers to assist with strategic equality and diversity work within the sub-region.  It takes a pan-equalities approach, focusing on the intersections between different forms of inequality, channeling multiple perspectives and developing solutions through dialogue.

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Population Health

Population Health, Public Health and of course their focus on prevention and the wider determinants of health are a big priority for the VCSE sector and the Leadership Group. Our sub-group brings together VCSE leaders to update one another on best practice developments across GM, and at a local authority level, and plan how we can have an influence together. We make sure there is VCSE representation in GM strategy and policy discussions and work together to be as efficient and well targeted as possible. In particular our sub-group has identified 5 main priorities for 2021-22:

  • Engagement and co-design with the new GM Data Hub
  • Co-design space to shape VCSE engagement in commissioning of GM Public Health prevention programmes and shaping the conditions and characteristics of a population health ‘system’ at different spatial levels
  • Focus on the design and then implementation of the Person Centred Community Approach/Social Prescribing and the new Live Well Approach
  • Develop accountability levers for Marmot/ Inequalities Commission recommendations in partnership with the GM Equality Alliance
  • Support the VCSE representatives to the Population Health Board
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Alternative Provider Federation

The Alternative Provider Federation is a place-based partnership of social enterprise and charitable organisations operating at scale across the Iintegrated Care System (ICS) footprint. Greater Manchester has a strong social enterprise / charity sector providing a range of NHS and Public Health services. Although many operate across multiple boroughs, they have sometimes struggled to scale across GM and integrate within the wider NHS ecosystem.

The proposed ICS structures across GM facilitate engagement of social enterprise and charitable providers on a borough level. The Federation will provide an infrastructure for alternative providers to engage with the ICS on a GM footprint. The Federation will complement the work of the wider VCSE sector and reinforce the engagement of the wider voluntary and community ecosystem in the GM ICS structures.

It will act as the provider arm of the VCSE Leadership Group and is reflected in the revised Accord between the GMCA, GM ICS and VCSE sector. The Alternative Provider Federation with complement the NHS Provider Federation, GP Federation, and participate in the Provider Assembly.

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Locality Engagement

Our aim is to enable VCSE organisations to become ‘anchors’ for their place or their community, creating resources, support and connections for them to thrive. The VCSE sector in each of Greater Manchester’s localities has different strengths and assets, and our locality engagement work helps to ensure our work is informed by, and co-designed with, VCSE groups and organisations in all ten boroughs.

We work closely with local VCSE infrastructure organisations and are looking at how we build on recent joint collaborative work, including the State of the Sector research and joint efforts to support Afghan refugees arriving into Greater Manchester. Our goal is to establish long term, collaborative working arrangements and support the implementation of the VCSE Accord commitments locally.

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