Integrated care systems (ICSs) are new partnerships between the organisations that meet health and care needs across an area. ICSs involve the NHS, local councils and other important strategic partners such as the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in developing better and more convenient services, keeping people healthy and out of hospital and setting shared priorities for the future.

NHS England and Improvement is working to facilitate effective partnership working between the VCSE sector and ICSs. The Voluntary Partnerships Team ICS VCSE Leadership programme was established in 2018/2019 to drive forward this work. The programme supports the development of VCSE leadership groups or alliances primarily at a system and place level and connecting into neighbourhoods. These alliances or groups:
• Encourage and enable the sector to work in a coordinated way;
• Provide the ICS with a single route of contact and engagement with the sector and links to communities;
• Better position the VCSE sector in the ICS and enables it to contribute to the design and delivery of integrated and have a positive impact on heath priorities, support population groups or reduce health inequalities.

The “Embedding the VCSE sector in ICS Partnership programme” builds on the work of the previous cohorts (1 and 2) of the ICS VCSE Leadership Programme and recommendations from the independent evaluation of the programme so far. The Voluntary Partnerships Team will be leading a cohort 3 this year that offers all remaining ICSs (23) to establish or develop VCSE alliances/networks across their systems and places.