This section describes the impact that Community Southwark has had in influencing decision makers

What we did

Community Southwark aims to give the voluntary and community sector a voice in order to influence and shape local policy making. We have a system of elected representatives who sit on key partnerships in Southwark Council and the CCG. We also respond to consulations and host cross-sector meetings designed to develop solutions and joint ways of working.

  • We worked in partnership on the Dulwich Hospital re-development, Southwark Council’s Children and Young People’s Plan, on mental health, prevention and inclusion and on SEND redesigns.
  • In partnership with Southwark Council we also worked on:
    • All person commissioning plans
    • Prevention and Inclusion Framework
    • Transforming Mental Health services
  • We launched our research into the size and scale of the voluntary and community sector in Southwark. This research informed our Value the VCS Campaign, which led to a call for the creation of an independent Early Action Commission
  • We worked on a criminal justice project with Clinks and NPC to developed impact measurement to influence future commissioning practices 
  • Community Southwark was commissioned by Southwark Council to conduct research into the prevalence of co-production, and awareness and attitudes around it. The results fed into the Council’s strategy on co-production.

What organisations/groups/stakeholders thought

The results below detail the attitudes of Community Southwark Members' and stakeholders (public sector partners) towards the influence and the representative role Community Southwark fulfills. A total of 110 organsiations responded to the Community Southwark Members' Survey; there were 32 responses to the Community Southwark stakeholder survey.

Voice and influence

  • 78% of members feel Community Southwark is a credible voice for the sector in Southwark 
  • 65% of Community Southwark members agree that Community Southwark is clear about what it is advocating on behalf of the sector
  • 7% of stakeholders feel that Community Southwark only speaks on behalf of a select few organisations or groups

Providing solutions

  • 89% of stakeholders feel that Community Southwark has improved cross-sector working
  • 50% Community Southwark members agree that Community Southwark's influence means the sector is engaged with more often by policy makers/commissioners
  • 45% of stakeholders feel that Community Southwark has provided solutions to challenging issues

Representing the sector

  • 91% of stakeholders feel that the VCS representatives make a meaningful contribution to partnership boards
  • 46% of Community Southwark members felt that Community Southwark acts as a critical friend
  • 19% Community Southwark members feel that the influence of Community Southwark is limited and tokenistic

What impact did it have

Building relationships and working in partnership means changes are often difficult to quantify. So rather than dealing with specific changes, we have looked the improvements (or otherwise) there have been in an organisation's ability to repsond to the policy environment. This has been supplemented with case studies. 

We asked organsations (at two points over a 14 month period) how they felt they were performing against the following areas (see the scale below). The scores that are presented below are the averages from both surveys (2013 = 84 respondents; 2014 = 64 repsondents):


  • Understand the current issues and needs in your field of work: 8.1 (2013) 8.2 (2014) 1% improvement
  • Keeping an eye out for changes on the horizon: 7.6 (2013) 8.0 (2014) 5% improvement
  • Flexible and able to adapt as needed: 7.7 (2013)  8.2 (2014) 6% improvement

Scale: 1-2 nothing is happening; 3-4 starting off, aware of what need to do;  5-6 doing OK, adequate practice; 7-8 mostly good practice; 9-10 really strong practice, always looking to improve

We understand that organisations receive guidance from a variety of sources but we believe Community Southwark made a strong contribtuon to the changes described above. The case examples show, from the voluntary and community secotr's perspective, how Community Southwark has sought to exert influence on behalf of the sector. 

Case Examples

  1. Kat Osborne, Time and Talents gives her perspective on being a voluntary and community sector representative. 
  2. Stephanie Correia, Southside Rehab talks about how Community Southwark's influence has shaped partnership working. 

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