July 2022 VCS Assembly: Anti-racist Commissioning

Collaboration is more important than competition

VCS Assembly on Anti-racist Commissioning

On Thursday 14 July, over 60 attendees from 34 organisations attended our first in-person VCS Assembly!

Ahead of the meeting, we pulled together a briefing document highlighting key work being done in this area and opportunities for development. Read here: Assembly 4 Briefing

Held at Halkevi Turkish Community Centre, with delicious food cooked by Beriya and wonderfully hosted by VCS Leadership Group chairs Rosemary Jawara (Beersheba Living Well) and Vanessa Morris (MIND CHWF). We were thrilled to be able to host this important conversation on how to make commissioning more equitable and anti-racist. This Assembly was hosted with support from the Institute for Voluntary Research Action (IVAR) who assisted with research on the topic and will collate the information shared and ideas/solutions created during the meeting.

We had 4 wonderful speakers (videos to follow soon):

Sonia Khan, Head of Policy and Strategic Delivery and Joanne Blackwood, Strategic Delivery Officer, Hackney Council, shared updates on the Council’s adopted approach to anti-racism. While acknowledging the Council is not currently anti-racist, sharing how they are taking their anti-racism strategy forward. See the presentation slides here: Hackney Council Presentation at VCS Assembly 14.7.22

Watch Sonia and Joanne’s presentation here

Ian McKay, Senior Strategy Manager, Compass Wellbeing, spoke on Compass’s work around making funding more accessible through grant funding and offering grant application support to voluntary and community sector organisations. Presentation slides here: Compass Presentation at VCS Assembly 14.7.22

Watch Ian McKay’s presentation here

Kelly Reid, Programmes Manager, The Crib, on their experiences of local commissioning, the opportunities for rethinking commissioning and the power of the voluntary and community sector to lead on this work.

Watch Kelly’s presentation here

Lutumba Muzinga and Mimi Kitoko, Chairwoman and Treasurer, Hackney Congolese Women’s Women’s Support Group, on their experiences of local commissioning and their experience of working with St Georges University on a research project around barriers to COVID-19 vaccine in their community.

Watch Lutumba and Mimi’s presentation here

We have collated the key themes identified at the VCS Assembly:

  • Community needs assessment – funding should be aligned to this
  • Encourage the ICS to hand over the budget to the sector – co-production
  • Reviewing the application process at every stage – use real experiences
  • How can we change the funder–applicant power imbalance? – relational funding?
  • Work with Hackney funders Network – making a business case for core more funding to be built into funding budgets
  • How to change the mindset of funding – allow more flexibility and doing things different
  • Feedback to bids – building this into the process – making it a 2-way process
  • Transparency around who is funded

The next steps from this VCS Assembly will be 2 working group meetings to further develop the key opportunities and ideas identified in the meeting to produce some community recommendations for working towards anti-racist commissioning. If you are interested in being part of the working group, please email Assembly@hcvs.org.uk