Component 5: Leadership

What works well

Strong leadership from statutory sector partners is essential in establishing the culture and practices that underpin effective partnership working with the voluntary sector.

  • The value of the sector needs to be recognised and leadership needs to be mirrored at all levels of the system.
  • Leaders need to lay out the vision for what is possible, the evidence for how to do it, and the flexibility in the structure to allow creativity and the trying of new things without a blame culture.
  • We have seen amazing partnerships develop, culture change and strong impacts when leadership training is delivered cross-sector instead of in ‘silos’.
  • System leadership is an interesting model being used in some areas to encourage leadership at all levels (not just formal leadership roles).

Likely positive impacts

  • Culture change
  • Clear understanding of value and contribution across sectors
  • Stronger, more effective partnerships
  • Improved relationships
  • Greater achievements and impacts.

Example: Voluntary sector advocacy role

Voluntary organisations in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire became involved in planning a proposed new model of frailty care. As a result, Voscur were able to present invaluable community insight. This resulted in Voscur being asked to advocate for the voluntary sector on the STP programme board. There was a commitment at management level in the STP to engage with voluntary organisations, including places on the programme board.

Enabling factors

  • A commitment, at management level within the STP, to engaging with voluntary organisations
  • Close communication between voluntary sector reps on the board with support organisations
  • Time and space being given in meetings to hearing the voice of the voluntary sector.


  • Voluntary sector advocates are now integral to the work on frailty in this area.
  • Improved system thinking across a broader pathway than health, reflected in the emerging work streams for developing frailty services.
  • Public engagement effectively builds on existing data and knowledge within VCSE sector – ie not asking people the same questions twice but learning from what we already know – this demonstrates the sector’s commitment to Making Every Contact Count.