The Somerset Plan for Children, Young People and Families
This week, children and young people helped launch a document that will shape the way Somerset County Council and its partners support them over the next three years.
The voices of children and young people have been central to the creation of the Children and Young People’s plan for 2019-22 which outlines the challenges and dangers they face.
Supporting children and young people, keeping them safe and improving their lives, is one of the most important roles the Council and its partners in health and the police undertake.
The plan is there to help them achieve this and highlights issues such as exam stress, difficulties in education, lack of opportunities, bullying, abuse, exploitation, poverty and self-harm and family problems.
Children and young people from across Somerset – many of whom attended today’s launch – took part in a series of work shops and helped draw up the plan and set its priorities.
The plan will inform and focus the efforts of the Council, Avon and Somerset Police and Somerset NHS with the aim of improving the lives of children and young people by strengthening families and communities and tackling the numerous challenges they face.
The priorities chosen by children and young people and outlined in the plan covered better health provision and access to affordable activities to support health and wellbeing, support for parents, useful training and social skills, and ensuring schools and colleges were safe places.
The Plan’s overall vision is for Somerset’s children and young people to be happy, healthy and preparing for adulthood.
Somerset County Council’s Director of Children’s Services, Julian Wooster said: “The plan is critical for Somerset, it really focusses on the challenges facing families bringing up children.
“It’s so important we provide families with the right level of support to succeed in life and to bring up children so they can participate fully in education and other activities to prepare them for adulthood.”
Sandra Corry, Director of Quality and Patient Safety at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “One of the key things we’re doing in health is improving access to mental health services for young people and ensuring help is available at an earlier stage.
“We want to prevent young people possibly ending up in A&E because they have self-harmed.
“We want our GP practices, the Council and Public Health to really wrap services around the child and young person and how we support parents.”
Superintendent of Avon and Somerset Police, Mike Prior added: “This plan is all about giving children and young people the best possible start in life.
“We want everyone in Somerset to grow up safe, secure and looking to the future, able to contribute to society, make the county their home and in turn bring their children up here too.”
Improving Commissioning through a VCSE Single Point of Contact
The Single Point of Contact (SPOC) model is currently being dicsussed as part of the Richmond Group‘s work, exploring to how to build and improve collaboration between the voluntary sector and public bodies.
We thought it would be useful to share NAVCA‘s report, Improving Commissioning through a VCSE Single Point of Contact (May 17), which explores the SPOC model, how it works, and the value it can bring.
VCSE feedback invited on Children and Young People’s Commissioning
Following the VCSE Strategic Forum on 6th March, Rowina Clift-Shanley provided an update on Children and Young People’s commissioning at Somerset County Council. You can view the presentation slides here.
Rowina is particularly keen to seek voluntary sector input into: developing an Early Help offer in Somerset; recruitment of foster carers and stepping stones family lodgings, placement stability for children who become looked after; and addressing the prevalence of NEET young people in Somerset.
Updates from the VCSE Strategic Forum- 6th March 2019
The VCSE Stategic Forum Met on Wednesday 6 March 2019. You can download the presentations here. The key speakers included:
Trudi Grant (Director – Public Health, SCC)
Outlined the key priorities within the Somerset Improving Lives Strategy and the importance of the wider determinants of health. Brought attention to the current work beginning around Integrated Care Systems and the need to bring the VCSE into these discussions at an early stage. Discussion then took place regarding what might a place-based approach look like in Somerset – look out for more discussions to be arranged soon.
Lucy Macready – Safer Communities
Provided an overview of Community Safety work going on in Somerset and keen to explore how the VCSE can get more involved in this agenda.
Opportunities around training, funding – linking with the VCSE to work up funding bids, will share here on the VCSE website in future
Possibility to have VCSE representation on Safer Somerset Partnership board. Will go through VCSE Advocate process to be coordinated by Alison Baker
Recommended that further information and / or discussion needed to understand referral gateways linked to safeguarding and anti-social behaviour. Michael Hammond also reminded groups about the Resolving Professional Differences Policy.
Brought their Somerset Priorities 2019/20 to the forum for comment. Also raised awareness of their Campervan and comments tour around Somerset to get peoples views on health and social care. Find out more including dates here.
Kevin O’Donnell provided an overview of the journey so far for PROMISEworks and the challenges they have faced. Further information about PROMISEworks is available here.
Proposed Merger between Somerset Partnership and Taunton and Somerset NHS FTs
Karen Prosser provided an update on the proposed merger and keen to explore how can work more closely with partners to provide person-centred, joined-up care closer to home and out of hospital. Asked for interested VCSE organisations to contact her Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Somerset Youth Provision update – Nik Harwood provided an update on recent discussions regarding youth provision and advised that an online survey has been created for youth groups to help establish an up to date picture of how groups are faring following the recent cuts to County services. Further information here.
State of the Sector Survey – Was last undertaken in 2016 (report available here) and planning to repeat in the Autumn 2019 Richmond Group update – Aimie Cole provided an update on developments and advised that all the learning and case studies are being added to the website.
Save the date! The VCSE leaders conference will be held on Friday 21 June 2019 at Monks Yard. More details coming soon.
Data Protection in a No Deal EU Exit – the action you need to take
The UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019. If there is no deal in place, this would impact how organisations exchange personal data.
Although the UK’s own data protection standards would remain the same (the GDPR will come into our domestic law), there would be changes to how personal data transferred from the EU/EEA to the UK. This could affect your organisation.
It is important for organisations, as a priority, to review whether they would be affected. For those that would be affected, practical advice and support from the ICO is available here, including ‘Six Steps to Take’ to help you understand the implications and prepare.
Other information on how leaving the EU may affect your organisation, and what you can do to get ready, is available here.
Introducing our new Coordinator
We’re pleased to introduce Alison Baker, the new Somerset VCSE Strategic Coordinator.
Alison has worked extensively in the voluntary sector and in local authorities, making her the ideal person to take the project forward. Look out for Alison at our upcoming events including the VCSE Strategic Forum meetings, and the VCSE Leaders Conference.
An Update From the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board
The latest newsletter from the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board features an update on its strategic plan, a toolkit to help you develop a domestic abuse policy for your workplace or organisation, and details of a new online resource for those working with survivors of sexual violence.
Funding for Adults with Learning Disabilities and Autism
It is estimated that there are over 2,000 adults living in Somerset with moderate to severe learning disabilities, and this number is growing. Around half also have autism [Source: Somerset Intelligence, 2014]. However, with the right support, adults with learning disabilities can live a full life in their community. This often involves making spaces and services more accessible, but it also involves putting adults with learning disabilities first, so they can make their own choices, challenge decisions, and get what they need and have a right to.
The Discovery Community Fund aims to help achieve this and more by supporting improvements to the health and independence of adults with learning disabilities and autism right across the county of Somerset.
Applications to the Discovery Community Fund should be made to Somerset Community Foundation, which is managing the distribution of up to £200,000 of funding.
The fund is the result of a ground-breaking partnership between Somerset County Council and local learning disability support provider Discovery. Their Managing Director, Luke Joy-Smith, goes on to say: “Perhaps with funding you could train healthcare professionals in how to make reasonable adjustments. Perhaps a lump sum could provide Changing Places bathroom facilities in your shop, café or community venue. Perhaps funding could help you launch a community taxi social enterprise. Perhaps hoists or sensory spaces would make your disability friendly holiday accommodation truly inclusive. Perhaps with funding, you could develop a network of Safer Places in towns across Somerset.
“If you have a vision that will improve the health and independence of people with learning disabilities and autism in Somerset, Discovery, Somerset County Council and Somerset Community Foundation want to hear from you.”
Director of Adult Social Services at Somerset County Council, Stephen Chandler, added: “This fund is part of the original vision for re-imagining learning disability provision in Somerset. Launching it with Discovery today is the result of a great deal of hard work and it’s very pleasing to reach this milestone.”
The first window for applications lasts from Wednesday 9 January to Friday 22 February. To find out more, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/discovery or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.