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Autumn 08


COVER’s quarterly review for the voluntary and community sector

02 Towards the best together Andrew Cogan looks at the new NHS action plan 03 A fruitful future? COVER’s topical annual conference 04 Regional funding advice Setting the region’s investment strategy 05 COVER’s annual review tells it like it is What COVER achieved for the VCS in 2008 06 A breathless hush in the close tonight What the economic downturn means for VCS 07 Tory Green Paper What does it offer us? 08 Is your LSP a legal entity? Helen Robinson discusses the issues of partnership 09 Brave new world of commissioning Andrew Cogan looks at the issues of commissioning 10 Stimulating Winter lecture series COVER introduces series of lectures for regional VCS 11 Mindful Employer COVER joins campaign to support employees

A fruitful future? The VCS in the Eastern region - COVER’s 2008 annual conference, 21 October 2008. A few places are still available for this year’s COVER annual conference which promises to be controversial, focusing as it does on the future of the voluntary sector in the East. Many of the changes that are affecting our sector emanate directly from central government, so who better to explain exactly what is happening and why, than Office of the Third Sector director general, Campbell Robb, who is our conference kenote speaker.

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Towards the best, together The regional action plan for better health in the Eastern region has been adopted by NHS East and there is much for the VCS to welcome in the plan. Its 10 year vision aims to deliver a better healthcare experience for patients, improving health for all and reduced unfairness in health provision. The plan has a clear focus concentrating on: • Prevention, health inequalities and timely interventions • Meeting the needs of individuals and Andrew Cogan, COVER CEO their carers • Providing localised services • Working in partnership with other providers • Developing a skilled workforce and • Delivering measurable and meaningful improvements There are also detailed commitments in eight clinical areas (pathways) with two areas, staying healthy and mental health, being prioritised. I can see many opportunities for the voluntary sector, especially if VCS health and social care networks and organisations are engaged more explicitly at regional, sub-regional and local levels. CLINICAL PATHWAYS Staying healthy. Among the highlights are: reducing life expectancy inequalities through preventative and well being services; developing integrated lifestyle support packages; developing an innovation fund to bring in new approaches to staying healthy; and strengthening health partnerships. Many of these targets link directly into

02 COVER chief executive, Andrew Cogan, looks at the new NHS Health Action Plan for the Eastern region and highlights opportunities for the voluntary sector.

VCS activities. For example, the focus on heart disease risk assessment could be enhanced by supporting community initiatives such as the Disability Essex community blood pressure testing bus. Mental health. The VCS can be broadly supportive of measures that include: promoting prevention and addressing stigma; and the early detection of dementia. In fact the VCS already provides services in early dementia detection through community based testing using guide cards for self and family testing, all of which can happen in a familiar environment, rather than an impersonal hospital. The plan’s desire to recruit new high and low intensity psychological therapists for talking therapies could again involve sub contracting with the VCS who have built expertise in this area. Children’s health. We’d naturally want the actions to be VCS inclusive, such as strengthening child and adolescent mental health services, and creating a Children’s Services Board to oversee the development of children’s health services. The excellent work done by our many children and young people’s charities and organisations could then be supported by strong health outcomes. Planned care. Again we’d want the actions to be VCS inclusive, so that recommendations to deliver more care closer to home and away from acute hospitals, and ensuring patient choice of where to go for planned care, can mesh in with existing services.

Long term conditions. The VCS can play a contributory role in developing personal health plans for people with long term medical conditions, since for every disease and long term condition, the VCS has support groups that can provide advice and encouragement, and indeed the VCS contribution should be a feature of the advice and planning process. Another recommendation to extend expert patient programmes, in conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia or Parkinson’s, can link to VCS patient groups and should be a prime element of the expert patient programme in terms of information, advice, support, befriending, care and brokerage. End of life care. Finally, recommendations to deliver choice in place of death, and to create and extend end of life services for both the family and carers, including bereavement counselling, supports the work already happening in hospices, and the sector’s bereavement expertise should be a prime part of this end of life service extension. The delivery of the Towards the Best, Together outcomes require the cooperation of VCS and independent providers who need to be explicitly involved in: the future strategic planning of services; the delivery of those services; and in the regional, sub regional and local monitoring of the delivery of these services. More at


A fruitful future? The VCS in the Eastern region - COVER’s 2008 annual conference, 21 October 2008 Cripps Court Conference Centre, Magdalene College, Cambridge THE WORKSHOPS The nuts and bolts of public service delivery How to tender, what’s a PQQ, what’s the difference between commissioning and contracting and much more.

Equally forthright will be our other nationally-recognised speaker, Craig DeardenPhillips, chief executive of advocacy and empowerment charity, Speaking Up.

Joint working between VCS organisations for public service delivery Why collaborate, how is joint working different, what do you need to think about and much more.

Craig, founder of the Cambridge-based charity and outspoken commentator on the role of the voluntary sector, will analyse the Government’s approach to the VCS, along with the sector’s own attitudes to risk, growth, competition and partnership.

How to get the best from your Local Strategic Partnership How do they work, what are they responsible for, what are National Indicators, how can the VCS get involved in LSPs and use them to their advantage.

Speakers from EEDA and GO-East will give a regional perspective on government activity, while a series of interactive workshops will focus on the topic many of you asked us to feature again - the localism agenda of Local Strategic Parnterships, Local Area Agreements, public service delivery and the recent Local Government White Paper.

What’s the Local Government White Paper got to do with us? What does this important document contain, how does it shape LA/VCS relationships, how do we link into the LA’s ‘duty to co-operate’ and more.

THE BENEFITS OF ATTENDING • Hear from a range of national and regional speakers • Network with delegates from across the region • Attend lively, interactive workshops • It’s FREE for VCS groups from the eastern region to attend

HOW TO BOOK Download the promotional flyer and booking form at the COVER website or request copies from the COVER office. 01799 532880

Campbell Robb, Director General, Office of the Third Sector

Continued from front cover> Campbell, who has a background in the voluntary sector, has strong views about the role of the sector and has agreed to answer questions from the floor - so don’t miss the opportunity to pose those tough questions to the man at the heart of government’s third sector activity.

04 Regional funding advice: setting the region’s investment strategy The Regional Funding Advice (RFA) encourages regions to develop and deliver a regionally agreed, coherent, investment programme which aligns aspects of spatial planning, economic development, housing and regeneration. It also contributes to a wider conversation between the Government, businesses, local authorities, the third sector and individuals in the region. Government Office is facilitating the process in the region, with EEDA leading the economic development theme of the RFA. We have invited EEDA’s investment & policy manager, Grazina Keen, to introduce us to the RFA and explain its significance to the voluntary sector. The Review of Sub National Economic Development in 2007 recognised the success of the first round of RFAs and announced the Government’s commitment to a second, expanded exercise covering a wider range of funding streams. It is hoped that this exercise will help regions co-ordinate strategies, and enhance their input into government policy and public spending decisions that will promote sustainable economic development. It will also extend the Government’s understanding of the challenges that face regions and ensure that investments are focused on the right developments, at the right time. The guidance, setting out the scope and arrangements for the second round of the

RFA, was published in July and regions are required to submit their advice to the Government by the end of February 2009. The East of England region is being asked to: • Provide specific, and evidenced, funding priorities for each year up to 2018/19 • Identify how these priorities will be met within the funding available (£2.5b for 2008/11, £7.54b for 2011/19) • Demonstrate how investment priorities will help raise the rate of sustainable economic growth and deliver national targets • Explain any trade-offs that have been made • Demonstrate an integrated approach to investment planning, showing clear links between the themes within the RFA • Provide advice that is clearly sequenced, showing how programmes of activity support growth over time • Identify how the advice would change if funding, or costs, increased or decreased by 10% East of England implementation plan EEDA is developing the RFA as part of a wider work programme to produce the implementation plan for the recently revised Regional Economic (RES) and Regional Spatial (RSS) Strategies. The plan will reflect the wider aims of the region and provide the longer term context, alongside the RFA process, to demonstrate a stronger integrated approach to investment planning. Over the next few months EEDA will be working closely with EERA, GOEast, businesses and partners from

the voluntary and community sector to develop a clear and effective plan on how funding is best invested, since the guidance on developing advice emphasises the importance of advice being based on a wide consensus and reflecting the views of the broadest range of stakeholders. Developing the RFA The RFA is being developed alongside the implementation plan, with representatives from the VCS engaged in its development and sustainability appraisal. Further engagement sessions will be organised shortly to ensure the VCS is involved in the discussions to decide what the programmes of intervention should be across the four RFA work streams of: transport; housing and regeneration; economic development; and skills. Work has commenced on the four work streams, with individual working groups set-up to develop advice for each of the themes, engage relevant partners and identify inter-dependencies with other work streams and the East of England implementation plan. GO-East will act as the facilitator of the process, ensuring that regional partners have a clear understanding of the task and that points are clarified by government departments in advance of submission. The Regional Partnership Group will oversee the development of the RFA and will sign it off prior to presenting it to the Government.


COVER annual review tells it like it is

2008 has been one of the most challenging years for COVER in its nine year history, together with much of the voluntary sector in the East. Our annual review reflects these challenges - many of them the result of changing government priorities and the re-allocation of both national and regional funding streams. COVER chief executive, Andy Cogan, doesn’t pull his punches in the review, highlighting the tough issues facing COVER, its members and the wider VCS. Two important programmes for the organisation, and the region as a whole, have come to an end this year and we must seek other opportunities. The Community Champions Fund, which COVER ran for eight years and gave small grants to new, grassroots projects, has been an outstanding success for the region, awarding nearly £1.5m to more than 1,100 community projects across the region. Meanwhile the Empower Programme, a £222,000, three-strand Learning and Skills Council/ European Social Fund project, concluded in September. With partners Rural Action East, VYSER, Business Link Cambs and numerous county partners, we were able to improve VCS services through community development and youth work training, and support voluntary groups to

gain the Investors in People quality mark. But like any responsible business facing a tough operating environment, COVER is considering a variety of possible scenarios to see us up to and beyond the next general election, based on what we currently know about the political and economic situation. However, we are convinced that there is a role for a strong VCS body that responds to the concerns of the VCS and promotes the strengths of the voluntary sector to our public and private sector partners. Meanwhile, COVER chair, Mark Mitchell, points to the opportunities that exist for voluntary organisations within the new funding strands. Three hundred million pounds of European Social Fund money will be spent on employment and skills over the next five years, while £150m of European Regional Development Fund money will be given to regional low carbon growth activities over

the same time frame – both areas where the VCS has expertise and can get involved. This autumn also sees the Joint Implementation Plan for the Regional Spatial and Regional Economic Strategies kick in. At the same time the NHS East ‘Towards the Best, Together’ plan for the next three years moves from plans, to actions and investments and we are determined that the VCS should not only be a beneficiary of these plans, but also partners. INFO POINT Download a copy of the annual report at the COVER website or request copies from the COVER office. 01799 532880

06 A breathless hush in the close tonight Andrew Allen, COVER’s Regional Intelligence Manager, shares his concerns about the sector’s unpreparedness for the coming economic tidal wave. Generally, talk of economics makes me feel uneasy. It might be my quiet terror of GCSE exams with graphs allegedly showing ‘supply’ and ‘demand’. But my current sense of foreboding goes beyond this. It is not just a fear of what instability in the banking system, collapsing revenue from taxes and spiralling utility bills means for me individually. It also comes from my concern about how unprepared the wider society is to deal with what is to come. The real impact of the bursting financial bubble will hit in about six months’ time. Since that is how long it will take for the effects to seep into public spending plans. The UK economy will be billions of pounds short of where the Chancellor’s March budget predicted, with significant impacts on taxes, public spending and employment. While the detail is unclear, the direction is very obvious. There is currently a lot of discussion across the voluntary sector of joint-working and mergers. Depressingly,

some of that will turn into talk of cuts and closures. That is the reality of voluntary organisations struggling to make ends meet. But there has been far less discussion of something equally important. What will an economic downturn mean for the role of the sector? Voluntarism is, after all, society’s response to hardship and difficulty – if there is a problem, we come together to address it. The voluntary sector is larger, better resourced and better connected than at any time in its history. And yet in some ways we are worse placed to respond to what society needs from us. Many traditional social linchpins - church, family, community – are shadows of their former selves. Equally, ten years of professionalisation within the voluntary sector have begun to align us more with government objectives than society’s needs. The cliché says disaster is a time of opportunity. To treat it as such, we

“What will an economic downturn mean for the role of the sector?” should be promoting the sector’s skills and experience in responding to social difficulty. That means setting out our collective stalls in supporting people and communities, providing advice services, developing training and skills, promoting entrepreneurship and the range of other things voluntary organisations do better than anyone else. COVER is organising a series of events to help VCS organisations plan for the future, and we have made substantial improvements to our website as both a source of information and a place for discussion. We continue to promote the interests of the sector through our projects and research. If you share our determination for a strong voluntary and community sector in the East of England get involved now.

07 Tory VCS Green Paper: what does it offer us? The Conservative Party launched a Green Paper during the summer, setting out how a future Tory government would support the role of the voluntary sector. COVER’s regional intelligence manager, Andy Allen, gives his take on this 98-page document. A Stronger Society: Voluntary Action in the 21st Century, reads as a confident, coherent and well thoughtthrough manifesto. It is undoubtedly part of the Conservatives’ positioning as a socially-progressive party of the centre and picks up many established voluntary sector concerns. As a result it has received a largely positive response from national voluntary sector representative bodies. In its philosophical justification, A Stronger Society draws on arguments from both left and right of the political spectrum and, although officially a consultation, no timetable has been set for comments and an amended version, based on responses receive, is unlikely before the next general election.

the main ways to do this are through: influencing the environment in which people give their time and money; providing financial assistance and acting as a purchaser of services supplied by the voluntary sector.

“. . . the voluntary sector will provide many of the solutions to tomorrow’s problems”.

David Cameron, Conservative Party Leader

Rationale The Green Paper positions the VCS as ‘the first place we should look for the answers that neither the state nor the market can provide’ and identifies the role of the VCS as: tackling poverty and extending opportunity; strengthening communities; and promoting the talents and potential of all the people.

It believes that current government initiatives are failing because excessive intervention is cowing the VCS to the whims of the state (I think we all recognise that). And the bureaucracy of inspections, monitoring and enforcement are overwhelming the VCS’ natural strengths (here! here!). Their final coup de grace is that centralisation is undermining organisations’ freedom to act on their own initiative (throw caps in air cheering!).

It goes on to say that the role of government should be to nourish voluntarism, altruism, independence and diversity in civil society, and that

The consequence of all this is that: voluntarism is being eroded; less money is being given by the public in donationsl and fewer volunteers are being recruited.

The Green Paper sets out Conservative policy responses over three sections: Part 1, What the citizen can do for the voluntary sector, mainly focuses on giving and volunteering; and Part II, What the voluntary sector and the State can do together, looks at issues such as co-operatives and the Compact. But I want to concentrate on Part II, which examines what the State can do for the voluntary sector. What the State can do for the voluntary sector There are three main themes within this section: • Grant Funding: In contrast to the current government approach, there is a Conservative promise to ‘use contracts, rather than grants , only where there is a clear justification for doing so’. There are also proposals to manage grants with a greater independence from government. • Social Enterprise: Focussing on the absence of investment and incentives for social enterprises. • Public Service Delivery: ‘Participation in the delivery of public services is both the greatest opportunity and the greatest threat facing the voluntary sector’, with proposed solutions aiming to put voluntary bodies on an equal footing with the private sector. Continues on back page>

08 Is your Local Strategic Partnership a legal entity? Helen Robinson, chief executive of Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services, explains some of the issues that voluntary groups need to be aware of before committing to their Local Strategic Partnership. Does your Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) exercise a public function, such as distributing funding? If it does, it could amount to the LSP holding a legal status equivalent to that of a public body. Once an LSP becomes a legal entity, all partners have equal responsibility for its actions but, more importantly for voluntary sector organisations, equal liability. With increasing calls upon voluntary agencies to become involved in LSPs, the sector needs to be aware of the implications of joining any partnership. Get involved by all means is our advice, but understand the consequences of doing so. By way of an example, if a public body states that it is going to act in a certain way, the courts interpret this as a promise. Accordingly, it may be regarded as an abuse of power, and therefore unlawful, for the body to subsequently break its promise and act in a contrary manner. This may cover promises to hold consultations, to make decisions using a particular process, or even to give some tangible benefit, such as the right to occupy a property for a given period of time. Of course the rule is not absolute,

circumstances do change and sometimes promises cannot be kept. The court will, however, expect a public body to have a very good reason for breaking its promise. It is sometimes thought that where public bodies are given discretion in a particular field, they may exercise it in whatever manner they think best. This is not correct. Whatever a public body does, it must be able to point to a legal provision which permits it to act in such a way. Thus, if an action, or inaction, is based on an erroneous interpretation of the law, or where the decision-making process is unfair or biased, then those who are detrimentally affected by the decision or process have the right to challenge it, using one of the remedies available. And that challenge would be made to all partners of the LSP. What we did about it As an infrastructure organisation ourselves, we are involved in a wide range of working groups arising from our LSP. We heard of the Public Law Project’s (PLP) training programme, aimed at the voluntary sector. The PLP course significantly increased our knowledge

and confidence in questioning how partnerships are governed and operated. With no promises of freebies or monies, we can happily plug the training course and the advice line for voluntary sector organisations. The advice we received not only helped us understand the law, it also provided us with an insight into the most appropriate tactical approach when challenging a decision made by a public body. We would strongly recommend it. The advice line run by the PLP provides free, detailed legal advice to voluntary organisations on disputes involving public bodies’ decisions and failures. PLP’s lawyers will also take on particular cases to resolve disputes through complaints procedures, the Ombudsman schemes or court proceedings.

INFO POINT PLP advice line: 020 7697 2198 For information about PLP training email or visit


The Brave New World of Commissioning and Contracting COVER CEO, Andrew Cogan muses on the problematic issues that commissioning and tendering is raising for the VCS in the region. research around skills, employment and enterprise. But the multi-million pound opportunities in EEDA’s main European programme, the ERDF, are around the low carbon growth programme. As an example, EEDA recently approved a £6m programme for Business Link East to provide energy advice to SMEs.

The rewards Multi-year, multi-million pound contracts are the norm for Jobcentre Plus, all centred around the Welfare to Work programme, which aims to get people off benefits and into work. Likewise, the focus of LSC programmes is skills, skills and more skills, with the outcomes sought being mainly entry level and NVQ2 qualifications, with a smaller programme for higher level skills needed by small to medium employers, including the VCS.

The hurdles Pre-Qualifying Questionnaires (PQQs): EEDA, Jobcentre Plus and LSC all use PQQs as a first hurdle in the tendering process. It ensures that all bidders have: suitable health and safety, equalities and sustainability policies in place; and can meet the quality thresholds in terms of standards of service delivery, competences of staff, and management and financial capability to run contracts. In a recent contract bid, COVER passed the EEDA and LSC PQQ, but not the Jobcentre Plus one, as we did not have the experience of running large, multi-million pound contracts.

Meanwhile, EEDA does put out a range of smaller contracts, often for regional

The same issue applies if VCS groups form a larger delivery partnership, since

no partner will have the experience of handling a large delivery partnership. As a result most of the VCS is excluded from Jobcentre Plus prime contracting. Invitations to Tender (ITTs): From a VCS point of view, it is often like waiting for a bus - you wait and wait, and then two turn up at the same time. ITTs have inherent problems - the application timescale is often too short; the size, shape and complexity of the tender often means that partners need to be found, partnerships forged and the roles, risks, range of outputs, milestones and outcomes have to be shared out. So, if you are a VCS SME you will probably find that the deadline is too short, that too many tenders are out at once and that you have limited capacity to respond. In addition, experienced bid writers can cost £300-400 a day or more, so that a complex regional tender can easily cost £4-5,000 to put together, with no certainty of a return.

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Andrew Cogan Chief Executive, COVER

As part of the choice agenda, the Government has pledged to open up the procurement of public services, so that increasing amounts of publicly funded work will be put out to tender. At a regional level, Jobcentre Plus, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), now routinely put work out to tender via their websites. But you have to check their websites regularly or you may lose out.

10 Winter lecture series promises to stimulate and provoke COVER is working with the University of Cambridge to run a joint series of lectures, specifically for the VCS, with nationally recognised speakers. The events, which will be hosted by the University, will address issues pertinenet to the future of the voluntary sector in the East of England. COVER is in discussions with well-known speakers from a variety of disciplines to address how movements in political, economic and social thinking are likely to impinge upon the voluntary sector. COVER regional intelligence manager, Andrew Allen explains further: “VCS organisations need to consider what future trends mean for the capacity of the sector, its independence and longterm future. Much of COVER’s regional communication is made up of the nuts and bolts practicalities of working with the voluntary sector. This is undoubtedly important work but there is also a need to help the voluntary sector address longer term issues. This lecture series will help to do this by supporting the medium term planning processes of voluntary organisations and lifting senior management’s eyes away from the detail to the big picture”.

Potential themes currently under discussion include: • What if the Tories win? Expectations, opportunities and support for the voluntary sector • A whole new world. What do trends in society mean for how VCS organisations should go about business planning? • Economic realities. What are the new economic realities for the voluntary sector, its role and future activities? The events are intended for an audience of invited senior executives from the regional VCS and will be held throughout the Winter. “The intention is to provide stimulating and provocative thinking about the future, as well as an opportunity for VCS leaders to question expert speakers and network with other regional executives”. Further details about the lecture series will be available in due course.

Continued from previous page> Outcomes You win: A complex contract, which puts a lot of the risk your way, together with stretching milestones, a problematic outcome-based cash flow, and a number of sub-clauses, which will have to be agreed before you can deliver the work. This can take months. You lose: In COVER’s case, we had reasonable expectations of our bid to run the re-tendered Community Grants programme in the region. We had passed the PQQ which meant we had the policies, capacity and experience to run the programme. We had successfully run the region wide Community Champions Fund for eight years. We had had our bid put together by a successful and experienced ESF bid writer who had dotted every i and crossed every t. However, juding by our score sheet, only available on request and, for which there is no appeal process, we scored so badly on the first section that they did not score the rest. We have Investors in People status, we have a CPD programme that means all staff are competent and qualified and we had successfully delivered a government programme across the region since 2000. If, despite all this experience, COVER still scores poorly, then few regional VCS organisations will pass either. The message seems to be that for some LSC work, the VCS need not apply. Only public sector or quasi public sector bodies are wanted. As one Jobcentre Plus manager put it recently, most of the VCS should confine themselves to seeking subcontracted work from prime contractors. If you’ve had similar experiences and would like to share them, please email


Support to employ staff with mental health issues

Stress, depression and anxiety are the cause of more lost working days than any other work-related illness. But with the right support, people with mental health issues can, and do, stay in work. And with the right support, organisations can continue to operate successfully, while employing and supporting people with mental health concerns. That support comes in the form of the Mindful Employer initiative, to which COVER has recently signed-up. It is a voluntary agreement, led by employers and aimed at increasing awareness of mental health issues in the workplace and supporting organisations in recruiting and retaining staff. A wide range of employers, including the voluntary and community sector, have been involved in planning the initiative which gives businesses and organisations ongoing practical support, training materials, an online discussion forum, support networks and assistance from other employers. Mindful Employer Charter Any employer in the UK can sign the Charter, whether from the public, private or voluntary sector. You can even be

involved in Mindful Employer without signing the Charter, but more than 300 employers have already made this tangible commitment to the wellbeing of their staff including primary care trusts, colleges, volunteer bureaus, city councils, the NHS, police forces, mortgage companies, and large charities like Amnesty International and Community Service Volunteers. Why be a Mindful Employer? • Show others/your own staff you are a good employer • Reduces recruitment and training costs • Helps you comply with legislation e.g. DDA & HSE • Makes yours a healthier workplace • Reduces sickness levels • Enhances customer service • Improves productivity • Makes you more attractive to people with mental health issues • Helps you retain staff who have experienced discrimination in the past.

“We view our staff as our most valuable resource, so we were keen to get involved and encourage other voluntary groups to make a commitment to the programme as well”. Andrew Cogan, COVER Chief Executive

INFO POINT Mindful Employer regionally is facilitated in association with National Institute for Mental Health England (NIHME), part of the Department of Health’s Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP). Eastern region contacts are: Lesley Bailey / Jennette Fields Tel. 01206 287595 WorkWAYS facilitate the scheme nationally and can be contacted on: 01392 208833 |

Contact Us Continued from page 6> 

COVER Community & Voluntary Forum Eastern Region Eagle Stile Rectory Farm Barns Walden Road Little Chesterford CB10 1UD

01799 532 880

COVER is an independent membership organisation that represents and coordinates community and voluntary groups in the East of England. Our vision is of a just and inclusive society that recognises and supports the value, and values, of the community and voluntary sector, Our mission is to develop, encourage and maximise the impact of voluntary organisations and community groups on social, economic and environmental policies in the East of England.

Company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales. Company number: 3850130 Registered charity number: 1085380

The COVER Team Chief Executive Andrew Cogan Finance & Office Manager Judith Hartley Finance Administrator Leyla Newling Administrators Janice Mossey Mandy Crawley Susan West Regional Intelligence Manager Andrew Allen Communications Co-ordinators Becky Barrett Kate Allsopp Regional VCS Skills Strategy Manager Nikki Bennett EU Programmes Manager Jan Cunningham

Tory policy proposals include:: • Establishing a distinction between core public services, in which voluntary sector delivery is commissioned through contracts, and discretionary public expenditure, where sector initiatives are supported through grants. • Introducing a fair deal on grants, to deliver multi-funding periods, simplified funding streams, lightly specified grant conditions and other aspects of good grant funding practice. • Operating a one-stop funding portal for statutory grants and requiring grant schemes to be registerd on a single, simple website. • Establishing a fund seeker’s passport scheme to eliminate repetitive grant applications. • Replacing the Big Lottery FUnd with a Voluntary Action Lottery Fund dedicated to the VCS. • Piloting and promoting bottom-up funding streams that ensure funding decisions reflect local knowledge about local needs. • Reform capacity building away from quangoes e.g. Futurebuilders, and towards a commissioning of support by individual organisations through the CVSs and other providers. • Boost access to social investment by creating a network of social enterprise zones. Read the full document and Andy’s summary via the COVER website.

COVER is funded by the East of England Development Agency.

COVER Autumn Bulletin 2008  

COVER Autumn Bulletin 2008

COVER Autumn Bulletin 2008  

COVER Autumn Bulletin 2008