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Islington Strategic Partnership


Islington Voluntary Action Council
322 Upper Street, London N1 2XQ
Tel: 020 7226 4862
Fax: 020 7359 7442
Email: information@ivac.org.uk


Islington Strategic Partnership was launched in February 2002. The Partnership's role is to oversee the development and implementation of strategies for neighbourhood renewal and is responsible for spending Government regeneration funds known as the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. The partnership includes all elements of the voluntary, statutory and private sectors, and it is foreseen that the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy will be delivered through partnerships around the borough, such as the local HAZ, the Children's Fund Partnership, Surestart etc. All this work will be overseen by the Islington Strategic Partnership Board, which includes representatives from all sectors, including key leaders from statutory agencies such as the council and the health authority, as well as ten voluntary/community sector representatives elected via the Community Network . For details on the partnership, its structures etc. contact Colette Stevenson on colettestevenson@ivac.org.uk.

So what's this all about? Questions and Answers:

1. What is the Islington Strategic Partnership?
Last year the Government decided that it needed to find new ways of making local regeneration work. Despite the millions of pounds that have been spent in recent years on local regeneration initiatives there had been little effect in making fundamental differences to the most deprived areas of the country – for example providing more jobs, better housing, better services etc.

2. What has the Government decided to do?
The Government decided that what really needs to happen is a complete change in the way services are delivered to meet the needs of the country’s most deprived neighbourhoods. The Government concluded that one problem was that all the organisations delivering services – different Council departments, the Health Service, the Police, Colleges etc. didn’t talk to each other enough to ensure these services were sensibly organised. They also decided that these organisations didn’t spend enough time talking to local people to be sure the services were meeting local people’s needs.

To deal with this the Government said that all of the most deprived Boroughs in the country (88 in all) had to form a new local partnership – to be called a Local Strategic Partnership. In Islington this has been called the Islington Strategic Partnership. This partnership has to contain all the people that deliver services, plus representatives from the local community. These partnerships have also been given some very specific jobs to do and plans to make to improve services to local communities. And to help with this they have also been given some money. The money isn’t a lot, compared to what these big organisations already spend, but is there to help make sure changes are made to make things better.

3. What is the Islington Community Network?
After the Government came up with the idea of Local Strategic Partnerships, they realised that there was a problem in making sure local communities could get represented properly on the Partnership. To make sure this worked the Government came up with a small amount of money to help develop what they decided to call Community Networks. These Community Networks, the idea is, would provide the community representatives to the local strategic partnership. In Islington, we have called this the Islington Community Network. In the borough there are over 1,000 voluntary and community groups doing all sorts of different things. Some, for example, are community centres based in local areas with lots and lots of things happening inside. Others, for example, work with specific members of the community – children, people with disabilities, refugees, supplementary schools, black communities, tenants, and lots more. Others are located around local neighbourhoods, and others around churches, or mosques. This is just a small example of the numerous different types of groups there are. They all, however, have something in common – they are run and managed and used by local people. Most of these community groups meet each other regularly so that they can work together, and many meet at existing forums and have federations to support them. The government chose IVAC in Islington to be the body that has the responsibility of setting up and running the Community Network.

4. Why IVAC?
In Islington there is one umbrella group who has the responsibility of providing overall support for all these groups, and that is Islington Voluntary Action Council (IVAC), an organisation set up over 30 years ago, and managed by the groups themselves to provide support and representation. Nearly all of Islington’s 1,000 groups have used IVAC’s services at one time or another, whether it was training, or help with managing finances, or getting advice on raising funds or help with a problem or any one of the large number of services to groups that IVAC offers. IVAC has also had the job of representing voluntary and community groups’ needs, and has therefore spent a lot of time and energy campaigning on behalf of groups, and trying its best to represent groups’ needs to other organisations, such as the Council.

5. What has IVAC been doing?
To get this going we have in the last year held meetings all around the borough with community and voluntary groups, have gone out and talked to literally thousands of people in order to set up an Islington Community Network, that represents properly community groups in the Borough. This network is made up of representatives of all the different community groups in the borough, with the representatives nominated and elected by the groups themselves. In all there are 25 representatives sitting on the network committee, and ten of these sit on the Islington Strategic Partnership.
Once they are on the Partnership they have the opportunity to meet with and influence the people who run Islington’s services – such as the Leader of the Council, the Chief of the local Police, the head of the Primary Care Trust (who run health services in Islington). On the partnership they will have a real say in how money is spent in the Borough, and a say on how services should be run for local people.
They will also get support in doing this – all their expenses will be paid, and there is money available to do all sorts of things – training, research, administration etc. – that will help them do their jobs.

6. What will happen when the Government’s money runs out?
Currently the simple answer is we are not sure. We have been told that if this whole programme seems to be going well then the Government will continue to fund it. But we have no guarantees, and it is quite possible that at the end of the year 2003/4 the Government could pull the plug. Even if they do, however, this is a new opportunity for the voluntary and community sector to build new partnerships and improve its networks. We expect to know about future funding by Christmas 2002.

7. How can I find out more about the Network and Partnership?
To find out more about the Islington Community Network, contact the Network Administrator, Colette Stevenson. She is based at IVAC, 322 Upper Street, London N1 2XQ, Telephone 020 7226 4862 ext 234, email colettestevenson@ivac.org.uk.

8. Where will I find out what they are doing?
Keep in touch by reading IVAC’s newsletter, Islington Community News (for subscriptions contact Mandy Griffin at IVAC on 020 7226 4862 ext 224, email mandy@ivac.org.uk, and keep track via this website or the community network's website on www.islingtoncommunitynetwork.org.uk.

9. How can I get involved?
To get involved with the Islington Community Network make sure your organisation is part of the voluntary/community network structure. For more details contact the Network Administrator, Colette Stevenson. She is based at IVAC, 322 Upper Street, London N1 2XQ, Telephone 020 7226 4862 ext 234, email colettestevenson@ivac.org.uk.

For information and documents relevant to the strategic partnership go to Islington Council's website on www.islington.gov.uk/news/news.asp?sectionid=1227

For further details about the Islington Community Network visit the new website on www.islingtoncommunitynetwork.org.uk.


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