NAVCA has published the findings of the Health and Care Voluntary Sector Survey, the largest charity survey of 2014. The findings show that local health bodies need to do more to engage with charities.

The survey was conducted by NAVCA and the Health and Care Voluntary Sector Strategic Partnership, involving more than 50 charities spanning the breadth and depth of the voluntary sector.

The 720 charities that took part in the survey collectively work with over 11 million people. They ranged from very small to large – 20% had incomes less than £10k and nearly 4% said they had an income over £10 million. Overall, a third of respondents were from charities with an income of less than £50k.

You can download the report here or click ‘READ MORE’ below to see the key findings.

Key findings

Joint Strategic Needs Assessments

Many respondents answered ‘don’t know/not applicable’ to questions about JSNA’s. Of those expressing an opinion, the majority (57%) agree that JSNAs decide local priorities but only 35% said they had been involved whilst 54% had not. A relatively high number of all respondents (18 per cent) strongly disagreed that they has been involved in the process to agree the JSNA(s).

Health & Wellbeing Boards

There were similar findings for health and wellbeing boards. Excluding ‘don’t know/not applicable’, 32% said they were able to influence their health and wellbeing board(s) and 53% had not been able to.

Clinical Commissioning Groups

The survey found that CCGs are more likely to engage with charities. Again not including ‘don’t know/not applicable’, 51% agreed that the CCG had engaged with their organisation whilst 40% disagreed.

National Initiatives

The survey asked whether national initiatives had a positive effect. Change for Life received the best rating for making a positive difference, followed by personal budgets and the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge.  Seen to have made the least positive difference were the Prime Ministers Challenge Fund, NHS Change Day and Care.Data.

Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said;

“The number and range of charities taking part in this survey means its findings must be taken seriously. It seems that despite some really good examples of local health bodies engaging charities it isn’t happening consistently across the country. Too many areas are missing out on the benefits of working with charities. That means missed opportunities to improve people’s wellbeing and reduce the demand on expensive acute services.”

“The NHS Five Year Plan recognised charities play an important role in improving people’s health and providing better local services. They also give communities and patients a voice in shaping services.”

“The Health and Care Strategic Partnership is an excellent place for health bodies to find out how they can talk to charities. With such a range of partners we can make sure that health bodies connect with charities and community groups in their area covering all services and supporting all communities.”