local government
voluntary sector

The Future of Civil Society

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:30

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Congress Centre, Central London


This Forum will provide participants with the opportunity to discuss the government’s new Civil Society Strategy: Building a Future that Works For Everyone, 2018 and how this will be implemented in practice.  Attendees will discuss with key architects of the strategy the next steps for strengthening public sector and community collaboration. In addition, best practice case studies will share guidance for developing innovative initiatives which have successfully been able to access funding and deliver public impact to create thriving communities.


This forum is specifically designed for the Voluntary Sector and Local Government. Typical job titles will include:

  • Programme Managers
  • Partnership Managers
  • Directors of Programmes
  • Heads of Community Engagement
  • Heads of Policy
  • Communities and VCS Leads
  • Directors
  • Chief Executives
  • Directors of Operations
  • Heads of Public Service Reform
  • Heads of Commissioning
  • Heads of Business Development
  • Project Managers
  • Finance Officers and Managers
  • Strategic Managers

This Forum is also open to the wide public and private sectors to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Danny Kruger, Expert Advisor, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Claire Dove OBE DL, Crown Representative of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE), Cabinet Office
  • Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK
  • Elizabeth Chamberlain, Head of Public Policy and Services, NCVO
  • David Fannin, Chief Executive, Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS)
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Professor Fergus Lyon, Professor of Enterprise and Organisations and Acting Director, Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research, Middlesex University (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Understanding and Implementing the Civil Society Strategy

  • Outlining the main objectives outlined in the Civil Society Strategy and the long-term impact that this will have on the civil society sector in creating a country that works for everyone
  • Examining the five foundations of social value and how the strategy plans to strengthen these foundations to deliver thriving communities across the UK
  • Supporting charities and social enterprises at the centre of decision-making and working in partnership with the voluntary sector to develop innovative initiatives to tackle social issues, such as financial exclusion and enhancing services for vulnerable people
  • Outlining the Revitalising Trusts initiative, which facilitates for £20 million of inactive trusts being transferred to local community groups to fund innovative initiatives and sharing guidance on how to access this
  • Discussing the revival of grant making outlined in the Civil Society Strategy and how this can ensure there is a balanced variety of funding options available which provides value for money

Danny Kruger, Expert Advisor, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Harnessing the Power of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector to Develop Public Services

  • Setting out a clear vision for modern commissioning and procurement in which public sector markets are open and accessible to the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector
  • Discussing the government’s commitment to collaborative commissioning and how this will enhance the role of local community organisations in delivering public services
  • Highlighting the importance of social value and how commissioning VCSE organisations to deliver public services can drive more personalised and effective support for communities 
  • Understanding the role of the VCSE Advisory Panel and how it will work to enable more VCSEs to successfully compete in public sector contracts
  • Supporting VCSE organisations to successfully compete for public sector contracts and supporting commissioners to build more avenues for collaboration with social enterprises
  • Promoting collaborative commissioning as a means for organisations to become more resilient, expand their activities and generate additional income

Claire Dove OBE DL, Crown Representative of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE), Cabinet Office (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Successfully Obtaining Inclusive Economy Partnership Funding to Improve Financial Inclusion

  • Securing funding from the Inclusive Economy Partnership (IEP), an innovative initiative led by Nesta in partnership with the government, designed to build an inclusive economy through fostering collaboration across sectors to combat societal challenges
  • Outlining how Money A+E improves outcomes for BAME and hard to reach communities by providing money advice and educational services, including workshops, community mentoring and 1 to 1 advice
  • Highlighting how this resulted in 95% of those participating in money workshops feeling more equipped to deal with welfare reform and a 92% increase in financial capability and wellbeing
  • Sharing guidance on how Money A+E successfully bid for funding, including how to demonstrate social impact and readiness to scale and deliver impact
  • Working in partnership across sectors, including collaboration with Metropolitan, Citizens UK and Comic Relief, to establish a successful and award-winning programme which improves financial exclusion and enhances public impact

Jerry During, Services Director, Money A+E (CONFIRMED)

PWC Social Entrepreneurs Club Award 2016 for Social Impact in the Community

Times Higher Award Shortlist for Community Engagement, 2016


Case Study: Working in Collaboration Across Sectors to Enhance Public Services and Reduce Costs

  • Working in partnership with the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust to pilot the You First programme, designed to co-ordinate local services, including housing, police and A&E, to provide intensive support for vulnerable adults
  • Examining the lessons learned in the creation of the You Can project which was a runner-up in the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards under the Health and Social Care category
  • Highlighting the success of a collaborative approach to enhancing public services: saving on average £232k of costs per annum, equating to approximately 29% cost reduction in services used
  • Explaining how voluntary and community sector organisations can work directly with service-users to design and deliver the programme, including the principal service specification, and the advantage this can give them in the bidding process
  • Discussing how partnership working allows services to be more focused on the needs of service users

Paul Kelly, Director of Operations, Resolving Chaos (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Creating an Environment in which Voluntary and Community Organisations can Thrive

  • Highlighting Camden Council’s history of working closely with local voluntary and community organisations and how this has contributed to a strong VCSE sector and led innovation in delivering public initiatives
  • Outlining how Camden Council developed a holistic approach to social value which includes support for the voluntary sector and ensures that social value considerations are taken throughout tendering processes
  • Engaging with the VCSE sector to co-produce frameworks that form the partnership between the sector and the council, including the Strategic Partners Fund
  • Examining Camden’s Community Impacts Scheme, a partnership with local voluntary organisations which commissions the VCSE sector to help address local social issues, such as rough sleeping and youth offending
  • Exploring the Camden 2025 vision, which sets out how the council plans to work with communities and local VCSE organisations to build a more inclusive society
  • Discussing how collaborating with VCSE organisations gives voice to residents, builds social capital, mobilises volunteers and improves the delivery of public services

Jessica Gibbons, Director of Community Services, Camden Council (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Improving Collaboration Between the Government and Civil Society to Tackle Societal Challenges

  • Examining the relationship between government and the voluntary sector and how the Civil Society Strategy aims to rebuild the relationship between government and civil society
  • Highlighting the specific commitments within the strategy designed to deliver cross-sector benefits
  • Understanding what the government’s renewed commitment to the Compact means, including involvement charities in policy-making and public service delivery
  • Outlining how the cross-government group promised in the strategy will work with civil society to ensure more effective involvement in the policy-making process

Elizabeth Chamberlain, Head of Public Policy and Services, NCVO (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Building Effective Partnerships Between Social Enterprise and the Public Sector

  • Outlining the current landscape for social enterprise collaboration with the public sector, including how the number of social enterprises winning public sector contracts has fallen to its lowest level in two years, and how the civil society strategy will look to improve this
  • Sharing best practice among ‘Social Enterprise Places’, which are hotspots of social enterprise activity which tackle societal challenges, and how Social Enterprise supports them to work with local councils, charities, businesses and consumers to grow social enterprise communities
  • Examining the advantages of working with social enterprise and charities for the public sector, such as a focus on the needs of beneficiaries, ability to garner community support and high levels of employee engagement
  • Collaborating with public sector organisations to help them build social value into their commissioning process and sharing guidance on how to do this effectively

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Taking a Place-Based Approach to Meet Local Needs

  • Providing a range of public services through local partnerships with the public sector, including a project delivered with Coventry Council that aims to identify people with support needs and prevent them from entering crisis
  • Engaging communities in tackling community issues, through creating Ideas Factories, which work as meeting places for co-creating solutions to shared problems, such as long waiting lists for therapies
  • Discussing how charities and local authorities can work in partnership to address local needs and sharing guidance on how this was facilitated successfully in Coventry
  • Outlining how the charity successfully bid for two rounds of funding from the Place Based Social Action Programme, which aims to bring together civil society, citizens, local authorities and businesses to address local priorities through collective action
  • Securing a range of funding options to deliver projects which deliver public impact, including the National Lottery Community Fund, the European Social Fund and the Early Action Neighbourhood Fund

Clare Wightman, Chief Executive, Grapevine Coventry and Warwickshire (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Establishing a Community Approach to Support Vulnerable Families

  • Working in partnership with local authorities to link families in need with a network of community volunteers in order to provide person-centred efficient care
  • Outlining how civil society can provide access to untapped resources for vulnerable people: how Safe Families illustrated that there are many people willing to volunteer for unpaid roles
  • Examining how the initiative has reduced the flow of children into care: providing over 4000 bed nights to children and the aim of reducing children in care by 10%
  • Discussing how the public sector and the community sector can work effectively in partnership to enhance the quality and accessibility of public services, reduce costs and creates thriving, supportive communities

Kat Osborn, Chief Executive, Safe Families for Children (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Engaging Local Volunteers to Deliver Community Action

  • Highlighting how engaging volunteers to co-deliver community initiatives can make services more efficient, save money and resources and tailor projects to local needs
  • Outlining the partnership between the Volunteer Centre Hackney, Hackney Council and other community organisations which aims to tackle the borough’s high rate of isolation by bringing communities together to volunteer for local initiatives
  • Sharing insight into the Volunteering for Hackney programme, an initiative aimed at providing support for small, locally based volunteer led projects to help them to lead social action in their communities
  • Examining the Our Place programme, a community-led volunteering project which brings together residents to develop local solutions to local issues, such as tackling loneliness through community gardening sessions and parent support groups
  • Sharing guidance on successfully recruiting volunteers and maximising outreach

Lauren Tobias, Chief Executive, Hackney Volunteer Centre (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Workshop Session: Successfully Writing Bids and Securing Contracts

  • Familiarise your organisation with procurement practices and develop the skills and capacity needed to successfully win contracts
  • Explore the best ways to find advertised contracts, for example through Contract Finder
  • Examine the legal context of commissioning including state aid considerations, administrative law procedural requirements and compliance with objectives set out in charity governance documents
  • Learn how to make the most effective use of networks and build the key relationships needed to be successful in the commissioning process

David Fannin, Chief Executive, Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS) (CONFIRMED)


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

Only 1 in 10 contracts published in the first half of 2018 were deemed suitable for VCSEs in Contracts Finder, according to research published by Tussell. Only 11% of these were subsequently won by VCSE organisations.

In an attempt to create a fairer society for all the government published the Civil Society Strategy in August 2018.

This strategy outlined the government’s plan to enhance collaboration between the voluntary and public sectors and to harness the potential of VCSE organisations in tackling prominent societal challenges. It established five foundations of social value, which would work together to create thriving communities: people, places, the social sector, the private sector and the public sector. Amongst the initiatives announced to create a collaborative approach to delivering public impact, was the re-distribution of £20 million from inactive charitable trusts to community foundations to invest in local communities.

This will be in addition to the allocation of £90 million of funding to a youth initiative to ensure that employers and the social sector work together to help young people transition into work. The strategy also outlined commitment to broadening the variety of funding options available to the VCSE sector by reviving grant making and exploring new models of community funding.

The onus now falls on organisations within the VCSE sector to ensure they are maximising the opportunities presented by the Civil Society Strategy to access funding and enhance their influence in the public sector to improve outcomes for beneficiaries. This will require the understanding of how to successfully bid for funding, measuring and demonstrating social impact and working in partnership with the public sector to improve outcomes and create thriving communities.

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