Minutes 10th Nov 2011


Children and Young People NW Network Group

Thursday 10th November 2011

9.30 AM – 12.30 PM

At: Action For Children NW Regional Office, Aquilla House, Warrington.


1.      Welcome and Introductions
2.      Minutes and matters arising last meeting
3.      Input on the emerging Health Agenda and its impact on the Children and Young People’s VCS.
·         An overview of the emerging Health Picture – Richard Cauldfield Chief Executive VSNW
·         Health and Well Being Boards – their links and relationships with Childrens Trusts, the challenges for the VCS in engaging and influencing them – Emma Hicklin NW Transition Alliance
·         Health Watch – the role for the VCS in quality assurance and governance
·         A practical example of partnerships between Health and the VCS – Martin Patrick Barnardo’s Health lead
4.      Area updates and issues
5.      Any Other Business
·         Further training and consultation events
·         Potential Network Group Residential March 2012
  1. Dave Packwood – Barnardo’s
  2. Warren Escadale – VSNW
  3. Richard Cauldfield - VSNW
  4. Margaret McLeod – VSNW
  5. Emma Hicklin - NW Transition Alliance
  6. Barbara Kelly – Barnardo’s
  7. Vicky Wells – Blackpool
  8. Kath Smith – Bolton
  9. Rob Jackson – Children’s Society/Children England NW
  10. Sandra Pollitt – Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester Hub
  11. Norma Hornby – Halton
  12. Tony Barton Knowsley
  13. Graham Whalley – Lancashire
  14. Kathy Thomas – Rochdale
  15. Sarah Harper Rochdale
  16. Nigel Bellamy – Sefton
  17. Catherine Lewis – St Helens
  18. Debbie Spencer from Platform 51 St Helens
  19. Veronica Hyde – Tameside
  20. Jill Shelldrake – Together Trust Stockport
  21. Kate Lightfoot – Warrington
  22. Lynn Loughran – Wirral
  1. Gill Middleton – Children England
  2. Angela Allen – Blackburn
  3. Pauline Ruth – Cheshire East/Cheshire West and Chester VCS Hub
  4. Chris Spencer – Cumbria
  5. Kate Thomas – Red Cross
  6. Gill Blane – Sefton CVS
  7. Heather Smith – Trafford
1.      Welcome and Introductions
Dave Packwood introduced himself and invited members of the group to outline their name, role, which area they have come from. 
2.      Minutes and Matters Arising
Members of the group had received the minutes of the previous meeting and there were no matters arising.
-          Feedback from Veronica Hyde. Veronica had attended a meeting with Mark Caroll who is the lead for Big Society and Decentralisation within the Department for Communities and Local Government. Veronica asked him how the decentralisation of funding to communities actually going to work, but he had to admit that he didn’t know. He also stated that the National Citizens Service is here to stay so we need to get on board with it. He asked how we can increase the number of volunteer opportunities to young people and got some feedback from local volunteer centres. He did acknowledge the difficulty in timing at the moment, with cuts in many areas, a lack of joining up and some confusion around leadership and management. He also asked for examples of where the state should intervene and where it should actually just stay out of the way. Veronica agreed to draft some questions for the Network Group to look at and respond to Mark. He outlined that he had been involved in writing much of the Best Value Guidance and would be very interested in feedback from the network on these issues.
  1. Health Input
Input on the emerging Health Agenda and its impact on the Children and Young People’s VCS.
·         A practical example of partnerships between Health and the VCS – Martin Patrick Barnardo’s Health lead.
Martin outlined that unfortunately he could only stay at the meeting for a very short time as he had to leave to go to a hospital appointment. Martin outlined some of his experiences as the Health lead for Barnardo’s in building relationships between the charity and local and regional health. Martin’s slides are attached and he made a number of points.
1.      Detailed analysis is needed to identify what health services are actually wanting and what charities actually have to sell.
2.      We need to use this analysis to develop and sell products to the NHS
3.      This analysis takes a lot of time and energy, so do you need to work through umbrella bodies that will bring a range of VCS groups together.
4.      Health talk about numbers and outcomes
5.      Foundation Trusts are more accessible and valuable at the moment than GP Consortia. They have funding and they do actually know what they want. Barnardo’s are aware that Foundation Trusts have big problems with young people who are “Do not Attends” at clinics. Barnardo’s have offered to improve this by working directly with young people and families.
6.      Do VCS groups know what their unique selling point is and then offer a unique tailored package
7.      Clinical Commissioning Groups (GP Consortia) – currently very strapped for cash and many do not know what they would actually want from VCS.
8.      Health want to know about the difference that you make and in particular the cost savings that you can make for them. Some area of interest may include Domestic Abuse, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, things you could offer to them.
9.      Health inequalities – lots of VCS groups are doing work with hard to reach groups. However this work needs to link to evidence based programmes EG Expert Patient Programme, MEND.
10.Barnardo’s have put in a joint bid with Christies Hospital to NHS Innovations Fund to support young people who have had cancer treatment. Barnardo’s staff will keep contact with young people both during and after treatment to ensure that they keep appointments and also that they understand the ongoing implications and difficulties that their treatment may bring.
·   Health and Well Being Boards – their links and relationships with Childrens Trusts, the challenges for the VCS in engaging and influencing them – Emma Hicklin NW Transition Alliance
Using the slides attached, Emma gave an outline of the current strategic context around health. This included the future arrangements from 2013 onwards, including the establishment of Health and Well Being Boards. This also included an outline of commissioning responsibilities and the confused picture we have at present. Emma outlined that there are major concerns that children are going to be squeezed out within the adult priorities of Health and Well Being Boards. She said that people who are interested in the children and young people agenda need to position themselves to help local boards achieve this. The opportunities and threats to these new structures are outlined in Emma’s presentation.
·   Health Watch – the role for the VCS in quality assurance and governance – Margaret McLeod VSNW NW Transition Alliance
Using the slides attached Margaret outlined what health watch should be in replacing local LINKS networks. Local Health Watch will have a place on the Health and Well being Boards. They will also have an overview and scrutiny function with local authority services. The vision that Government has is for Health watch to be become the CAB for Health issues. 
  1. Area updates and issues
  • Halton – Canal Boat Adventure Project (CBAP) have been very involved in the delivery of NCS over the summer and this has gone well, This has led to good outcomes for young people and CBAP has also won 2 national awards for their delivery. Halton Youth Service is currently out for tender again less than 2 years after the last tender. As a result service delivery for young people is a little chaotic at the moment. This is a big opportunity for change but TUPE will be a big issue again as it was with the last change of provider. Norma felt it was important that people focus on continuing to deliver services to young people.
  • Rochdale Kathy outlined that her organisation had recently been successful in a tender with Group 4 to deliver a contract delivering work with complex families. They were the only charity within this consortium which will be a payment for outcomes programme and will involve working with 300 families over the next 3 years. The only outcome measure that is payable is reducing non attendance at school. Kathy agreed to report back to the network on how this was going. ACTION – Dave to speak to Kathy about giving a short input at the February 2012 Network Group. Kathy outlined that the network group which she chairs is going very well and has developed good links with the Health watch in Rochdale. There are big cuts in Rochdale and more cuts have gone to Cabinet this week, capacity to deliver services to children and young people in Rochdale has definitely shrunk.
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Big cuts have been seen to the Connexions service which also runs the youth service. This again is having a big impact on the group with young people feeling they are losing out. The VCS is still active but feels it needs some resources to be able to keep going. The VCS hub is having to build a case for ongoing funding which it hopes it will be able to achieve.
  • Wirral – The Link forum in Wirral is continuing to recruit new members; it is still very involved strategically and on the Childrens Trust. It has a very good relationship with the children and young peoples department on Wirral. As a result ongoing funding has been agreed for the VCS lead role for the next 3 years. Lynn outlined that a issue is emerging of frictions between Childrens Centres and VCS providers as the Childrens Centres feel the VCS has taken their money with the amount of successful VCS delivery from the Wirral Early Intervention Grant Fund.
  • Oldham – Rob Jackson outlined that Oldham is now facing another round of cuts for statutory and voluntary sector services. All Childrens Centres are out to tender at the moment. Oldham is committed to keeping the Children’s Trust model. It is unclear at the moment with Oldham will continue to have a VCS lead role as Laura Windsor Welsh has now left.
  • Lancashire – Greater Together which is a VCS consortium in Lancashire was launched on 14th Oct. 30 charities have applied to become members and will go through a member verification panel. A VCS consortium under the umbrella of Young Lancashire (Greater Together had not been formed when the tender was put out) was recently successful in gaining £200K of deliver for Targeted Youth Support. This is a pilot programme with a possible £1.5 Million to be tendered from April 2012. Links are now being built between the VCS and private sector in Lancashire. Contracting with consortia is underdeveloped in Lancashire and this has outlined the lack of understanding of the difference between grants and contracts. Lancashire is also maintaining a Childrens Trust and continuing to fund VCS Engagement. A transforming local infrastructure bid has been submitted for Lancashire.
  • Sefton – The children’s Trust is still going but with reduced sub groups, a clear divide is emerging between school and the local authority. Youth services had to make huge cuts, there was good engagement between young people and youth service to support youth work and youth services. Big cuts have been made in house; they are looking at commissioning out 5 of their hubs. There is still funding going to the VCS and there are still some opportunities for development. There are cuts in Childrens Centre within Sefton particularly in the phase 2 and 3 centres. There are still some positive messages about the sector with Sefton CVS being lead for NCS in Sefton and Liverpool.
  • Manchester – Liz Harding outlined that a big valuing young people conference took place this week, it went very well and there was a good attendance and input from local councillors and officers. There is a view that as well as rhetoric there is a need for actions and planning to support the VCS that are left behind following the decommissioning of the youth service. Manchester is looking at having some structure for consulting young people. Liz also outlined that Young Foundation are working with the Catalyst Consortium to develop an outcomes framework. Action – Liz will try and get a copy of the framework to share with the group.
  • St Helens – the partnership between the VCS Forum and Childrens Trust is still going well, there is a clear commitment to maintaining the Trust. Cath outlined that he role has now expanded to also include work around well being and inclusion. This will include being a conduit between adult and children’s services. St Helens has announced that the Childrens Rights services will be contracted out.
  • Warrington – Warrington is a Health watch pathfinder, a new worker has now been appointed to develop this project. Warrington has a rep on the Health and wellbeing board from the VCS Hub.
  • Knowsley – There is still friction between VCS Forum and Knowsley Borough Council. Through Knowsley Link they do have links into the health and well being board. It was suggested by other members of the network that Tony contact compact voice and public law project. Action DP to send TB details of Compact Voice and Public Law Project NAVCA
  • Bolton – Cath outlined her view that the LA commissioning of the VCS is giving out some difficult messages. The VCS is seeing the LA as the parent giving out money to the VCS as the child, rather than the VCS being seen as an equal partner that also brings in additional resources. There are some issues around NCS delivery in partnership within Bolton. A really good partnership event took place last week, with 100 people attending including input from the DCS. This needs to be followed up with the VCS stepping up and looking at how they can consolidate their position possibly through the development of local consortia.
  1. Any Other Business
·         Further training and consultation events – DP has sent details out and outlined the training opportunities that are being offered by Children England and other training providers. DP asked if people could contact him to outline any other training needs that they felt were needed within the region.
·         Potential Network Group Residential March 2012 – DP outlined his desire to hold a Network Group residential in March 2012, building on the successes of the 3 previous residentials under VCS Engage. Dave outlined that some funding had been gained from Barnardo’s, VSNW and Children England but that people who attended would need to make a small contribution, around £30, to help meet the costs. All those that were present outlined their interest and commitment in attending a residential and that they did not feel a £30 cost would be a barrier to them. Action DP agreed to contact Borwick hall and look at some possible dates for Thursday – Fridays in March 2012.

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