Neighbourhood Networks Schemes and Third Sector Grants

The Neighbourhood Networks Schemes came about against a backdrop of declining resources, an ageing population, rising pressures on Adult Social Care and Health Services, a growing need to improve integration and partnership working between statutory provision and wider community-based services, and the need to improve outcomes across a range of key system-wide indicators.

Birmingham City Council have commissioned BVSC to support Third Sector Grant providers and Neighbourhood Network Schemes to bring together statutory provision for older people and community-based provision in a more co-ordinated, integrated and managed fashion.

Neighbourhood Network Schemes are constituency based networks which enable the engagement with and investment in community assets. The schemes will act as centralised co-ordination points for the range of older people’s services provided by the third sector, community groups, faith organisations and private business.

Constituency based networks are bringing together voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations and groups, as well as statutory agencies to engage and work with, and support, older adults and communities.

The aim of this approach is to:

  • Enable better co-ordination and integration of community-based prevention and early intervention services.
  • Ensure that as many older people as possible can access community-based support which will promote wellbeing, a better quality of life, greater independence and enable older people to live longer and more safely in their own places of residence.
  • Help reduce demand on critical and emergency services
  • Reduce common causes of delayed discharge from, or admission to, hospital.
  • Build community capacity to manage, deliver, integrate and co-ordinate local community-based services.

The infrastructure required by Neighbourhood Network Schemes will not happen naturally in each constituency, therefore support, development and facilitation will be required. BVSC with its unique strategic role in Birmingham’s voluntary and community sector, its broad and inclusive sector relationships, and its long experience of sector infrastructure support requirements, is ideally placed to provide this support, development and facilitation role.

Funded by Birmingham City Council’s Third Sector Grants Programme, BVSC is supporting grant providers to deliver against the prevention agenda.

Since the approval of an extension to the funding programme by Cabinet in November 2017, BVSC have worked extensively with providers included in the Third Sector Grants Programme. This has included supporting all providers – very small to the very large – to align to a new “Prevention First” outcomes framework, including supporting them to develop evidence and reporting which aligns to the four outcome areas of “Prevention First”. It has also included one to one and group support provided by BVSC. This approach has been re-enforced through the introduction of a RAG rating system to help organisations with their development and to assist the Council and BVSC to prioritise providers requiring additional support.

The latest quarterly RAG rating of providers showed that nearly half have been assessed as “green”, which equates to a “strong case and support for current or future partnership” where there are clear shared prevention aims and outcomes, evidence of a high value and impact on those shared outcomes, as well as a clear relevance to the Council’s Adult Social Care Vision and Strategy.