The changes currently happening across the public sector financially and organisationally are indirectly having an effect across the Voluntary and Community Sector. With the cutting of statutory bodies’ budgets and a redefining of traditional relationships between the VCS and government, the Essex VCS CEO Forum believes that the county-wide VCS must present a unified front to respond to these changes. A consortium designed to facilitate funding applications to statutory bodies will provide fresh possibilities for charities and social enterprises in Essex and will work to create new and innovative ways of delivering services. A steering group has been established by the Essex VCS CEO Forum and given a mandate to drive forward the consortium initiative.

The steering group members are all not-for-profit agencies working to tackle disadvantage and improve health and quality of life. Though the partner agencies share a lot in common, they are all separate, independent agencies with their own management and accountability structures and with their own unique ways of working. This difference and independence will be protected and strengthened under the consortium arrangement.

At the same time as securing broad endorsement from the sector, concerted work is also being done to keep commissioners informed of the process and to secure their buy-in to the consortium initiative.

The Essex VCS Consortium will embrace organisations across a wide spectrum of service sectors, such as health and wellbeing, children and young people’s services, learning and skills, social welfare advice, arts and culture etc.

In this way the consortium will be expressly geared towards providing services that map to the ‘whole person’ agenda. This would involve mobilising the full range and breadth of the consortium membership to provide seamless, joined up services, so that an individual can benefit from access to a range of services appropriate to her/his needs.

The consortium will work towards building the capacity of member organisations through opening up new contracting opportunities, promoting joint working and encouraging organisational learning and development.

The Steering Group comprises the leaders of the following organisations:

  • Red Cross Essex
  • Essex Association of Councils for Voluntary Service
  • Age UK Essex
  • Interact, Millrace IT
  • Carers Choices
  • Voluntary Sector Training
  • Rural Community Council of Essex
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