The age of austerity has brought with it fundamental changes in the relationship between councils and their local voluntary and community sector (VCS). Many councils are responding to austerity by paring back their social care and other people-focused services and prioritising only statutory services for citizens with the greatest needs. In addition, a shift from grants to contracts and commissioning has brought about tensions between commissioners and providers, with many VCS organisations losing out. Learning to navigate this new relationship has been difficult for both sectors and in many cases the conversations are stuck.
This event is part of ongoing research to develop a new relationship between the VCS, local government, and the communities they represent; which will help to ensure that people will continue to be supported despite the challenges of austerity. We will prototype how councils can implement whole systems commissioning of the VCS, putting the individual at the heart of service design and encouraging all partners to develop joint strategies to meet local need.
To do this, we are delivering a ground-breaking participative game for commissioners, VCS partners, and service users; walking through a simulation of a collaborative process of designing and funding services for vulnerable people. This game will provide participants with experience of a whole systems way of working together, allowing them to take the learning back to their organisations and to contribute to the writing of a report.