Voluntary and Community Sector - invitations to bid

Lead organisation for the co-design of Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure Support Services in Rotherham

The Council is seeking to appoint a lead voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisation in Rotherham to develop co-designed infrastructure support services for the VCS over a three-year period commencing 1st April 2024. The co-design will lead to a three-year service level agreement (from 1st April 2024 to 31st March 2027) with the partner VCS Infrastructure organisation. A budget of £126,000 per annum is allocated for each year of the service level agreement.

Infrastructure services provide support that helps VCS organisations across the borough to become more effective and sustainable.

Strategic drive and ambition

Critically, the co-design for VCS infrastructure provision will be required to review the strategic aspiration for the VCS in Rotherham. A wide range of challenges and opportunities face the sector over the next few years. This includes strengthening partnership working, improving self-help and resilience, promoting sustainability and growth with the additional context of current cost of living issues. This includes voluntary organisations being innovators in the community as well as service providers.

The co-design for VCS Infrastructure will also need to set out how the VCS will support equalities and encourage representation from all communities and protected characteristic groups in service design and decision making.

Specifics to be addressed

The three-year grant funding Service Level Agreement for infrastructure services will ensure, among other things, that outcomes are planned for and met against the following key areas in support of the strategic drive and ambition:

  • Developing and delivering a dynamic programme, taking forward strategic drive and ambition to build the role of the VCS to engage at all levels including nationally, regionally, and in Rotherham to support and promote a vibrant VCS that can initiate and act as a catalyst for sustainable and resilient community activity.
  • Constructive engagement in partnership working across agencies in Rotherham, contributing to strategic direction for the borough and engaging the VCS in delivering outcomes aligned to shared priorities.
  • Building social capital and social value, strengthening community assets in neighbourhoods and wards, linking with the roles of councillors, Neighbourhoods officers and VCS activity at the local level.
  • Supporting VCS organisations to become financially resilient and not overly reliant on single sources of funding. Providing support for bidding for funds including information and help with bids as appropriate.
  • Championing the “Rotherham Compact” and facilitating update and review as appropriate.
  • Supporting and developing the role of volunteers in the community including developing the skills of volunteers. This to include brokerage of volunteer offers to VCS activity need and volunteering opportunities in public services.
  • Promote equalities and community cohesion through working with communities (particularly those who are marginalised or facing social exclusion) at ward and neighbourhood levels. This includes the approach to supporting tackling inequalities and deprivation, linking to and supporting working across advice and crisis support services.

Specifically, the bid to lead the co-design and co-delivery needs to set out:

  1. The methodology for how the organisation will engage with the other third sector providers in the co-design and co-delivery;
  2. A timetable outlining key steps for co-design process, which should be completed by the end of July 2023;
  3. How a commitment to support equalities across all communities (including protected characteristic groups) will be implemented in practice;
  4. Clearly demonstrate previous experience in this area of work;
  5. Demonstrate management and organisational capacity to manage funds, initiatives and complex delivery partnerships/consortia;
  6. The lead organisation’s legal status and related governance structures;
  7. The latest annual accounts to evidence the good financial health of the organisation

Bids should be sent in a letter format by email addressing the criteria set out above. The co-design process is that set out in the Rotherham Compact which sets out the relationship between the Council and VCS in Rotherham. Other information on local priorities is available in the Thriving Neighbourhoods Strategy, Council Plan and Rotherham Plan.

The closing date for bids is 5pm on Tuesday 30th May 2023. Bids should be sent to waheed.akhtar@rotherham.gov.uk

For an informal discussion please contact Waheed Akhtar, Communities Manager, Assistant Chief Executive’s Directorate



T: (01709) 822795