The £5.5 million 'Third Sector Strategic Partner programme' will support third sector organisations to build on their skills and knowledge to improve health and social care services and act as advocates, as well as ensuring input from the sector in developing health and social care policy.
The 'Strategic Partners', will strengthen links between the Department of Health and the third sector.
The eleven strategic partner organisations are:
- National Association of Voluntary and Community Action
- National Heart Forum
- Men's Health Forum
- Faith Action Network (Lifeline)
- RADAR / National Centre for Independent Living / Shaping Our Lives National User Network
- Age Concern England
- National Council for Palliative Care
- National Children's Bureau
- Race Equality Foundation
- Voluntary Organisations Disability Group / National Care Forum
- Regional Voluntary Sector Networks Forum
Each organisation will receive a share of £5.5 million of funding over the next three years. The programme will initially focus the work of strategic partners on:
- Improving the third sector's understanding of commissioning processes.
- The role for the sector in the personalisation agenda.
- Increasing understanding of health inequalities across the sector.
- Raising awareness of how emergencies such as a pandemic flu outbreak may affect the sector.
- Equality issues - including work to improve assessments of how policies affect minority groups.
- Improving the way the sector works at a regional level.
The previous Minister for Care Services said:
'Third sector organisations are involved in many areas of healthcare today - from advocacy for patients and carers, to providing front line services.
'The Strategic Partner Programme will play a vital role in supporting and engaging third sector organisations to work in partnership with the NHS, to deliver better health and social care services for everyone.'