VCS Strategic Partnership Working Group

Voluntary and community organisations have a crucial role to play in developing healthy and resilient communities. They are a core Council partner, essential in helping meet the challenges facing Buckinghamshire so all residents feel the county is a wonderful place to live and work where they can access high quality, effective services that meet their needs.

Today, a new strategic working group has been launched. This builds on the strengths of existing partnership work and helps make those vital links really effective. It will inject energy and fresh thinking. It is the start of establishing a strong integrated strategic relationship that helps tackle some the critical challenges facing the county over the next 20 years.

Launched by Senior Leads from across the voluntary and community sector and Buckinghamshire County Council, the VCS Strategic Partnership Working Group will ensure the work and opportunities within the sector are widely understood. It aims to ensure greater commitment to early collaboration and will work towards a shared vision of developing healthy and resilient communities

The Group is chaired by the Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire County Council, Rachael Shimmin who highlighted ‘Increasing the profile and influence of our invaluable voluntary sector will be key to ensuring Buckinghamshire continues to benefit from a fantastic range of community services. Building a strong, partnership foundation ensures the VCS are involved from the outset, and able to contribute to strategic conversations at the right time’. Members of the group include leaders of The Clare Foundation, LEAP, Action4youth, Community Impact Bucks and Heart of Bucks.

Today’s meeting focused on the importance of collaboration and the key challenges facing Buckinghamshire- demographic changes, growth and social care pressures, with the Partnership Working Group establishing a shared direction of travel.

Following the meeting Cllr Mark Shaw, Deputy Leader said, ‘Buckinghamshire has always been strong on partnership working but strengthening our relationship with our voluntary and community sector ensures that we collectively make the most of the expertise and assets building resilience across our communities’.

Martin Gallagher, CEO of The Clare Foundation, said, 'In an ever-changing world the Charity Sector needs to be flexible, adaptable and ready. Strategy and strategic planning are critical to seeing what's coming and being well placed to adapt and engage. The Buckinghamshire County Council, and in particular Rachel Shimmin, CEO, and Claire Hawkes, Head of Policy and Partnerships, have engaged the infrastructure charity CEO's to work collaboratively to prepare for these changes. The Clare Foundation is a charity that works with other charities to be effective, efficient and fit for purpose. I am truly delighted and fully engaged in working with Sector Colleagues to make society a much better place in whatever way we can.'