Shared Ambition Initiative – Feedback sought on documents to support more effective working between the VCSE and public sector

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The Shared Ambition initiative is aimed at developing more effective working relations between the VCSE and public sector, particularly the NHS. Started in August 2020 the initiative is linked with the development of a VCSE Assembly for Norfolk and Waveney. The process to date through a series of workshops and engagement exercises has developed a Principles and Behaviours document and Plan document as well as a general report as the outputs of its first phase of delivery. These are provided in draft for wider input feedback from across the sectors.  

Principles and Behaviours  

Is about an agreed set of behaviours. These are deliberately high-level, with statements written as positive acknowledgements or commitments going forward, rather than being defined around current problems. Emphasis has also been placed on writing statements in such a way that they are equally applicable to all sectors and independent of current structures. They cover eleven key areas:  

  1. Defining our shared ambition  
  2. Agreeing the importance of a whole system response 
  3. Committing to better engagement  
  4. Committing to understanding the demand on our whole system and not just one sector  
  5. Committing to distributing resources to meet demand as that demand changes 
  6. Supporting integration to improve outcomes for people  
  7. Being committed to an evidence-led approach and transparency  
  8. Recognizing the importance of leadership at all levels 
  9. Committing to improving equality, diversity and inclusion  
  10. Supporting our workforce (paid and unpaid) well and fairly, regardless of sector  
  11. Recognising that whilst we should engage in good faith we will also hold each other to account.  


The Plan is a series of practical actions that were identifies as delivering the greatest impact in terms of improved working between the sectors. Whilst practical in nature the plan does not provide complete solutions. These are starting point to be taking forward as part of a joint programme of work. The ten areas identified as most important are: 

  1. The creation of a VCSE Commission Strategy aimed at ensuring the VCSE sector is sustainably resourced in relation to commissioning activity.   Allowing VCSE organisations to plan and invest in workforce and back-office.  Support better working relationships. 
  2. System-wide data sharing agreement to improve sharing of data to support operational integration and client experience and care as well as improved sharing of data to support strategic planning 
  3. Improved commissioning process to create better commissioning outcomes, ensure greater consistency and improve relationships between commissioners and VCSE organisations. 
  4. Structured workforce exchange model to enhance skill development for Managers and leaders. Support better cross-sector understanding and improve management capacity for VCSE organisations. 
  5. Make a percentage allocation of system spend to prevention. This is aimed at supporting a meaningful shift towards prevention outlined as a priority in all major strategies.  
  6. Create a VCSE Support Unit to improve the use of VCSE data across wider system working and improve capacity for VCSE organisations to access data insights and evaluate effectively. 
  7. Develop a VCSE Quality Assurance System to support VCSE organisation to improve service and organisational quality and enable public sector organisations to be assured of organisational quality in partnership and sharing arrangements. 
  8. Deliver an ongoing mutual understanding education programme to create more positive relationships and make day to day navigation of partner interactions more streamlined. 
  9. Develop a Collective Impact Model & Evaluation to deliver meaningful change on key social issues, piloting better collaborative working as well as improving overall approach to impact measurement 
  10. Produce a system research and development strategy to ensure the system has a coherent way of supporting continuous improvement and the development and roll-out of good practice solutions. 

The accompanying report provides the background to the process as well as summarises the key problems as they are defined under the five key  development areas for the Shared Ambition Initiative as well as a set of personas developed through the workshops to represent the different roles within the system and their challenges.  

All documents are currently in draft form and we are inviting feedback and comments from across the sectors.  If you would like to submit any feedback, please email tasha.higgins@communityactionnorfolk.org.uk

Shared Ambition Stage 1 Report 

Principles and Behaviours Document

Action Plan Document