11/07/13 – Representing and equipping the faith sector

Each month FaithAction takes time to meet with member organisations to talk about the work that they are doing and the issues they face, and to explore the opportunities that are available to them. We call this a ‘Faith Organisations Advice and Guidance Session’

This work helps us to explore the current challenges and needs that faith-based organisations face, to directly provide support, guidance to these organisations, and to connect up work between our various member and partner organisations. This, in turn, allows us to feed into discussions on a national level through the Department of Health Strategic Partnership and other bodies (such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society and other stakeholder and reference groups), and to ensure that FaithAction is providing relevant resources and support members. 

Some of the key issues that have been highlighted this month are around:

  • Mental health in faith settings, and the importance of chaplaincy;
  • End of life care and the need for faith organisations to speak more about death and dying;
  • The challenges that face faith organisations trying to form relationships with local government;
  • The importance of approaching authorities with practical solutions.

If your organisation would like to meet with the FaithAction team for an advice and guidance session, get in touch with us at [email protected]


Hannah Walker, Policy and Programme Officer at FaithAction, will be running a triathlon in July to raise funds for 17 bright and aspiring young people in Nepal who, due to life’s circumstances, have lost or been abandoned by their parents and are now being brought up by a Nepali couple in remote central Nepal. To find out more, visit www.johnnychloefamily.blogspot.co.uk




Charities call for NHS Constitution to have more teeth

National Voices, the health and social care charity coalition, has released a report, The Teeth in the NHS Constitution, that highlights that patient rights laid out in the constitution will be toothless without arrangements being made to support them. A survey carried out for the report found that there are significant barriers to patients receiving treatments approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), one of the rights defined by the constitution, but widespread confusion of the exact nature of the right and what ‘NICE-approved treatments’ meant it was not possible to gain a clear picture of the situation. One of the main issues highlighted by the survey was that different groups and clinicians had their own interpretation of the guidance offered by NICE.

Other research for the report indicates ‘systemic weaknesses’ in some NHS organisations, with them being unable to adapt to new guidance and requirements in a timely manner, along with a lack of review of practice to identify issues.


Welfare changes driving more people to food banks, says trust

The Guardian reports of first-quarters figures released by the Trussel Trust that show the number of people using the trust's food banks has risen by 200 percent over the same period last year, a change which the trust blamed on the welfare reforms introduced in April. Last year, between April and June, the Trust's food banks provided aid to 50,000 people; for the same three month period this year, this figure has risen to 150,000. Additionally, there was a significant rise in people needing aid due to issues with benefits, with more than half of the 150,000 citing delays or sanctions on their benefits.

Trussell Trust executive chair Chris Mould said there was 'a clear link' between benefit issues and the steep increase in food bank use, and said the food banks were dealing with more and more people that have had benefits suspended for 'seemingly illogical issues' as well those affected by other reforms, such as the bedroom tax.


Neighbourhood communities to get further £4.3m to build local services

Communities minister Don Foster has announced a further £4.3 million will be added to the ‘Our Place!’ programme, which allows communities to develop their own local service tailored to their own specific needs. The programme is an expansion on the success of the Neighbourhood Community Budget Pilots launched last year, which involved 12 pilot programmes across the countryside.

Each programme was allowed to spend its budget to work on issues that were most important to their own areas; in Poplar, £1m was invested in creating health champions and promoting healthy living in order to save the NHS money, whereas money in Sherwood, Tunbridge Wells, helped set up the Family Partnership, which provides bespoke support and signposting for ‘just coping’ families.



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Strengthening corporate accountability in health and social care

The Department of Health are holding a consultation on proposals to hold providers accountable should serious failures be found in their provision of health or care services. Under the proposal, the directors of services registered with the Care Quality Commission, such as public and private hospital and care homes, will face a ‘fit and proper person’ test, with the CQC able to request the removal of those that fail.


Tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation

Alongside the consultations mentioned last week regarding migrant access to healthcare, the Border Agency is also running a consultation on proposals to introduce immigration checks on tenants of privately rented accommodation as well as penalties for landlords that provide accommodation to illegal migrants.


2014 GSK IMPACT Awards – funding, training and national recognition for health charities

GSK’s IMPACT Awards, run in partnership with The King’s Fund, are designed to reward charities that are doing excellent work to improve people’s health. Organisations must be at least three years old, working in a health-related field in the UK, with income between £25,000 and £2 million. Up to 20 awards will be made ranging from £3,000 to £40,000, plus free training valued at £4,000. Organisations will also have a film made, receive help with press and publicity and be given a set of promotional materials. Judges include Professor Steve Field and the Chairmen of The King’s Fund and GSK.  Closing date 20 September 2013.




Social Enterprise UK has published The People’s Business, a report which examines the state of the social enterprise sector in 2013.


The Charity Commission has released its Annual Reports and Accounts, showing the length and breadth of their work over the past year.


The Institute for Youth Work is an up-and-coming membership body for youth workers, providing a voice and support, which will be launching in September this year, supported by the National Youth Agency.


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has released a report that examines Universal Credit, incentives to work, and whether it provides enough income.


Dr Jamie Wilson, founder of HomeTouch, writes for Guardian Professional about reducing social isolation, and the role technology can play.