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How should the sector respond to COVID-19 report?

Published : 23/04/21 | Categories: Influencing |

We’re conducting a survey to find out how the voluntary sector can work better with the Welsh Government on the recovery from COVID-19 following May’s elections.

Recently, the Senedd Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee published their report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the voluntary sector in Wales, making a number of recommendations.

There are 20 of these recommendations, covering funding, partnership working, volunteering and more.

WCVA and the voluntary sector health, social care and wellbeing network would like to know which of the 20 recommendations in particular the sector is keen to work on with Welsh Government following the Senedd elections in May. This could have a huge impact on how Government works with the sector on the recovery from the pandemic.

Please take a look at the list of recommendations below and then answer the following questions. The recommendations can also be found at the survey link.

This survey should take approximately five to ten minutes to complete. It will close on 1 May 2021.

Contact David Cook, WCVA Policy Officer, with any queries on dcook@wcva.cymru.

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Recommendations from the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the voluntary sector in Wales.

General sector recommendations

a. That the Welsh Government recognises the role the current voluntary structure has played in improving the pandemic response. We would urge any future Welsh Government to maintain the current third sector infrastructure, and look to identify how these structures can be improved and made even more robust.

b. The Welsh Government monitors any significant shift in the voluntary sector’s presence in Wales to enable a future Welsh Government to engage with these charities and encourage them to reinstate a Welsh presence when they are in a position to do so.

 

Responding to the pandemic

c. The Welsh Government should work with stakeholders to review the role of the voluntary sector in responding to future emergencies. This should include:

▪ Clearly identifying and recognising the vital role of the voluntary sector in responding to emergencies

▪ Sharing of best practice from the response to both the pandemic and the flooding in 2020

▪ Assessing the extent to which the voluntary sector is integrated into formal and informal emergency planning structures and how partnerships can be strengthened.

d. The Welsh Government should work with the Third Sector Partnership Council to ensure the forthcoming digital strategy for Wales fully reflects the work of the voluntary sector and the move to digital service delivery.

 

Partnership working

e. The Welsh Government should review the effectiveness of partnership working across Wales during the pandemic. The review should identify good practice that can be replicated across Wales and consider whether there is a need to strengthen formal mechanisms to ensure there is meaningful co-production and partnership working between statutory bodies, non-statutory bodies, and citizens.

 

Volunteering

f. The Welsh Government should work with the voluntary sector to identify areas across its work where volunteering can support the post COVID-19 recovery, public services and well-being.

g. The Welsh Government should develop a programme of empowering communities across Wales with the voluntary sector, acting as an enabling state for community action. We support the WCVA’s call for this to include a Community Wealth Fund and legislation to provide greater ability for communities to be involved in local action.

h. The Welsh Government should work with stakeholders to explore opportunities to enable new community groups formed during the pandemic, who wish to continue and have been successfully supporting their local communities, to receive the support and advice they need to carry on their work.

 

Funding and support

i. Building on the Third Sector Resilience Fund, the Welsh Government should provide funding to increase the resilience of the sector and its ability to play its part in immediate support for communities during the recovery. Given the length of the crisis, consideration should be given to extending this beyond the current financial year.

j. The Welsh Government should work with the Wales Funders Forum to help funders continue to share information and work collaboratively post-pandemic.

k. The Welsh Government should, where appropriate, examine and investigate allowing unspent funding to be carried forward into the next financial year.

l. The Welsh Government should take into account the particular challenges faced by BAME voluntary sector organisations, when considering funding for the third sector. This should include considering any additional barriers BAME groups may face in accessing funding administered by the Welsh Government and work to minimise these barriers.

m. The Welsh Government should consider and reflect on the findings from Community Foundation Wales Loud and Clear report and encourage funders to support core costs so organisations have the freedom to adapt in everchanging situations to sustain and develop key service or programme outcomes.

n. The Welsh Government should make representations to the UK Government regarding the impact of current international obligations in relation to State Aid rules on support to the charity retail sector.

 

Recovery and reconstruction

o. The Welsh Government should carry out further research to assess the social value of its investment in the voluntary sector.

p. The Welsh Government should work with the voluntary sector to identify areas across its work where the sector can support the recovery, public services, building sustainable community resilience and well-being.

q. The Welsh Government should invest in voluntary sector programmes which support the recovery, in a similar manner to the Voluntary Services Recovery Fund. Given the length of the crisis, consideration should be given to extending this beyond the current financial year.

r. In future recovery work, the Welsh Government should ensure that all parts of the public sector engage with the voluntary sector in policy-making and service delivery. This should also lead to greater partnership working beyond the recovery and include the voices of the voluntary sector as well as the people with whom they work.

s. The Welsh Government should report publicly on the effectiveness of the Connected Communities strategy in tackling loneliness and isolation within 12 months.

t. The Welsh Government explores further how new technology, including the app that Hafod is developing, can be used to help address loneliness and isolation. As part of this, the Welsh Government should take account of issues around the digital divide and ensure that solutions take account of these issues around digital access.

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