2016 Summer newsletter

Welcome to the latest VODG newsletter. In this issue: 

  • What next for voluntary organisations post-Brexit
  • Financial sustainability in the sector
  • Why the NHS and voluntary sector need to join forces
  • How can technology be harnessed to transform care? 
  • Championing equity and rights in dementia care and support
  • Tackling health inequalities for people with learning disabilies

What next for voluntary organisations post-Brexit?

Copy of 2016 Summer newsletter

So… what is next for voluntary organisations post-Brexit? Amidst the uncertainties and deliberations following the referendum result VODG has been working to identify the challenges and issues ahead. 

In our latest report we outline the key risks and issues at play post-Brexit. The report highlights that the on-going challenges that providers have been experiencing are likely to be exacerbated. Funding, for example, is likely to become increasingly challenging for organisations dependent on public contracts. The question of how the sector secures its future workforce supply will also become increasingly important.  
This report is being used across organisations, including with boards, to stimulate discussion, anticipate the horizon and to take pragmatic steps to identify issues and risks. The full report can be downloaded here. Look out for a second thought leadership paper being published on 22 September. 

Financial sustainability in the sector

This summer VODG has provided evidence to Select Committees on local authority social care and the quality of provision and on the sustainability of charities.  

VODG argues that:
1. People are using care services at a time of unprecedented demographic change and financial austerity. Fewer and fewer disabled people are eligible for services and unmet need is on the rise. High quality care must be funded to enable disabled people to have their needs met.

2. The continued squeeze on fees has led to social care markets, worth over £43 billion per year, being fragmented and unstable. Without adequate funding providers will hand back contracts causing further market instability.

3.  Financial constraints are stifling innovation. The dilemma around mainstreaming technological developments is that it requires significant up-front investment, which can generate long-term savings, but local authorities rarely commission these solutions.
4. Government needs to be alert to the fact that social care markets could collapse. Local markets require good management, and as part of this the costs of procurement and regulation need to be controlled and kept low. Central to this are the fees that are paid to providers, which must be set at a level that will enable people using services to have their needs met through the provision of high quality services.
5.  Should social care markets fail, the lives of millions of people who use services will be negatively affected. There will also be a direct impact on the NHS as demand increases for emergency and hospital services.
6. Sustainable funding for the sector will enable disability organisations to invest in their people – to further build careers in the sector, to recruit and retain the right staff and to pay the workforce at a rate that recognises the value of the work they do in society. The national living wage is a welcome policy initiative, and VODG continues to call for the living wage to be properly reflected in public service commissioning. 

Why the NHS and voluntary sector need to join forces

VODG brought together member chief executives and health leaders to explore the opportunities for greater engagement and collaboration with the heath system. Our publication based on the debate recognises the need for closer working with health commissioners. It also includes a successful alliance contracting example.

How can technology be harnessed to transform care?


Our latest research on the use of technology in the sector shows how technology is enabling people using care and support services to exercise greater choice, control and autonomy and to live more safely. 

We demonstrate how technology can be further harnessed in delivering social care, calling on local authorities to commission services based on outcomes rather than fixed hourly rates in order to remove some of the barriers that are hindering more widespread adoption. 

Championing equity and rights in dementia care and support

What role do equity and rights have in social care? How can we ensure they are at the heart of delivering care?

VODG, alongside members of the voluntary sector strategic partnership jointly present the case for taking a rights based approach to dementia care and support. The report presents ten overarching themes in relation to equity issues in dementia useful for people who use services, their carers, commissioners and service providers.

Tackling health inequalities for people with learning disabilities

Social care providers can sign up to the health charter to outline what they will do to boost the health of people with learning disabilities. The accompanying self-assessment tool helps organisations measure progress and develop action plans for improvements. A new report explains how the health charter can be used and covers issues such as how to ensure all staff understand and apply the principles of mental capacity laws and how to listen to, respect and involve family carers. The resource includes practical steps on staff training and promoting access to screening tests. 

Coming up…

Keep a watch out for our annual conference, which focus on sustainability and survival, and is being held on 22 September. 

We are currently reviewing the latest post-Brexit developments and will publish a second report at the conference. 
And we are doing more on social value, this time developing a toolkit with case studies from across the VODG membership to help social care organisations. 
In the meantime keep up to date with us on twitter via @VODGmembership and connect on LinkedIn
Copy of 2016 Summer newsletter
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