Voluntary Action Camden

Voluntary Action Camden Summer 2021 Update to Members and Subscribers

Summer 2021 Update to Members and Subscribers

13th August 2021

Care Navigation and Social Prescribing Report

Age UK Camden, VAC and Wish+ together deliver the Care Navigation and Social Prescribing system in Camden.  We wrote a report after the first three months of lockdown to show how the system had stepped in to become part of the crisis response to the pandemic.  Now we’ve written an update to that report, one year on, to show how we’ve been adapting and the impact Care Navigation and Social Prescribing has had on Camden’s residents.  Read it here.

VAC Annual Report

VAC’s Annual Report features useful information about our work over the last year, and also gives a sneak peek at our new logo and identify – to be fully revealed at the September Voluntary Action Forum.  You can view it here.

Policy Updates

Rents and Leases Review

Three workshops have taken place as part of the latest Rents and Leases Review.  Each focussed on a topic:  Rent, Leases and finally Social Value.

Rents: Still based on commercial/market value, yet many have no commercial use and market values fluctuate. Actual valuations of each site are needed. Rents and grants levels vary widely.  Grant support levels pre-suppose income generation which is now uncertain for the foreseeable future. There is inconsistency in repairs and maintenance and insurance
There were some fundamental differences – for example it was stated that it was a requirement for the council to change rent – though the ‘Best Value’ guidance from central government states “Best Value…requires councils to “consider overall value, including economic, environment and social value”.

Leases:  Some inconsistency as some organisations are on a commercial lease and some on the VCS lease.  Unresolved maintenance challenges were an issue for many leaseholders.  Short break clauses can limit opportunities for capital grants yet many buildings have low energy ratings and need updating.

Social Value: The Social Value Act 2012 was a huge opportunity to take into account social value as well as monetary value and so this development is to be welcomed .  The council’s proposal is that a discount of 50% will be applied to the market rent if sufficient social value is provided.  There is a risk that the monitoring of social value could become burdensome.  Simple proxy measures could keep monitoring clear and straightforward.

Conclusion: This summary only scratches the surface of the three workshops. A further round of negotiations will start in the Autumn.  There was a tendency to focus on the leaseholders of buildings specifically without giving due regard to the impact on the wider sector who rent space in community buildings at rates that are effectively dictated by the council’s rents and leases policy. A useful PowerPoint summarises many of the issues.

ICS Development

The shape of the new Integrated Care Systems is gradually becoming clearer.  A recent NHS statement says: “As the Health and Care Bill makes progress through Parliament, the NHS is actively preparing for the establishment of statutory integrated care systems. These arrangements are designed to strengthen and support the local partnership working that will be essential as we re-build from the Covid-19 pandemic. In June 2021 we published the ICS Design Framework, providing a broad overview of the future role, functions and governance arrangements for the proposed NHS Integrated Care Boards (ICB), their relationships with ICS partners and anticipated timetable for their establishment.”
The Camden Local Care Partnership Board and Health and Wellbeing Board are working on borough level strategies, including the Community Connectedness strategy (covered in the VAC Spring Quarterly Update) and further work is now happening at Neighbourhood Level (see next item below).
NCL is now looking at how to involve residents and the community in the ICS governance and is holding the first meeting of a working group on 1st October.


Neighbourhoods Development

Two workshops were held in June with a range of people, from GPs to Community Centres, to look at how we develop the neighbourhood level of the new Integrated Care Systems.  But being health led the assumption is that local PCNs are at the centre of these developments.  Working groups for NW2 and Central Camden have been established.  It is this level of the new ICS that is potentially of most interest to the VCS.
A key challenge in all of the ICS developments is that the biggest ever reorganisation of the NHS is happening simultaneously with the biggest crises to ever hit the NHS – a crisis which has also had a profound impact on the VCS and Local Authorities.


Meet the New Chair – all change at VAC

VAC is very pleased to welcome Benaifer Bhandari as its new Chair of Trustees.  She brings considerable  knowledge of Camden organisations as well as extensive leadership experience in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, as both a Trustee and Chief Executive.   Benaifer is CEO of Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre and trustee of C4 and Global Generation and a member of Camden’s Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board, and co-chair of the Safeguarding Engagement sub group.  Many thanks to the outgoing Chair, Julie Christie-Webb, for her many years of leadership and contribution to VAC. Benaifer’s appointment completes a 3 year process of board renewal.
The next Voluntary Action Forum is on 22nd September will be an opportunity to meet Benaifer and ask her questions.  We will also be revealing a the new logo and look for VAC.  Don’t miss it!

…and finally

We are working towards blended events for the future, hopefully getting the best of both worlds with a small group in a meeting room and many still joining remotely by zoom.  It’s an exciting new stage on the road back to normal – we hope you will join us to try it out at the 22nd September Voluntary Action Forum.

Don’t forget – we are now based at the Greenwood Centre:
Greenwood Centre, Greenwood Place, London
Phones and emails remain the same

Kevin & the VAC team: Alex, Dianne, Donna, Hasel, Mandira, Manuella, Nasrin, Ricky and Zubair and all the Trustees and Volunteers.

PS Don’t forget we are still collecting your Covid Stories you can add yours here – or email us at info@vac.org.uk

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