Supporting Influence - networks, information and skills support for voluntary sector representatives on health and wellbeing boards

Regional Voices, the partnership of regional networks including One East Midlands, is pleased to announce it has been awarded funding from the Department of Health (Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund) to support VCS influence on health and wellbeing boards.

Health and wellbeing boards are a critical new structure in the health and care landscape, where key policy makers and commissioners can have overview of health needs of a population and the direction they need to take to improve community health. The voluntary sector can represent the voice of the communities it serves, on the health and wellbeing boards, it can make JSNAs real and impact on strategy and commissioning in the local area. 

But it is not that easy. The sector is diverse and VCS voice needs to be accountable to the wider sector. And in many locations there is not yet a VCS representative on the health and wellbeing board, highlighting the need for the sector to work closely with local Healthwatch which has a statutory seat on the board.

In each of the nine English regions, Regional Voices' component networks, including One East Midlands will be developing networks to support voluntary sector influence on health and wellbeing boards. 

Networks will work to support effective engagement with health and wellbeing boards, both where there is a VCS representative, and where there isn't yet. They will also look at different routes to influence and share good practice nationally. 

Events, e-bulletins and online networking will be developed and progress in engagement between the VCS and health and wellbeing boards (both directly and by working with local Healthwatch) will be tracked through surveys. Resources and training will also be developed, in partnership with FaithAction, in response to requests from participants.

To get involved in this work contact your local regional network, One East Midlands, at or on 0115 934 8471 ( to hear about developments, and to help shape the support network, in your region. Alternatively contact Jo Whaley in the national team at