STP -15.12.16 Note from Carole Cumino VCS ‘Representative’ on STP Programme Board

Sustainability and Transformation Plan Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Note from Carole Cumino – VCS ‘Representative’ on STP Programme Board

The full STP proposals are now publically available and can be seen at


Page 19 sets out the priorities for transformation, and in particular:
‘Engage with the voluntary and community sector to build vibrant and sustainable partnerships that harness innovation, further strengthen community resilience and place based solutions’.

The key section relating to the voluntary sector is p.74 of the plan:

Engaging communities and the voluntary sector


Owner Martin Samuels, Herefordshire Council
• We recognise the importance of reengineering our system so that health and care services work alongside thriving communities to realise the value of individuals, their informal networks and wider communities. Being able to respond to the new landscape ahead requires the vision and commitment of all and embracing different partners into a new way of working. In particular this includes listening and responding to different solutions that are presented by the VCS, who often have effective methods, if not the means, to support those facing multiple disadvantage.
• The adoption of “a better conversation” approach across the wider system; including volunteers, community champions to develop a lay coaching model to focus on what is important to the individual in managing their day to day lives with a health condition.
• We recognise the depth of understanding that the sector can bring and the significant benefits of prevention. There are numerous asset based activities already implemented across our STP, creating social capital across our communities and we want to scale up this approach to promote and strengthen the factors that support good health and wellbeing, protect against poor health and foster positive communities and networks.
• The VCS has a vital role in reducing demand on formal services such as unplanned hospital admissions for example through care navigation/bridging roles, peer support and group activities . The sector also helps to address health inequalities by contributing to wider social outcomes such as employment and school attendance.
• Therefore, we need to find ways to tap into the energy, enthusiasm and innovation of the VCS in a coordinated manner, including a simplification of the commissioning process to enhance the contribution that the VCS can make, particularly those grassroots community organisations who struggle with complex commissioning arrangements. We will also strengthen how we support volunteering, recognising the assets and capacity of the workforce in our wider system planning

However, there are other sections in the main body pf the plan that will need to involve and engage the VCS if they are to be implemented successfully, for example;
• Partners across the footprint recognise that the solution to the sustainability and efficiency challenges facing health and social care cannot be dealt with by partners nor organisations working alone. Individuals, families, local communities, Voluntary and Community Sector Partners all have a core role to play in developing solutions.
• Development of dementia services – with a focus on early intervention, strengthened VCS links and interface with frailty pathway
• We will be better at helping residents to draw on the support available from their local communities and voluntary groups, and we will help those communities and groups develop the capacity to meet these needs. We will use social impact bonds and social prescribing to support this
• Support patients and carers to self-manage their own conditions, harnessing voluntary sector partners and communities to support independence and reduce loneliness.
• Support people to manage their own health, linking them with social support systems in their communities and identify when a non-clinical intervention will produce the best experience and outcomes for patients.

The extent of engagement needs to more than just the standard engagement events being delivered to staff and the public . If the VCS is to be properly ‘engaged’, this needs to be embedded in the various work programmes  currently being finalised, and the Programme Director and ultimately the Programme Board need to make sure this happens.

We already know from VCS engagement events that various organisations already have services (and in some cases funding) that could contribute to the implementation of the STP, but have found it difficult to find someone who can make decisions within existing  health and social structures, and who is willing to look outside the statutory sector.

The big question is how do we take this forward, and this will form the next part of the discussion over the next few weeks. Ideas on the best way of doing this would be welcomed, together with any thoughts on other parts of the plan that may either have an impact on or involve the VCS as delivery partners.

A key theme will also be the item on p.74 about simplifying  commissioning processes – it’s a good idea, but we need to have a clear idea about his this might work.

Working with my fellow VCS representative from Herefordshire, Jacqui Bremner, we will the take any ideas and questions back to the STP Programme Team , and they will also be useful to help shape VCS engagement events over the next few weeks and months.