21/02/13 – Parliamentarians explore the work of faith groups in Birmingham

Our motto here at FaithAction is that ‘faith reaches the parts that no one else can’. One way we do this is by showcasing, to Government and the public, the practical but often hidden work done by faith-based organisations across the country.

Through our role as the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Faith and Society, this week we were able to organise a visit to Birmingham to enable APPG members the chance to explore the experiences of faith groups providing public services in the city. Through meeting faith leaders and members of the city council, visiting projects and speaking to local faith-based organisations, parliamentarians were able to better understand the work that is done by so many groups and the barriers that they face.

Parliamentarians visit Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Natha

The Rt. Hon Stephen Timms MP, chair of the group, said that: “Our visit to Birmingham helped to illustrate that there is a growing movement of faith-based social activism around the country, and a growing range of projects, which should be better known and appreciated.”

Click here to view the whole article.


Also, be sure to check out our roundup of recent funding opportunities.



Jon Cruddas Launches IPPR Research Project on the Condition of Britain

On the 14th of February, the Institute of Public Policy Research launched a new flagship research project, ‘The Condition of Britain’. Speaking at the launch, Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham & Rainham and Labour’s Policy Co-ordinator, said, “The project seeks to identify the major pressures facing the British people. But it will also consider how to harness their ambition and ingenuity to tackle these pressures and create a better society. In that sense it is one driven by hope and optimism about the capacity of the British people to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.”

The IPPR has more information on the project, plus videos from the launch event.


The Impact of the Social Value Act 2012

At the end of January, the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 officially came into force. The Act makes it a legal requirement that public bodies consider the possible improvements to economic, social and environmental wellbeing when commissioning public services. Commissioners will be required to include social value at the pre-procurement stage, to ensure that it is integral to the design of the service.

Civil Society has an overview of the effect of the act on charities and social enterprises.


Report Finds Work Programme Fails Hardest to Help

A report published by The Third Sector Research Centre suggests that ‘creaming and parking’ – helping those most likely to find employment while avoiding the harder cases – was a ‘rational response to payment-by-results’. Drawing on a study carried out in 2011-2012, the report also highlights the requirements that particularly disadvantage voluntary sector groups from being Programme providers, such as demonstrating £20m turnover, as well as the fact that many specialist providers receive little to no referrals from the prime contractors, such as homelessness charity St. Mungo’s, which pulled out of several contracts last year due to a lack of clients.

More information on the report can be found at Civil Society and Inside Housing.


Multi-Faith Social Action Programme Launched

On the 14th of February, Baroness Warsi, Minister of Faith and Communities, launched ‘Together in Service’, a three year programme to motivate and inspire social action, with a focus on multi-faith volunteering projects that span religions. The programme will also provide grants to help multi-faith projects.

GOV.UK has more information on the programme launch.




A Wider Look at Commissioning: Commissioning for Equality

FaithAction and the National Children’s Bureau are working together to host a series of workshops designed for the voluntary sector and commissioners of services. These sessions aim to provide valuable local networking, information, tools, and topics for better local commissioning.

Upcoming workshops include:
East of England – Cambridge – 26th February
South East – Guildford – 12th March | now featuring Chances4Change | event flyer (pdf)
South West – Bristol – 21st March


Universal Credit: A Faith-Based and Voluntary Sector Response

Wednesday February 27th; Crossover Resource and Learning Centre, Birmingham

This free event, run by FaithAction in partnership with St. Paul’s Crossover, will examine the imminent shakeup of the welfare benefits system by the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the launch of Universal Credit as a replacement of multiple forms of benefit.

  • Explain Universal Credit and the timetable for changes in Birmingham.
  • Look at the implications and who is likely to be most vulnerable.
  • Explore how faith-based and voluntary sector organisations can provide the necessary support and guidance for their communities and service users.
  • Provide workshops to look at the potential of your own organisation to respond.
  • Provide a toolkit signposting your organisation to resources and available support.

More detailed information will be available soon. To register your interest, please email Hannah Walker at: [email protected].


For Later Life: Better Health and Care in Tough Times

Thursday 25th April; Church House Conference Centre, London

Combining previous ‘Services for Later Life’ and ‘Agenda for Later Life’ conferences, For Later Life is a new conference run by Age UK that provides insight into health and care for older people. Looking at tailoring policy and practice on individual needs, the event will showcase the best of practice-based change and innovation.

For more information, and to book, please visit Age UK.


Government’s Plans for Improving Child Health Outcomes

Wednesday 27th February; NCVO, London

The National Children’s Bureau are hosting a free event for voluntary and community organisations that work to improve the health and well-being of children and young people. Attendees will hear from the Department of Health about future plans for improving children’s health services, and will have the opportunity to discuss and share their views with decision-makers about the implications of the plans.

For more information, and to book, please visit NCB’s Eventbrite page.




Consultation on Future NICE Social Care Quality Standards

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will be considering a number of joint health and social topics from April 2013. The Department of Health is seeking views on topics for NICE to produce quality standards and guidance on to help improve social care and the health services. The consultation will run until 26th April. More info


Department of Health Seeking JSNA and JSHW Case Studies

The Department of Health are currently looking for good practice case studies regarding JSNAs and JHWSs in the following areas: Cross cutting good practice, assessing needs and assets, engagement and involving specific groups, process and product development and commissioning and integration.

Guidelines and a case study template are available. Responses are to be sent to [email protected] no later than Friday 22nd February.



Featured Member

Our Featured Member this week is St. Paul's Crossover

St. Paul’s Crossover is a project run by St. Paul’s Church of Bordesley, Birmingham, that focuses on aiding the community in reaching employment. On top of the guidance and support it provides, its social enterprise work aims to create more jobs for the community. Crossover’s Resource Learning Centre, is staffed by trained guidance workers who help jobseekers on the path to work, education or training. Crossover also runs their own café, a literal shop window into their work and serves as an important part of the local community, as well as a nursery, and a multi-use centre for the community.

Here at FaithAction, we're pleased to be running the Universal Credit event, detailed above, in partnership with St. Paul's Crossover.

For more information on St. Paul’s Crossover, please visit www.crossover-centre.org.uk