We use cookies to help us provide you with the best experience, improve and tailor our services, and carry out our marketing activities. For more information, including how to manage your cookie settings, see our privacy notice.


Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

We’ve made our member-only resources free to everyone because of the current situation. We think it’s important people have the guidance they need to run their organisations during this time.

If you want to find out more about how you can volunteer to help deal with coronavirus, see our volunteering and coronavirus page.

If you are looking for advice on coronavirus and your charity, please see our dedicated coronavirus page.

Community-made content which you can improve Case study from our community

Case study example: How building relationships at system level has facilitated sustainable partnership working

This page is free to all
This case study is part of a series looking at the role of voluntary organisations in health and social care system transformation and focuses on the importance of building relationships. It was kindly supplied by Ivan Annibal of Rose Regeneration.


Recent legislation (e.g. Health and Social Care Act 2012, Care Act 2013, Five Year Forward View and the NHS Long Term Plan) recognises and promotes the role voluntary organisations play in improving health, wellbeing and care outcomes. Funding from NHS England through an ICS accelerator programme gave voluntary organisations in Lincolnshire an invaluable opportunity to increase understanding of their offer and increase recognition by the public sector as an essential partner in the decision-making and delivery of health and care services.  

The issues we faced

Public sector colleagues perceive the sector as varied and complex, and difficult to know where to start and how to navigate the various organisations interest in health and care. VET (the Voluntary-sector Engagement Team) was established to bring together various organisations and networks to fully understand what each organisation does and how the sector might achieve a cohesive and defined purpose in partnership with the emerging integrated care system (ICS). We wanted the sector – through VET – to have a clearer voice and be a partner in the decision-making and delivery of health and care services in Lincolnshire.

The actions we took

  1. Provided forums and platforms for the voluntary sector in Lincolnshire to come together and be a part of VET. This includes a dedicated web portal and a series of consultations and events.
  2. Developed a culture of working with all organisations that wish to shape an offer.
  3. Brought together a steering group of 14 organisations to jointly develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This contains some initial principles setting out how the sector will work together and sets out VET’s relationship with the public sector.
  4. Developed a brand: ‘VET’ (Voluntary Engagement Team).
  5. Began to coordinate a work programme and represent the sector at statutory meetings.

Positive outcomes

  1. VET has provided a mandate for how the sector can work together and deliver better outcomes for people in the context of health and care in Lincolnshire.
  2. Public sector representatives (e.g. NHS, local authority) actively participate in VET meetings and events.
  3. The public sector recognises VET and has invited representatives to become more substantively involved in the health and care system and its strands of work. Some examples include: the STP Stakeholder Board, Integrated Community Care Programme, Lincolnshire Co-operative Board, Integrated Neighbourhood Working, Integrated Personal Commissioning, Local Workforce Action Board (LWAB) working group and STP workshops (e.g. workforce readiness assessment).

Negative outcomes

Whilst the majority of VCS organisations have been very positive about this development, we have experienced some challenge from organisations that would prefer a different approach to the brokering of the partnership. The large geographical and complex statutory governance nature of Lincolnshire, with eight local authorities and seven NHS organisations, has made it more complex and time consuming to negotiate a way forward than would have been the case in areas with a simpler statutory governance structure.

Lessons learnt

It takes time to bring the voluntary sector together, particularly in a sparse rural and coastal county like Lincolnshire, but this is important in getting to know fully what different organisations do, how they wish to get involved and identifying new opportunities to collaborate. 


Page last edited Oct 01, 2019

Help us to improve this page – give us feedback.