Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are partnerships of health and care organisations that come together to plan and deliver joined up services and to improve the health of people who live and work in their area.

They exist to achieve four aims:

  • improve outcomes in population health and healthcare
  • tackle inequalities in outcomes, experience and access
  • enhance productivity and value for money
  • help the NHS support broader social and economic development

The VCSE sector is a key strategic partner with an important contribution to make in shaping, improving and delivering services, and developing and implementing plans to tackle the wider determinants of health. VCSE partnership should be embedded in how the ICS operates, including through involvement in governance structures in population health management and service redesign work, and in system workforce, leadership and organisational development plans.

By April 2022, Intergrated Care Boards are expected to have developed a formal agreement for engaging and embedding the VCSE sector in system-level governance and decision-making arrangements, ideally by working through a VCSE alliance to reflect the diversity of the sector. These arrangements should build on the involvement of VCSE partners in relevant forums at place and neighbourhood level.

Positive engagement with the VCSE sector now can ensure that their knowledge, expertise and networks are protected, for the benefit of the whole community. Frontline workers in VCSE sector organisations, together with their public sector colleagues, want to help people and improve their lives. The new system aims to tap into their creativity and resilience and set them free to cut across the artificial organisational barriers of health, care, housing and criminal justice. The NHSE Guidence was published in September 2021 - pdf to view this document click this link.