Making a difference to local health and social wellbeing in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West

Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West VCSE Health Alliance partners commissioned a research report from Tony Chapman and Jonathan Wistow of Policy&Practice at St Chad’s College and the Department of Sociology, Durham University. The aim of the report, which is published today, was to produce a clear picture on the structure, purpose, energy and impact of the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West in a comparative context.

The analysis will help to inform policy and practice debate by providing detailed analysis of sector strengths by considering: distribution of sector energy, financial robustness, workforce dynamics, quality of relationships with other sectors, partnership orientation and business confidence.

The project complements two other studies on the role of the VCSE sector in supporting local NHS Integrated Care Partnerships in areas with very different characteristics. In Yorkshire and Humber, the study focuses on two metropolitan combined authority areas. While in Cumbria, the study is centred on a relatively spatially separate town and country area. This report also provides data on London. the BOB NHS Health Alliance’s proximate neighbour.

Collectively, the studies present data on the structure and activities of the VCSE sector in over twenty locations, of which 16 are designated as NHS Integrated Care System (ICS) areas. In Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West, analysis shows that there are

  • 7,500 registered VCSE organisations. Sector income is around £1.9bn. 35% of organisations are employers. 44,500 employees in total: about 4.9% of total employment in the area.
  • There are 162,300 regular volunteers. The proxy replacement value of volunteers is between £115m (@ living wage) and £224.9m (@ 80% average local wage).
  • The VCSE sector produces £7.4bn of value in BOB: a ratio of 3.5:1. That is £4.1m per 1,000 resident population.

With comparative data to hand on statistical ‘neighbours’ and ‘strangers’ it has been possible to determine where VCSE sector operations are similar, irrespective of local circumstances and where they are different. This has helped to produce clear messages for NHS Integrated Care Boards and Partnerships on where the transferability of policy initiatives which concern the VCSE sector are sensible and where locally oriented approaches should be adopted.

The the full report can be downloaded here:

A much shorter summary report can be downloaded here

The companion studies centred on Yorkshire and Humber; Cumberland and Westmorland & Furness can also be downloaded by clicking the title of each project.