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Social prescribing and a ‘single point of contact’ for the voluntary sector

We know that smaller charities are great at providing value for money. When they provide public services, they can also offer a greater choice for commissioners, effective outcomes and person centred services. We also know that to unlock the full potential of the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, it’s vital for the health and care system to engage with smaller charities.

FaithAction is excited to be working with the national infrastructure support charity NAVCA on a project that aims to test how a ‘Single Point of Contact’ (SPOC) model can facilitate this engagement. This would mean that health and care commissioners have a single contract with one VCSE organisation, which then performance manages many local VCSE organisations.

As well as promoting efficiency, the idea is that this will lead to an increased focus on preventative and holistic services, help to keep resources and employment within a community, increase volunteering, and give people a greater say in the design of their services – and that people’s health outcomes will improve. A particular area that the SPOC model is expected to help with is the issue of supporting people as they leave hospital and come back into the community.

We’re sure that some of our members will have thoughts on this – perhaps you’re already working in this kind of system, or you’re interested in being part of one or even taking on the SPOC role youself. If so, we would like to hear from you – please email [email protected]

The SPOC concept ties in closely with social prescribing. If this is an area of interest to you, you might like to know about some recent reports on the subject – see below. And if you are wondering what social prescribing is all about, the King’s Fund has a helpful introduction.

If you are making business cases for social prescribing, a resource is available which critically examines the evidence for the economic impact of social prescribing.

For further information or to sign up to the Social Prescribing Network, email [email protected]