Well said Simon Stevens! But not just the big third sector, already close to government - but the diverse BME sector, who provide specialised niche services across a range of health conditions to particular ethnic communities. These groups emerged to address the dissatisfaction of BME people with mainstream services and are in danger of going under at a time when need is increasing. But let us play on an even playing field. We don't have the capacity to compete for funding with the big third sector mainly because our priorities are to the vulnerable people we deliver to. We welcome partnerships but our contribution must be costed and paid for -voluntary services don't come free since our armies of volunteers need organising and supervising. We can reach communities which are suspicious of the mainstream because we speak their language, are trusted and function in ways which work for our constituents. We are tired of being exploited and patronised but BME communities have needs which the mainstream are unable to address. We cant do it alone and you cant do it without us.
Many thanks Lisa, an Interesting article. I agree with points made by Simon Stevens but whilst it is great that increasing numbers of senior leaders in other sectors recognise the value of the voluntary sector and the importance of leadership within it, it would be good to have heard from him on how the NHS plans to contribute to developing the sector.