An update on Cornwall's TCA programme

The formal programme of work for our TCA-funded project is due to come to an end in March 2017 and so the partners in the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector and Cornwall Council have been working through the details of an 'exit strategy'. This will allow the programme's research, activities and engagement on the five individual projects to be continued as part of the Council’s ‘business as usual’.

The board met in November 2016 to consider proposals for taking each of the projects forward and agreed a budget. Here’s an update on each of them and if you would like to know more, please email us at

Debt and welfare information and support

Neil Colquhoun from Citizens Advice Cornwall and Ian Stephens from the Council are progressing the work on how to transform the way people access information and advice. This project specifically looked at those needing help with debt and welfare issues, but it’s hoped the approach can be extended to other areas of information and support. This is set to become a formal project in its own right, running over the next two years, with the intention to potentially commission an information and support service.

Place-based pilots

In considering what the aim of the pilots should be and which location to choose, Ian Jones from Volunteer Cornwall, Peter Jefferson from Cornwall Rural Community Charity, Ian Smith from Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum, with Rob Andrew and Charlotte Hill from the Council, proposed to change the focus to one pilot to test the delivery of a collective impact approach. This will be in Liskeard and link with a DWP pilot scheme to help people on sickness benefits back to work and the Council’s One Public Estate initiative already happening there. The pilot will test two approaches, using collective impact methodology to test effectiveness:

  1. Creative and flexible commissioning and co-design practice to support communities to take more action to help themselves.
  2. Integration of formal (statutory) and informal support networks.

The pilot will also be based on the Cornwall TCA Theory of Change. A tender opportunity for the pilot is expected to be advertised early in 2017, with an anticipated start date of April 2017.


The Cornwall Commissioning Academy – which brought together commissioners from across the Council, NHS Kernow, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Isles of Scilly Council, and Department for Work and Pensions – has now concluded. The participants want to build on the success of the Academy and are establishing a new network. They will also consider how to include the VCSE sector and Cornwall councillors into the ongoing discussions and learning about commissioning.

VCSE representatives are also getting involved in the development of the Commissioning Toolkit. This project is being led by the Council’s Children, Families and Adults directorate and supported by the TCA team. Organised around the Institute of Public Care’s commissioning cycle model, the toolkit will contain templates, case studies and other resources to support co-production, integration, and improvements in outcomes for people through effective approaches to commissioning.

VCSE sector support

The TCA programme has looked at many options for how the Council and other public sector partners might commission a new model of sector support. This has included the VCSE summit in April, marketplace events through the year, and a working group: all of which has had input on what a specification for sector support might include and how it should be commissioned.

The revised specification draws on the feedback from the sector and now focuses on two key areas which were recurrent key themes:

  • Effective business development and support for VCSE sector organisations, delivering the types of support identified by the sector as crucial to their sustainability and growth.
  • Asset-based approaches, co-production and a time-credit economy for adults with complex needs, delivering a model of social action that will enhance the services offered and improve their outcomes. This will also have a geographical focus in two areas, based on evidence of need.

The options to deliver these elements and the potential routes to market will be discussed with the TCA board in January 2017 and this will inform the tender opportunities for these areas of work. It is intended that these opportunities will be published shortly after that discussion, with an anticipated start date of April/May 2017.


One of the aims in the original bid was to make savings through the programme; this project will now be continued by the Council’s Commercial Services team.

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