Local #Healthwatch and #dpulo – useful mapping spreadsheet

I wrote a few weeks ago about the big opportunity that I think Healthwatch presents for Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations (DPULOs).

In particular, there are 3 things I think DPULOs should be excited by when it comes to local Healthwatch:

  1. DPULOs can be the local HealthWatch. Many local authorities are starting to tender contracts for the local HW functions, and DPULOs can bid to deliver these contracts
  2. DPULOs can be part of the local HealthWatch. If they don’t want to bid directly for the contract, they can either partner formally with those who do, or perhaps deliver parts of the contract as subcontractors
  3. DPULOs can ensure the voice of disabled people is represented on local HealthWatch through being involved in its work. They can do this by finding out who is or will be delivering the local HealthWatch and sharing how they can support them in their work and engaging with disabled people – through partnership working, information sharing, direct engagement work etc.

Because I’m that kind of person, I’ve created a spreadsheet of all local authority areas, whether they have started the contracting process for their local Healthwatch and what the (approximate) value of the contract might be. This is embedded below, and I encourage anyone who has any info or is interested in this type of thing to add any updates they’re aware of (or make corrections to the info currently there).

I’ll add to the spreadsheet as and when I get more info, so feel free to keep checking back.

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£10m Investment and Contract Readiness Fund = #win

In a recent post about Big Beasts versus Social Enterprises, I noted that creating the conditions to ensure that social enterprises and voluntary and community sector organisations can play a part in the provision of public services would require a practical support programme and commissioning strategy, supported by the government.

In July this year – and I’m not quite sure how I missed it – the Cabinet Office announced a £10m fund to do precisely that: the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund.

The focus seems to be on developing the skills and infrastructure of VCS organisations, rather than, say, levelling the playing field in actual procurement processes (preferential treatment for VCS providers, anyone?).

One further cautionary note I’d highlight is that I hope infrastructure organisations don’t get the bulk of the funding in the hope it will have a “trickle-down” effect to frontline organisations. Though a national delivery partner is a very good idea (an NCVO, say), having a multiplicity of local delivery partners would dilute, in my view, the potential impact of the fund. (Anyway, there’s always the Transforming Local Infrastructure Fund of £30m for them.)

Nevertheless, the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund is a welcome boost and one that I think VCS organisations – including disabled people’s user-led organisations – will benefit from.