As the leading representative organisation for voluntary and community sector mental health service providers, we believe it is essential that the sector has a consensus on its offer, impact, and the difference it makes, which highlights its value and strength, and is sufficiently aligned. The voluntary and community sector has a significant role in the delivery of mental health services, and it is essential that the knowledge, expertise, and real strength of the sector is realised and utilised.
The work of the sector was highlighted in recent NHS Benchmarking data reviewing community mental health service provision, which showed that around 1.5 million people accessed CCG-commissioned mental health support from the VCSE sector.
Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive of The Association comments:
“We know that the voluntary and community sector is diverse; its complexity, range, and reach are vast, and as part of this important work, we would like to articulate the contribution and value of the VCSE, consider the pressure points the sector faces and its solutions.
“Mental health needs to be seen beyond illness and also beyond the NHS. To ensure better mental health services it is crucial that there is a whole-system, whole-sector approach. Several of our members have told us of the real challenges to achieving this at a national and a local level. This also includes concerns regarding some commissioning practices.
“The NHS Benchmarking data mentioned above has shown the extent of the role of the VCSE sector in the delivery of services but we still do not have data from across all the CCGs or meaningful data from Local Authorities so the scale and contribution of the sector is still not fully understood.
“We believe it is vital that not only the concerns for the sustainability of the sector are addressed but for the VCSE sector to be considered as a valuable partner in the progress of mental health strategies, and also learning from what the sector has to offer.”
We aim to build a better picture of commissioning and the challenges faced by mental health VCSE providers. We will focus on long-term sustainability by concentrating on three areas: developing a core narrative; producing a document on sustainable planning and commissioning in the sector; and focusing on the VCSE workforce.
As part of this work, we have commissioned the Centre for Mental Health to produce a focused document on sustainable planning and commissioning within the sector. This campaign will also lead to the publication of several other pieces of research on different key strands that are important to this element of work over the next year.
Additionally, as part of this work, we hosted a roundtable meeting of VCSE leaders in the mental health sector to begin a conversation around the sector’s role and following this preliminary discussion, we are also pleased to announce the formation of a VCSE Council, which will comprise of sector leaders who will work with us to ensure that the role and impact of the sector can be understood and its importance can be articulated moving forward. The Council will be chaired by Kathy Roberts with its inaugural meeting due to take place in early 2019; more details on this will be released soon.
We would appreciate your support in this work through: promotion of the announcement; responding to, and sharing, our short online consultation, which will help to inform this work; and/or registering your interest in joining the Council.
For more information, please contact Dania.