What's New?

Localism Bill becomes an Act of Parliament

Following much debate, the Localism Bill became an Act of Parliament on the 15th November after both the House of Commons and House of Lords agreed amendments to the text of the Bill. The Localism Act is now an Act of Law, of which neighbourhood planning is a key component. On the following pages you can find out how CamdenCEN has been working with two very different communities in Camden to test the neighbourhood planning concept and prepare a Camden Blueprint for Neighbourhood Planning.

New Publications added to 'resources' page- Oct 11

Big Society

Neighbourhood Planning


Public Service Delivery

Somers Town Neighbourhood Planning Event- 30 September

We hosted our first Neighbourhood Planning event with residents of Somers Town on the 30 September at Somers Town Community Centre. As part of our Camden Blueprint project we were keen to explore how the neighbourhood planning process would work in the area. Similarly as in Bloomsbury, the aim was to define neighbourhood boundaries, identify local priorities and debate the type of forum that should lead a planning project; but this time there was a strong focus on engaging people who are under-represented or do not usually take part in community activities (including young people, older people and people from BME communities) through targeted workshops.

You can find out all about the event in Somers Town, our Camden Blueprint Project and Neighbourhood Planning on our website.

Neighbourhood Planning Event- 19th July

In response to interest generated by our Localism seminar in March we have started to explore how neighbourhood planning could work in Camden. We began working with Bloomsbury Neighbourhood Association and Bury Place residents in June to develop a planning project.


On July 19th we facilitated a planning event for local residents and businesses at St Georges Church, Bloomsbury. The event was used to debate and define neighbourhood boundaries, the type of group needed to lead a planning process, and set up a local skills and resources bank. The event report is now available to download.

Through providing independent support and facilitation to two very different neighbourhoods we hope to learn how neighbourhood planning can work in the borough. We aim to develop a Camden Blueprint by the end of December 2011, and share the learning with other communities and with borough planners. From September you will find updates on this website, in Voluntary Matters and in VAC's weekly email bulletins.

Fore more information please contact Donna Turnbull

Camden Blueprint- Neighbourhood Planning

In the Governments agenda for Localism, changes to the planning system are expected to give communities greater power and ownership over policies and plans that affect their local area by allowing people to develop their own local plans. This has been termed 'Neighbourhood Planning'.

Through providing independent support and facilitation to two very different neighbourhood's we hope to learn how neighbourhood planning can work in the borough. We aim to develop a Camden Blueprint by the end of December 2011, and share the learning with other communities and with borough planners. From September you will find updates on this website, in Voluntary Matters and in VAC's weekly email bulletins.

Find out more on the Camden Blueprint page

New Publications added to 'resources' page- Aug 11

A number of new resources have been added to the CamdenCEN website.  Please use the links below to review the latest publications:

The Localism Bill

Big Society


New Publications added to 'resources' page- June 11

A number of new resources have been added to the CamdenCEN website.  Please use the links below to review the latest publications:

The Localism Bill


Giving White Paper

In May, the Government unveiled new plans to make it easier to donate time and resources to charity. This CamdenCEN briefing looks at each of these new measures in more detail, including new developments for the support of infra-structure organisations.

The Localism Bill: Seminar

On Friday 25th March, CamdenCEN hosted a seminar at the New Horizon Youth Centre with key-speakers from Camden Council and the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS). The aim was to raise understanding and awareness about the Localism Bill, hear different perspectives on the proposals, and discuss points of interest including the opportunities, and challenges it presents. A report from the event is available to download. Please see the 'meetings' page for more information.

The Localism Bill

Article by CamdenCEN- Challenging, Buying and Building: Localism, Decentralization and the Big Society

CamdenCEN recently wrote an article to be published in the spring edition of Voluntary Matters (the newsletter of Voluntary Action Camden). The article takes a much closer look at the Localism Bill and the likely challenges and opportunities it presents.

Useful Resources

Campaigns, Consultations and Petitions

Following on from feedback received at the CamdenCEN seminar: Responding to Financial Challenges and Managing Impacts, CamdenCEN has produced a document listing local, London-wide and national campaigns, consultations and petitions you can join up to should you wish to.

None of the listed items here are affiliated with CamdenCEN so please use the contact details provided if you wish to engage with the organisation or activity.

If your organisation is leading its own campaign and you would like this listed, or if you know of any other organisation that may benefit from the additional publicity, please contact Alex Charles

Responding to Financial Challenges and Managing Impacts Seminar

Feedback from Friday 4th February

This seminar illustrates some of the impact of the current economic and policy climate on the voluntary and community sector in Camden . 18 groups and organisations took part in a seminar where they built case studies about their groups or organisations and the people they work with or support. The participants represented different aspects of the voluntary and community sector including small un-funded groups supporting tenants and residents or specific communities, small and medium sized enterprises, and larger charities and service providers.

The case study exercise focused on three questions, each answered in relation to community / beneficiaries and group / organisation:

The resulting case studies were redistributed and participants were invited to comment on these – to find connections and common ground, and to suggest other ideas and solutions.

The findings of this seminar were compiled into a report which was widely-circulated throughout Camden. The report can be downloaded below.

The Localism Bill

On the 13th December 2010, the Localism Bill was presented to parliament for its first reading. This CamdenCEN briefing looks at the four main aspects of the Bill.

Visit the briefings page to download other recent CamdenCEN briefings

Developing a Vision for the LSP: CamdenCEN Response

During December 2010 Camden Community Empowerment Network hosted a seminar and meetings, received email and verbal feedback, and gathered views from VCS members of strategic partnerships and groups in the borough on a future vision for LSP. The following paper has been put together using feedback from voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations.

Government publishes new National Compact....

Recently published, the new national Compact agreements sets out the shared principles and guidelines for the government to work in partnership with the voluntary and community sector. Download the latest publications below, or visit the Compact page for more information on the Camden Compact.

CamdenCEN LSP representatives

In October the CamdenCEN Executive Board were asked to elect four representatives from the CamdenCEN Executive to represent the Voluntary and Community Sector at the Local Strategic Partnership. The elected Chair and Vice-Chair take up two of the four available places and the remaining two places are filled by electing two further members of the Executive.

It has been the practice to elect representatives from both front line and infrastructure (2nd tier) organistaions to ensure a balance from across the sector.

Elected LSP representatives for this term:

Download the Terms of Reference and Code of Conduct

Spending review: quick summary of points for the Voluntary and Community Sector

In response to the spending review announced on the 20th October 2010, key points concerning the Voluntary and Community Sector have been summarised and are available to download

Please contact Donna Turnbull for more information

Camden 's voluntary and community sector review

Feedback and response from the 11th October seminar

The seminar focused on some of the general themes of the review. Council officers participated in the second half of the seminar to discuss points that had been raised.

The four themes discussed were:

The introductory presentation slides as well as full notes from the seminar are available to download.

Big Society – Big Discussion Event

Feedback and response from 14th September seminar

The seminar focused on four main areas: sharing knowledge; identifying threats and opportunities; developing ideas and deciding what is needed to manage threats and capitalize on opportunities

Key Messages for the Government

Key Messages for the Voluntary & Community Sector

You can download both the introductory presentation and the full write up of the notes taken at the seminar

There were also a number of suggestions and requests from organisations requiring further information and seminars. Camden CEN are responding to these requests through future events and briefings.

To kick-off, on November 5th we are holding a seminar called 'Introduction to Building Consortia and Partnerships'.

See below for more details

Voluntary Sector asked for their ideas on how to do more for less

A recent open letter written by Francis Maude (Minister for the Cabinet Office) and Nick Hurdy (Minister for Civil Society), asks voluntary, community and social enterprise groups for their ideas on how to help reduce the deficit. Your concerns, ideas for savings, and examples of best practice can be posted on the Cabinet Office Website or emailed directly to the Office for Civil Society. Click here to find out more.

What are Local Councilors Proposals to Improve Life in the Capital?

London Councils is inviting councilors from across London to put forward their suggestions and ideas for improving life in the capital. The proposals are now available to read online on the London Councils' website. All councilors are welcome to contribute and can comment on published proposals online.

Read I propose...

Office of the Third Sector New Web Pages help Third Sector Keep up to Date with Regulation

The Government is committed to ensuring that third sector organisations are not subject to unnecessary or disproportionate regulation and administrative burdens.

The new pages include information about changes to charity law and regulation, including the implementation plan for the Charities Act 2006 and the Plain English guide to the Act.  However, they also provide links to useful information on other website's, such as:

• the Simplification Plans all Government departments to produce that outline their achievements in reducing the burden of regulation on businesses, charities and voluntary organisations

• the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills new Employment Law Organizer, which is intended to help all employers, including third sector organisations, manage the key legal obligations they are required to fulfil

The new law and regulation pages will be regularly updated to highlight the latest developments in cutting red tape for third sector organisations to help them to keep up with changes that help them.

Volunteering in the Recession

Volunteering in the Recession is the outline report from Volunteering England which went to the Recession Summit on 21 January 2010

There are widespread reports from volunteer-involving organisations (VIO's) of major increases in enquiries about volunteering and in numbers of volunteers taken on. The public awareness, press coverage (notably, advice columns) and political profile for volunteering are substantially raise

The focus on volunteering in relation to employment has produced a number of advances in policy, practice and institutional relationships.

The increased demand for services are producing major stresses in volunteering systems and, as funding has remained level or been reduced, a range of negative development

View the report here

Two new publications from New Economics Foundation

A Bit Rich: Calculating the real value to society of different professions.

In this report NEF calculate the value to society of a number of different jobs and advocates a fundamental rethink of how the value of work is recognized and rewarded.

Download a copy here A Bit Rich

The Challenge of Co-Production

How equal partnerships between professionals and the public are crucial to improving public services

Download a copy here The Challenge of Co Production

CamdenCEN Factsheets

CamdenCEN has produced a number of factsheets around the LSP, Community Strategy and other strategic structures. You can download them from the Briefings and Factsheets page.


If there are any other titles you would like to see please let us know


Public Law

The Voluntary and Community Sector can use Public Law to challenge the bad behavior of public bodies - such as the council or PCT - and propose better working practices that are fair to you and your service users.

The session will cover the key principles and how to spot

By the end of the session you will have ideas of what remedies are open to you and how to go about getting a fair decision!

Check out Voluntary Action Camden's Training Calendar to find when sessions are being held. You can access the training calendar here :http://www.vac.org.uk/training

Check out our updated Jargon Buster on the Jargon Buster page

The Social and Economic Impact of the Voluntary and Community Sector

Want some facts and figures on the added value of the Voluntary and Community Sector to support your funding application ? Click here for the OPM report


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