Health and the Community & Voluntary Sector

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2006 Health Care Service Group Conference
1 December 2005
Carried as Amended

Conference notes the important historical role the community and voluntary sector has provided in shaping public services – not as an alternative for directly-employed public sector workers, but as an innovator, working with the NHS and campaigning for new ideas and ways of working.

In the last five years, since the 2000 National Delegate Conference approved the Development & Organisation Committee’s report ‘Organising in the voluntary sector’, UNISON has made much progress in the community and voluntary sector. All 12 regions have organising plans for the sector; the union has national organising targets and a mechanism for determining future targets; regular and comprehensive mapping of sector membership takes place; and specific organising materials have been produced, along with a variety of bargaining information and support, all made available through improved communications for members and stewards including UNISON’s national community and voluntary sector web site.

Conference also notes the increasing role community and voluntary sector members play within UNISON. The community and voluntary sector now has over 50,000 members, making it the union’s fastest growing sector, and UNISON is investing an increasing amount of resources in the sector. In addition, the community and voluntary sector itself is growing rapidly, and we must ensure that recruitment accelerates, so that our density can also continue to rise. But many members in the sector feel under-valued and under-represented within the union. These points must be recognised in both our representational structures and our organising strategy.

In order to recognise the valuable role community and voluntary sector members play in public services and in UNISON, conference calls on the Health SGE to seek:

1.The development of national and regional health sector organising targets in the community and voluntary sector, to reflect the important and increasing role the sector plays within Health.

2.Closer working between the Health Service Group and the joint Health/Local Government community and voluntary sector national forum, so that experiences can be shared and the union can develop coherent organising and campaigning strategies for the community and voluntary sector within Health.

3.Guaranteed community and voluntary sector seats on each regional health committee.

4.Renewed efforts to increase Health representation on the national community and voluntary sector forum.