Charities are being urged to join the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) Health and Wellbeing Alliance.
Following its relaunch on August 15, charities are being urged to join VCSE to ensure the lived experiences of the people they represent are reflected in the development of health policy.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said The Health and Wellbeing Alliance is a key element of the Health and Wellbeing Programme, the aim of which is to promote health equalities and reduce health inequalities across the UK.
The alliance is a partnership between DHSC, NHS England and Improvement, Public Health England and 20 voluntary sector partners and consortia, including Age UK, Carers UK, LGBT foundation and the Race Equality Foundation.
A spokesman for DHSC said the alliance ensures the voice of lived experience is incorporated early in policy development, and that important health and public health announcements and messages are shared through reaching communities who may be directly impacted via direct consultation.
The spokesman said the alliance has already helped shape policymaking. For example, when DHSC needed insight and input on a new autism commissioning model, the Complex Needs Consortium held a consultation with health and social care commissioners, autistic people, families, friends and carers to develop draft guidance to improve the way autistic people are supported.
Alliance members Homeless Link, for example, played a pivotal role in communication guidance and information to the homelessness sector around COVID-19.
While central government guidance was being rapidly developed, Homeless Link hosted weekly webinars to share good practice and hear from the sector about the issues they were experiencing, providing a vital 2-way communication stream.
A spokesman for DHSC said the work of the alliance will continue to be of the utmost importance as we look to the future to tackle these disparities and protect our most vulnerable communities. For example data shows black, Asian and minority ethnic communities (BAME) have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applications will close at midday on November 6.
A Meet the Funder webinar series for interested parties to hear more about the series and ask questions will run from 1 to 3 September.
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