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Council to decide on increasing investment into VCS Prevention Services

Wokingham Borough Council’s decision making executive is set to approve grants and contracts worth more than £2million with Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations to provide prevention services to adults when it meets on Thursday 30 September.

The proposed procurement will deliver on the council’s VCS Strategy 2020-2025 priorities, specifically to work in partnership and build capacity of the VCS, whilst commissioning services in-line with strategic priorities that deliver quality and value for money.

Wokingham borough has a strong VCS market as evidenced during the exceptional community response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the council currently funds 22 VCS organisations, providing 30 contracted adult prevention services which underpin the sector. Additionally, these organisations raise their own funding to help thousands of vulnerable borough residents. The procurement of contracts would ensure security of funding for up to five years for VCS organisations working throughout Wokingham borough.

With the current adult social care prevention service contracts ending in March 2022, the council plans to increase overall investment in preventative services over the next few years by £500,000 in 2022/23, £280,000 of which will be invested in the VCS through this procurement and a further £100,000 in 2023/24.

Executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, Cllr Charles Margetts said: “The procurement of our VCS prevention services would provide many benefits to residents including joined-up voluntary sector prevention services aimed at preventing, reducing and delaying the need for formal care and support among the adult population across a range of mental health, physical health and social support needs, with an increased focus on value for money, quality and sustainability.

“By increasing investment into the VCS sector, we can help to build safe, strong communities which offer high quality support to vulnerable residents at the right time, therefore reducing the need for formal statutory care and support. At the council, we want to be the best we can be, and it is hoped that the procurement will shape a strong VCS in Wokingham.”

The procurement business case will be discussed at the next Executive meeting and if approved, would see a grant and contract award process commence in October 2021, completing in January 2022, to allow time for mobilisation of services in time for new agreements to commence on 1 April 2022.

The tender total is £2.1 million per annum and will be allocated across the health and well-being sector as a set of grants and contracts open to a competitive award. VCS organisations with experience of working in Wokingham borough will be invited to bid either alone or in partnership to meet outcomes for residents in-line with the Adult Social Care and Voluntary Community Strategies.

The grants and contracts will be awarded for three years with the opportunity to extend to a further two years. The successful procurement of contracts is expected to bring stability to the market and support the sustainability of many VCS organisations working in the borough, a key priority of the VCS Strategy.



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