Department of Health announces £5.5m funding recipients

Eleven partner organisations will help plan health and social care spending

The Department of Health has announced the 11 voluntary organisations it will pay £5.5m over the next three years to help plan health and social care spending and provide feedback from the sector.

The organisations have been appointed ‘strategic partners' as part of the department's new Third Sector Investment Programme.

The investment programme replaces the old Section 64 grants scheme, which was dogged by threats of legal action when grant payments were delayed in 2006.

It is hoped the strategic partners, many of which are umbrella bodies, will create a smoother relationship and lead to an improvement in care.

A DoH spokeswoman said the partners had been selected from a tender process that considered their track record, reach across third sector organisations and ability to work collaboratively.

Kevin Curley, chief executive of local umbrella body Navca, one of the selected partners, said: "This imaginative new programme will mean more help for the local third sector to keep pace with changes going on at a local level and give the local sector a direct voice into the Department of Health."

Phil Hope, the minister for care services, said: "We will be working with the strategic partners to jointly plan activity to make sure that health and social care third sector organisations are able to fulfil their potential and ultimately contribute to improved health and wellbeing outcomes for individuals and communities."

The Third Sector Investment Programme has two strands: the strategic partnership with the sector and the creation of an innovation excellence and service development fund, which will pay organisations to deliver health and social care projects.

Applications to the fund closed in September and the DoH is expected to reveal the successful bidders during the next few weeks.

The strategic partners are:

National Heart Forum
Men’s Health Forum
Radar/The National Centre for Independent Living and the Shaping Our Lives National Network User (working together as one strategic partner)
Age Concern England and Help the Aged
National Children's Bureau
Race Equality Foundation
Voluntary Organisations Disability Group and the National Care Forum (working together as one strategic partner)
Regional Voluntary Sector Networks Forum
National Council for Palliative Care

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