Doing the right thing isn’t always the easy thing.
As many of you will be intensely aware, the recommended recipients of the fully reviewed IJB grant programme will be published in the Board papers on Friday 7th December.
For some organisations this will mean stability for three years, but inevitably for others the announcement will bring bad news – closure of services and difficult decisions will have to be made. At EVOC we have been planning how we can offer constructive support to organisations through this time.
The papers are recommendations to the IJB and the final decision will be made at the meeting on 14th December 2018.
Like so many organisations the majority of EVOC staff are part time so most of my team won’t be around on Friday 7th to offer immediate advice and support but Denise Horn (0131 555 9117) and I (0131 555 9105) are both happy to lend a listening ear if that helps.
For ongoing support if you complete our referral form and head it up “grants enquiry” we will work out the best person within EVOC to help you, or signpost you to someone else who can. We have scheduled a meeting early next week to review the potential impact on organisations, services users, carers and communities. We will then be able to respond to the enquiries which have come in – so if you don’t hear from us immediately please don’t feel forgotten. But do call and if we can answer immediate questions we will.
We will be running training courses to support you, whether you find yourself needing to make funding applications to ensure to ensure the sustainability of your organisation, need advice and support to close services or review all your options. We have allocated some funds to be able to provide one-to-one support with consultants on relevant issues such as strategic planning, change management and succession planning. These will be free to any organisation impacted by the grants decisions.
In terms of the broader impact on communities, the IJB and the associated work programmes are very aware of the need to take account of the impact of the grants decisions. I would also urge you to participate in EVOC forums and networks so we can work together to discuss the impact, share ideas and gain support from each other.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions about what else would help.
Chief Executive, EVOC
When I welcomed you to the Conference on 7th November I said our ambition was to challenge you. I was clear that over the next 3 to 5 years things were probably going to get beyond tough. We know that public funds will diminish, other funders have reducing resources and we have increasing demand. So in time honoured tradition our Sector must be and will be at the forefront of thinking and doing things differently. We know from our research at EVOC that most organisations have worked hard over the last few years to diversify their funding streams but are we still doing the same things with the funds?
I hope you were suitably challenged! I hope that you found the day inspiring and invigorating but more importantly I hope you will take time to reflect on discussions you had during the morning and rise to the challenge of change.
Thank you to Diarmaid Lawlor, Director of Place at Architecture and Design Scotland who kicked off the Conference by talking about the importance of our physical surroundings and how they influence the space in which we speak, think, learn and create. He introduced the concept of authorising environments and how we often overlook how we welcome people to such spaces. Authorising environments, when done well, can be a powerful acknowledgement of a person’s or a community’s feeling of inclusion and engagement.
View and download Diarmaid’s slides.
We were joined in the afternoon by the Leader of City of Edinburgh Council, Councillor Adam McVey, who gave an overview of City of Edinburgh Council’s current activities and 52 pledges they aim to fulfil throughout the term of the administration. He emphasised the £21 million of cuts the Council will have to make by 2018/2019 and the further savings of £150 million by 2023.
Talking to the issues raised in our manifesto Everybody’s Edinburgh, Councillor McVey discussed the creation of a homelessness task force and the Council’s pledge to build 20,000 affordable homes over the next five years. He went on to highlight the growing population of Edinburgh, the impact this will have on service provision and housing, and the need for the Council to work more collaboratively with the third sector to meet the needs of our citizens. Councillor McVey also recognised the unequal impact of current procurement processes and that more needs to be done to find a way to mitigate this inequality.
Special thanks to all those who attended our workshops, your input was invaluable. We are currently processing the feedback which will inform the next stages of work, and we will be in touch over the coming months.
Our facilitators have provided a brief overview of the sessions and their outcomes:
At three different events this spring, EVOC has brought together interested people from across the Third Sector to look at the direction of the new Health & Social Care Integrated Joint Board. Hopefully everyone who would want to be involved has had chance, but as you’ll read elsewhere there is one more opportunity to engage on Monday 8th June.
EVOC also has a page dedicated to the planning of Health & Social Care Integration – including feedback, background papers & more.
So, why have we been bringing people together? Well, we are at the start of writing the new corporate body’s Strategic Plan. We believe that this is a great opportunity to cement the values, approaches and desires of Third Sector organisations into the system.
If you’ve not heard about this before, don’t panic. There will be a full three month consultation during the early autumn and EVOC will work closely with anyone who wants to work with us, to bring people together around themes of interest – e.g. What will the new IJB do for the city’s sensory impaired?
Busy times ahead. Anxiety about budgets yes, but optimism around planning? Maybe aye.
On Wednesday 27th May, The Queen issued her first Conservative Speech in nearly two decades.
The speech, which can be read in full at www.gov.uk, outlines new proposed legislation, which (among other proposed policies) includes:
- An ”In/Out” EU Referendum Bill by 2017, which will decide whether Britain remains part of the European Union
- A National Insurance Contributions and Finance Bill, which will see no increase in income tax rates, VAT or national insurance before 2020
- A Childcare Bill to greatly increase provision of free childcare in England by 2017 – to up to 30 hours per week for 3-4 year olds*
- A Full Employment and Benefits Bill – which would aim to create more jobs, as well as a planned reduction in the welfare cap – from £$26,000 to £23,000. As part of the government’s welfare reforms, young people will be required to “earn or learn”, with automatic entitlement to housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds scrapped
- Further devolved powers to Scotland, as part of plans to deliver “a strong and lasting constitutional settlement”. The Scottish Parliament will be given new tax and welfare powers, under the proposals following the recommendations of the Smith Commission on Scottish devolution.
- Further devolved powers will also be given Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as ‘English Votes for English Laws’
- A Psychoactive Substance Bill– blanket ban on so-called legal highs
- An Immigration Bill – will include a new offence of illegal working – with police given the power to seize the wages paid to illegal workers as the “proceeds of crime”. It will also become an offence for businesses and recruitment agencies to hire abroad without first advertising in the UK
- A “truly seven day” NHS by 2020 – Increased investment by at least £8 billion a year by 2020, as well as extending opening hours within England*
- Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill – Measures to protect charities from abuse and to strengthen the powers of the Charity Commission for England and Wales feature in this bill. It is also designed to enable charities to more easily undertake social investments*
- Proposals for a British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act
*N.B - These are devolved matters and applicable to England only.
The Guardian’s public leaders network, in which our previous colleague Milind Kolhatkhar serves on the 2015 Editorial Board, compiled a list of leaders across the U.K’s hopes and fears for the new proposed legislation, and in light of the Speech, will be adding their response to the outlined proposals.
EVOC Director Ella Simpson had her own speech, commenting :
“I am deeply disappointed that the Queen’s Speech does not address the increasing issue of “in work poverty”. I cannot get my head around the supposed logic of wages being so low that people have to claim in work benefits – which come from the tax system! Surely that is the most negative economic cycle ever and contributes to the divisions within our society.
I am also concerned that the proposal to withdraw housing benefit from young people will result in an increase in youth homelessness. There is robust evidence which demonstrates the devastating impact on individuals and families when relationships breakdown to the extent that young people feel they have no option but to leave the family home – which in turn puts a much higher burden on the public purse. Surely supporting families and young people to find the right solution is a much better use of the diminishing public pound.”
The full impact of the proposed legislation remains to be seen, but we can be sure the Third Sector will be at the forefront fighting for social justice and equality.
As Bob Dylan once wrote, the times they are a-changing. With austerity cuts continuing to clamp down with devastating effect across the Third Sector and beyond, it is hard to gain clear advice and support in order to continue to develop sustainable, resilient organisations and build Social Value.
EVOC is a helping hand for Voluntary Organisations, an oasis in a desert.
Membership of EVOC is open to all organisations and individuals. There are two membership options available: full membership for Voluntary Organisations, and associate membership for individuals and statutory or private organisations.
As a full member of EVOC your organisation will have access to a wealth of resources, including:
- Organisational support
- Discounted & personalised training
- Priority bookings for any EVOC events
– plus the opportunity to help determine how EVOC should be run – through the right to vote at EVOC’s AGM (or any other General or Extraordinary General Meetings of the organisation) and a say in the governance of EVOC.
Associate membership helps to support the purposes, missions and values of EVOC, and is available to individuals, statutory and private organisations. Whilst associate membership doesn’t have any governance or benefit privileges, it does support the purposes, missions and values of EVOC.
EVOC membership is vital as it allows us to continue our work in developing Edinburgh’s Third Sector.
More information about joining EVOC can be found in our Membership section
After four years, we are approaching the end of the Reshaping Care for Older People Change Fund and it’s maybe time to reflect. Lots of things haven’t changed. Many of them negative like delayed discharge issues, or pressure on care at home. But at the same time It certainly feels that other things have changed, I certainly observe that people appear to be wanting to work closer together, there’s more trust, there’s an enthusiasm for collaboration, there’s a sense of everyone trying their best to do their bit to make things work.
Research and evaluation evidence has shown that many parts of the Change Fund in Edinburgh have made more concrete changes too – at the Older People’s Service Providers Forum we regularly review papers outlining these successes.
And so it is on to the next initiative. The Integrated Care Fund has arrived in town and thankfully, due in large part to some intense, grown-up partnership working, a Prevention Investment Fund continues the good work of Third Sector organisations in delivering the prevention agenda – information in this report.
The wider picture is also moving on quickly; at the large event on 10 December we discussed the Integrated Care Fund and then we asked, ‘why are we only discussing 2% of the NHS and health and social care budget – what about the other 98%?!’. Progress here has continued, with the start of the Shadow Strategic Planning Group – bringing everyone together to shape the future of health & social care. Influencing the 98%? We shall see….
Well, it has been another very busy year for EVOC and Edinburgh’s Third Sector!
In 2014 we have:
- Administered an Early Years Change Fund across several initiatives around Edinburgh,
- Helped launch the LOOPs project in each of Edinburgh’s H&SC quadrants, improving uptake of social activities and preventative services by Edinburgh’s older people
- Gathered opinions and reviewed the last ten years of the Edinburgh Compact Partnership as part of our Compact 10 year
- Offered invaluable advice and resources from our Recovery Essentials team in light of Welfare Reforms & the introduction of Universal Credit
- Held regular and varied training events, helping over 500 people gain new skills
- Held regular Voluntary Sector forums & Neighbourhood Partnership meetings
- Held our AGM & Conference at Norton Park
- Held a thinkSpace on, and actively participated in the City of Edinburgh Council Budget Consultation
- Published a response – ‘The Year of Reckoning‘ – to the CEC Budget Consultation, and submitted a response on behalf of Edinburgh’s Third Sector.
- Responded to approximately 150 enquiries regarding setting up a new organisation/charity
…And so much more.
All this whilst Scotland hosted the Commonwealth Games, welcomed the Golf Open Tournament, and held a much talked about and widely debated Independence Referendum. Phew!
Looking to the future, it’s not difficult to see that heavy challenges lie ahead. Edinburgh’s Third Sector is moving into new and difficult territory, with more funding cuts and an ever-growing demand for services. I know we will face these challenges head on, in true Third Sector style.
2015 in my view will be about taking risks and trying new ideas- not just doing what we’ve always done, and expecting different results. By working in true partnership with the public sector – that spirit of ‘coproduction & collaboration’, we can continue to respond to both individual and local needs and continue make an invaluable contribution to the Capital.
On behalf of the team here at EVOC, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a happy 2015.
Well over 120 of us thought spending a morning chasing Unicorns was well worth the time and effort!
Thank you to everyone who brought their imagination, expertise and enthusiasm for doing things differently. Lorna, Joe and Jan-Bert definitely made us think – challenging us to value what we already do and to have the confidence in our skills and knowledge to be brave and continue to do things differently working with people.
As I said, I didn’t sign up to do as I was told, I signed up to make a difference and to remember that people truly are experts in their own lives so by working with people we can make the changes we spend so much time talking about.
I was at a meeting yesterday and several people were reflecting on the tone of change and optimism which didn’t underestimate the problems and challenges we face over the next few years.
The discussion and feedback will shape our forward strategy and has given us clear indicators of the important issues which we must address over the coming months.
A particular thanks to the staff at EVOC who really did work hard to make this event run so smoothly.
So my hope that we would remember more than the sandwiches has been realised!
You can view the presentation’s given at the AGM on this news article.
I am an ambitious and proud woman. I work in a Sector which has never rested on its laurels and is full of proud ambitious people. Proud of what we have achieved, and ambitious for change and further improvement.
My first encounter with real change driven by communities was at the ripe old age of 20, when I lived and worked in Leith. The local community were not content with the standard of the housing or the wider environment. With help from local community workers (funded for 4 years – with no prospect of extending it), a Residents Association grew into a Housing Association – helping to improve houses & build new ones, as well as improve the back greens; all done by the people themselves. This further tackled the issues of older people’s isolation and young people who felt they didn’t belong or have anything to do. You know when something just isn’t right; you know when you need to do something to make the changes; you know when you are unstoppable. It’s a heady experience.
When we look around today at our City, we know what isn’t right; we know what isn’t working; we know what needs to change. So what are we going to do about it? Seriously, are we going to say “a big boy did it and ran away”? Are we going to say “too much, too many, can’t cope”? Are we going to say “it’s not my responsibility”?
As I see it, we have two options – scream about all the things that are wrong but don’t actually do anything about it – or work together to make a difference and show that injustice can and will be addressed in our City. In my view, the easy option is to do the screaming – but what that also does is make it someone else’s problem. The Sector I know, love and am immensely proud of has never taken the easy option.
So, finally, I get round to it – Chasing Unicorns. It takes courage to change how things have always been. The stark reality facing us is either be part of the solution, or part of the problem. We need to stop defining ourselves in the terms of other people and organisation’s priorities. It is our responsibility to look to our communities and our people, and start to make those changes.
If you go away from our conference on Tuesday and the only thing you talk about is the bread in the sandwiches – shame on us and shame on you! We have deliberately constructed a programme that examines the big ticket issues, but this can’t be the end of the conversation. Over the next couple of months there will be further opportunities to take real control of the agenda and drive through changes that will make the difference.
So, one step at a time, we will catch that Unicorn.