Health and social care round-up: November 2020

This recurring blog post aims to inform voluntary and public sector colleagues about national health and social care policy, with an emphasis on volunteering and the voluntary sector. It is part of NCVO’s work as a member of the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

Please send ideas for our next round-up, in January 2021, to

How is your data and intelligence used?

We are looking into how public sector bodies use, or don’t use, the large amount of data and intelligence that voluntary organisations tend to hold on their client populations. We want to hear from frontline organisations about the types of data you collect, and how it contributes meaningfully to service planning.

Please complete this short survey. You can respond anonymously if you prefer.

NHS volunteer responders

The NHS volunteer responders programme is recruiting across England to meet increasing demand for volunteers to support in the fightback against covid-19.

  • If you are able to promote this opportunity to volunteers who may currently be stood down from other duties, please direct them to the responders sign-up page.
  • For social media graphics and template communications please request the comms toolkit from

The programme does not seek to replace local volunteering, but to provide an additional safety net. Going forward it will focus on:

  • delivery of equipment to monitor vulnerable covid patients in their homes
  • marshalling people at vaccination clinics
  • delivering food and medication
  • phone calls to vulnerable people.

Support from NHS England with responder recruitment

You can request a meeting by emailing

Or join a recruitment information webinar:

General updates on the responder programme

These webinars provide an overview of the programme, including facts, figures and the most recent updates on programme adaptations in response to the needs of vulnerable people. They are an opportunity to ask questions about the programme and hear about its impact.

Impact of covid on young people – free webinar

25 November, 16.00

Association for Young People’s Health is running a free webinar highlighting what the evidence is telling us about how the pandemic and lockdown are affecting young people.

Engaging older volunteers – inclusively

The Centre for Ageing Better has published a guide to enable voluntary organisations mobilise a more diverse range of people aged 50+. The research draws on what has been learned during the pandemic and presents five ways to diversify your volunteer base.

Volunteer wellbeing – what works and who benefits?

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing has published a research briefing on the positive and negative impacts of volunteering on:

  • happiness
  • life satisfaction
  • quality of life
  • feelings of depression and anxiety.

They found that volunteering is associated with enhanced wellbeing, both for individual volunteers and for communities. The briefing makes a range of recommendations for how to improve volunteering experiences and opportunities, making them more inclusive and more effective in improving wellbeing.

What the pandemic has taught us about community engagement

Register for Engage 2020, a conference from the Engagement Practitioners Network of NHS and care system organisations working with communities, 16–27 November

More than 60 sessions, with the theme: ‘What we have learned about community engagement from the recent pandemic, and how we can apply this to the recovery of the health system, building a better health system for all’

The state of health care and adult social care in England

The Care Quality Commission’s annual report, The state of health care and adult social care in England, highlights the broad and rapid changes which occurred in health and social care services during the pandemic, and the positive and negative impact. Differences around the country and between organisations have led to significant variation in care and support. The report suggests that covid presents an opportunity to review and reset the health and social care system, improving how all aspects of the system work together to meet needs and improve people’s lives.

Covid-19 Voluntary Sector Impact Barometer

We have published the first results from our Voluntary Sector Impact Barometer. Developed in partnership with Nottingham Trent and Sheffield Hallam universities, the barometer includes questions on finance, workforce and volunteering. You can read the full report and view the dashboard for more information. Thank you to all who took part in phase one.

Stay informed

If you work in the voluntary or public sector and you want to be kept informed about national health and social care policy, with an emphasis on volunteering and the voluntary sector, please subscribe here.


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Avatar photo Lev is an associate consultant to NCVO, and has specialist interest and knowledge in the role of the voluntary sector in public service transformation, partnerships and consortia, charity governance and leadership.

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