How Catalyst represents the VCSE sector, written by Jon Carling – Catalyst CEO

I would like to update on how Catalyst represents the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in discussions with decision-making partners, mainly in the public sector, and to ask for your continued engagement in this process.

Decisions are taken all the time about plans, priorities and the use of public money by our public sector friends, partners and commissioners. Typically these include the Local Authority, NHS bodies, Police and others. They are usually keen to include VCSE colleagues in discussions that lead to those decisions. Sometimes one organisation might be involved, or often the decisions are taken by a group of partners. For example, the Health and Well-Being Board includes colleagues from several NHS organisations, the local authority, and also Healthwatch. Catalyst sits on the Board for the VCSE sector, and also on groups such as the Community Safety Partnership, Domestic Abuse Steering Group and several others. Normally it will be myself, Clare Gamble or Lucy Owens who attends those meetings, or there are senior colleagues in other organisations who attend for the sector, with input from Catalyst.

It is really important to us, and to you, that we do not attend those meetings without having an understanding of what the sector thinks, and what you, our customers, would want us to say. As you know Catalyst works with VCSE organisations all the time, and many of you will be in day-to-day contact with Catalyst staff. What you tell us really is shared amongst the team, so we have a feel for what you think. Beyond this, we also run a series of thematic forums where key issues are discussed.

We will always put meetings of the Health and Well Being Forum (HWBF), for example, in the diary a few days before the Health and Well Being Board and the Stockton Place Committee. At the HWBF I will always go through the agenda and papers for those meetings and ask colleagues for their opinions – in effect, what do you want me to say? Or what do you want the VCSE sector to get out of the meeting? I will then raise those points in the meetings – and I will always feed back to HWBF members afterwards, in an email setting out the main points of the meeting.

Clearly, the more people attend the HWBF, the more likely I am to be able to reflect the views of the sector accurately.

Below is a list of the thematic forums that Catalyst operates. We would really love to see as many people there as possible. If you aren’t on the mailing list for these groups, please tell us and we will add you. Your contact for this is

I need to know what you think about all this, so please write to me if you have any comments on this letter!

Best wishes, Jon Carling

CEO Catalyst Stockton-on-Tees Ltd

Forum Feeds in to… Frequency
Health and Wellbeing Health and Well Being Board

Domestic Abuse Steering Group, Physical Activities Steering Group, Stockton Place Committee

Mental Health Health and Well Being Board, Integrated Mental Health Steering Group, Stockton Place Committee Every 2 months
Over 50s Various Every 2 months
Senior Leaders Strategic discussions generally Every 2 months
VOICE Strategic discussions generally; Community Safety Partnership Every 2 months
Youth Providers Children and Young People’s Partnership Quarterly
Climate Action Network Stockton Environmental Sustainability Strategy Approx. every two months


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