Our VCFSE partnership journey

The partnership working in Lancashire and South Cumbria has been developing for a number of years.

A visual version showing a roadmap of VCFSE partnerships is available here

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2015 - 17

VCFSE representation starts to develop in places. VCFSE represented in Lancashire health and care leaders at the start of a Healthier Lancashire programme – this programme developed to include South Cumbria ahead of Sustainability and Transformation Plans being published in November 2017.



Lancashire and South Cumbria was accepted to be part of a national programme with NCVO and King’s Fund to establish partnerships with VCSE sector or to recognise what was working well.



Lancashire and South Cumbria was supported by NHSEI as part of the Building Health Partnerships Programme with support from IVAR. This continued the building of relationships and progressed recommendations from the previous NCVO work including sharing best practice and supported facilitation by IVAR in some areas to establish VCFSE networks in each of the five places of Lancashire and South Cumbria. The outcomes were summarised in a ‘Test and Learn’ case study by IVAR.



Lancashire and South Cumbria was accepted onto Cohort 2 of the ‘Embedding VCSE in ICS’ programme’ involving representatives from VCFSE, Local Authorities and NHS. This resulted in the drafting of an Accord document which was used to engage a range of VCFSE networks and local authorities, however progress was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Nominated VCFSE leaders in each place first came together as an Alliance with draft terms of reference.

VCFSE partners were supported in December 2019 with funding to recruit an independent chair. A candidate was successfully appointed in the role following a recruitment process.



January 2020, NHS organisations in Lancashire and South Cumbria funded a Test and Learn programme, supported by IVAR, to develop relationships with a Primary Care Network in each of the five places in Lancashire and South Cumbria – building on the outcomes of the Building Health Partnerships programme.

March 2020, ICS Board accepted a proposal for the VCFSE Independent Chair to have a seat as a representative for VCFSE – this is a decision making group involving NHS and Local Authorities



In June 2021, IVAR published reports and case studies from the Test and Learn programme documenting the work with VCFSE partners in Primary Care Networks. These are available here along with webinars where the learning from the project were shared in Lancashire and South Cumbria and with other ICS areas.



November 2021, the VCFSE Alliance Independent Chair stepped down as his role.

Lancashire and South Cumbria was accepted into Cohort 3 of the NHSEI supported ‘Embedding the VCSE in ICSs Programme’.



In January and February 2022, a launch event for the Cohort 3 work took place and a steering group from the VCFSE Alliance formed to act as an engine room for the development work with funded project management support from the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria.  


Where are we now?

We’re now at the stage where the work is moving forward at pace. We are in Cohort 3 of the national ‘Embedding VCSE in ICS’s’ programme which brings support and resources to Lancashire and South Cumbria.

There is now dedicated support and identified executive support from the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria which has created capacity.

A programme team has been established with VCFSE Alliance members to develop plans and products.

The following slides are an example a proposed Vision and Values for our sector’s engagement in this and the next steps we are taking together.

This has been progressing well since February 2022. More work is taking place to develop the partnership working with VCFSE partners across Lancashire and South Cumbria. 

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