Guide Voluntary, community and social enterprise sector support consultation

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1. Introduction and questionnaire

This consultation is now closed

East Devon has a vibrant and diverse Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector that provides a wide range of services, activities and support to residents in the district. The Council and its partners also have a long-standing commitment to encouraging the local VCSE groups, including capacity building and partnership working.

We witnessed an impressive effort by these groups during the pandemic and they clearly demonstrated the value of their work in communities.

Every area of Devon currently has a Council for Voluntary Service, with the exception of East Devon. There are some issues with this lack of provision, which became more evident during the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, when both existing and new voluntary and community groups came under pressure and struggled to find support. A temporary support arrangement was commissioned by Devon County Council to provide basic guidance and advice (via WestBank), but this was limited and this contract has now ended.

It's recognised that our community and voluntary groups would benefit from support enabling VCSE groups of all shapes and sizes to focus on what they do best, by helping them in ways that they want.

A commissioning brief or service specification is required to clarify the range of support and advice that voluntary, community and social enterprise groups in East Devon want and need. As a starter for this we drafted a discussion document and questionnaire to gather in the thoughts of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. This was a discussion document, at the very initial stage, everything in it was up for discussion.

East Devon's voluntary, community and social enterprise sector groups were asked to have their say on our discussion document before 8 September 2021. They could do this by filling on a questionnaire, with paper copies and copies in other formats available on request. 

To advertise the consultation:

  • Press releases were sent out.
  • Our social media accounts were used. 
  • Registered charities and registered social enterprises from within East Devon were sent an email. 
  • Town and parish councils, and East Devon District Councillors received the information and were asked to pass it on. 

We are currently analysing the results and will take them into account as part of the next draft of the proposals. See the following pages to read the discussion document we sent out as part of this consultation.