My Week: Neil Cleeveley's role takes him to three cities in five days

The director of policy and research at Navca recounts his week

Neil Cleeveley
Neil Cleeveley

MONDAY - Navca is based in Sheffield, but my week starts in London with a meeting at Public Health England. We talk about the crucial role played by small local community groups in giving voice to the needs of marginalised communities. Then I go with our chief executive to meet Don Foster, a minister in the Department for Communities & Local Government, where we express our fears that local voluntary groups will be hit disproportionately by the recent spending review. On a more positive note, I was heartened by his interest in social value.

TUESDAY - I head to the Department of Health voluntary sector sounding board, where Norman Lamb, the care minister, speaks with conviction about integrated care. Navca's members have a long tradition of helping local groups push for more inclusive services. It's an ambitious agenda with the potential to improve services and reduce costs.

WEDNESDAY - I make the trip across the Pennines to the Local Government Association conference in Manchester, where we are hosting a fringe event on social value. It is good to hear from Birmingham councillor Stewart Stacey - social value has enabled the council to put local priorities at the heart of its commissioning processes. Martin McTague from the Federation of Small Businesses also spoke - his line on social value could have been taken straight from the Navca song book.

THURSDAY - I have a much-needed day at the office and prepare for the Age UK England conference, where I'll give Navca's take on localism. We need to keep up the pressure on public bodies to trust communities.

FRIDAY - I am working with colleagues to draw together member feedback on Transforming Local Infrastructure, a government fund. It comes to an end in September and we are keen for local groups to see the benefit. Equally, we want to make sure that the fantastic examples of creative thinking inspire and inform others.

Navca is a membership body for local support and development organisations

Neil Cleeveley is director of policy and research at Navca

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