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Chief Officers & Chairs Group

Chief Officers & Chairs Group

To work together to ensure a thriving third sector in the Harrogate District which is able to meet the needs of the local community
Next 2018 meeting dates

Wednesday 21 November                  11.00am – 1.00pm    (at Harrogate Civic Centre) -  Book your free place here 

If you can offer a venue for a future meeting please email 

If you are a Chief Officer or Chair of a local voluntary organisation working in Harrogate District you are very welcome to join us.  Please book your place using the link above. 

September 2018 Update

Leading an organisation can sometimes be a lonely place, so it's good to be able to get together to share issues and challenges, as well as good news and success. Thank you to Ripon YMCA for kindly hosting the Group, which is working together to help the people who need our local members’ charity services.

Opportunities for partnership working, funding, feedback and representation were shared. The information exchange is always valuable for members and also raises awareness of current issues, including problems around basic two way communications with the voluntary sector. Karen, HARCVS Chief Executive, is then able to raise these issues in her role as voluntary sector representative on the Harrogate District Public Services Leadership Board

With regards to public sector funding, there was often the need to do more with less. It was necessary to manage expectations. The voluntary sector needed to be assertive about what could be realistically delivered for the funding provided. Small amounts of money were not being made available for prevention services. Sometimes it seemed to be getting harder to engage, when there was a need to work together.

May 2018 Update

The meeting was kindly hosted by Saint Michael's Hospice. 

We discussed how we can sustain and develop much needed local charity support services. Colleagues from NHS Harrogate and Rural District CCG and North Yorkshire County Council gave an update about their work and future plans for integrated care. Group members made the important point that if referrals are made to local charity services, funding needs to follow to enable the services to be delivered and to meet demand. The voluntary sector needs to be at the table involved in decision making. 

A request was made to ensure that the contribution made by the sector is recognised and valued and acknowledgment that it is not sustainable to refer people on into the voluntary sector without consideration of how such support is paid for.  Even when services are delivered by volunteers they are never free, and overheads need to be met; safeguarding ensured and legal obligations adhered to.

February 2018 Update

We had a busy meeting sharing latest developments about new projects to help people in our local communities, opportunities for joint training, funding and developing community spaces. There was an update on THE LOCAL FUND which launched on 31 January and opportunities and experiences shared on the topic of business and team volunteering.  Many organisations were facing challenges and uncertainties around future funding. The review of wellbeing and prevention services by North Yorkshire County Council was a challenging time with long established and valued local services vulnerable in the competitive process. With potentially significantly less investment in the District there would be an impact on individuals in need, volunteers and organisations. The Group would need to work together to flag up the impact on local communities.

November 2017 Update

In November, Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre kindly hosted the meeting. A range of concerns and issues were shared including the impact of Universal Credit, disability awareness for transport providers, hospital based care for people with mental health issues and preparing for GDPR. The North Yorkshire Prevention Services Review, the possible impact on local people who needed support and the issues of capacity and growth for local charities were flagged as concerns to be raised. There was positive news about THE LOCAL FUND for Harrogate District being formed by a three-way partnership between Harrogate Borough Council, HARCVS and Two Ridings Community Foundation, in the face of ongoing pressure on public budgets and over subscription to existing funds.  There had been positive discussions about voluntary sector involvement in the West Yorkshire & Harrogate Health and Care Partnership but there was a need for better evidence of the impact of prevention and wellbeing work on primary care. There is some difficulty in engaging across the wide group and geographical and political issues, but this was a pathway to influence and it was time to get involved to ensure the voluntary sector is able to influence the work that is happening at a West Yorkshire and Harrogate level.  

September  2017 Update

The meeting was once again kindly hosted by Saint Michael's Hospice. Leah Swain, Chief Executive of Community First Yorkshire, gave a presentation on the new county wide service providing support for capacity building for voluntary and community organisations and volunteering from 1 April 2017. HARCVS stressed that campaigns and initiatives at county level needed to have regard to local initiatives, connections and good practice. Local networks provide peer support and help gather evidence of local need.    

May  2017 Update

The meeting was kindly hosted by Saint Michael's Hospice. An information exchange confirmed that there were many positive developments and new initiatives, with lots of activity meeting the needs of local people. There was a lot to be optimistic about for the voluntary sector in Harrogate District. Topics included developments on the proposed Harrogate District Community Fund, future funding arrangements for prevention services in North Yorkshire and the role HARCVS would continue to play supporting communities, charities and volunteers in the district.     

February  2017 Update

In February the Group met in the Harrogate Borough Council Chamber to hear about proposals for a Harrogate District Lottery to provide more local resources for the community. Voluntary sector colleagues were asked for their views; whether they would support the lottery and to share any concerns they had. Other current topics covered included the need to apply the principles of social value when commissioning services. 

November 2016 Update

The meeting was kindly hosted by Yorkshire Yoga. Decision makers from 18 local voluntary and community organisations welcomed Jan Garrill, Chief Executive of Two Ridings Community Foundation (TRCF), who gave an update on the work of TRCF, how this links in to our work in the district and proposals for a new Harrogate District Community Fund. Other topics included the West Yorkshire and Harrogate NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), updates on the NHS New Care Model Programme, social prescribing projects and voluntary sector representation on Prevention and Early Intervention task groups.  

September 2016 Update

The meeting was kindly hosted by Saint Michael's Hospice and we enjoyed a short tour of the hospice before the meeting. 14 decision makers from local voluntary and community organisations were updated on the NHS New Care Model Programme,  discussed  where the voluntary sector fitted in and looked at the new themes. HARCVS was setting up a meeting with commissioners to look at opportunities for involvement. Members of the Group were also informed about the work of the Public Services Leadership Board and Health and Wellbeing Board and how local charities’ work could fit in with current priorities. HARCVS shared information and invited feedback on proposals for a Harrogate District Community Fund. There was a positive response, so HARCVS will continue to speak to partners and take the proposal forward. 

May 2016 Update

The meeting was kindly hosted by Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre. We enjoyed a tour of the workshops before the meeting. 15 decision makers from local voluntary and community organisations attended to share information about topics including using cases studies, commissioning and contracting, basic responsibilities such are health and safety, Volunteers Week and marketing. There were concerns over lack of continuation funding arrangements to allow VCS services with evidenced outcomes to continue and develop. An event on 15 June, organised by HARCVS, will bring VCS colleagues together with commissioners and partners. At this event we will consider how the VCS can collaborate to secure the best possible support for our beneficiaries and how we can influence and work with partners, commissioners and funders to support our mission and aims. 

Background to the Group

The Chief Officers and Chairs Group was set up by Harrogate & Area CVS and Ripon CVS in late 2009 in order to support the local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) to consult on the NYCC and NHS North Yorkshire and York “Securing the Future: A Dialogue with the Third Sector” paper.

The group was established to allow key decision makers from local VCS organisations to identify issues of mutual concern and to generate local solutions. The group aims to collaborate and communicate more effectively within the sector and therefore strengthen the collective voice of the local VCS.

The group is facilitated by HARCVS and meets up to 4 times a year at different venues, offered by its members. The terms of reference can be read here.

Join the Chief Officers & Chairs Group

If you are a decision maker in a voluntary organisation in Harrogate District and would like to receive information about the group, attend a future meeting, have ideas for topics for future meetings or are able to offer a venue for a meeting please contact Angela on 01423 504074 or email