A document called a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is the next vital step in writing an agreement between the ICS and the Statutory, Voluntary and Community sectors on how they plan to co-operate and facilitate the strategic aims of the ICS.
The MOU is a requirement from NHS England to recognise the VCSE in ICS. It will be co-produced with ICS and VCSE members to bring together their joint aims.
The MoU will not be a stand-alone document; once it has been approved, it will sit alongside the VCSE Strategy, which outlines all our goals, ambitions, and indicators of success.
What are the fundamental principles of the MoU?
All members that sign up for the MoU will respect and recognise the independence and values of other members and will allow every partner the courtesy of being listened to and heard. It will ensure that all partners are solution focused and bold in the decision-making and that all conflicts or potential conflicts are declared and resolved accordingly.
The MoU recognises that both Statutory organisations and the VCSE have different forms of accountability and are answerable to other stakeholders. However, the need for integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership and inclusivity is common.
All communication will be transparent and remain committed to the vital principle of co-production. All partners will use plain English and consider potential accessibility issues. If needed, partners can participate, taking into account different working patterns, existing organisational commitments and capacity restrictions. During times of pressure or crisis at work, all partners will work together to determine the best approach for all partners.
Ultimately, the MoU will become the foundation for partners to build trust and treat each other respectfully.
Why is it needed?
The MoU is needed to ensure effective collaboration with the ICS. It is designed to support the development of Voluntary and Community sector capacity to increase and improve the sector’s impact for the benefit of local people.
Only by recognising the VCSE independence, skills and professionalism of the Statutory Organisations can shared aspirations be achieved. Local people will feel empowered and receive better services if both sectors work well together.
What are the aims & goals of the MoU?
The MoU aims to champion and share knowledge of the agreement through each partner organisation. It will consider the need for:
- Greater proportionality
- Clearer targeting & consistency
- Transparency in frameworks
- Promote strategic resource focus
- Enhance the capacity of VCSE organisations
It will also recognise the importance of infrastructure to the voluntary sector and volunteering and, where appropriate, supports its development at a county and place level. It will consider the specific needs, interests and contributions of those VCSE bodes representing excluded people.
All partners’ goals will be to consult and ensure shared decision-making is carried out with the voluntary sector, subject to considerations of urgency, sensitivity or confidentiality. The MoU will promote effective working relationships, consistency of approach and good practice between partners. Finally, respect and accountability to the law, and in the case of charities, observe the appropriate guidance from the Charity Commission.