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New Chair Appointed to Norfolk and Waveney Health and Social Care Assembly

Emma RatzerEmma Ratzer (pictured) has been appointed as the first Chair of the Norfolk and Waveney VCSE (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector) Health and Social Care Assembly. The appointment was announced by the Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership which brings together the NHS, local government and the voluntary sector to improve health and care in our area. 

The idea for the VCSE Health and Social Care Assembly has been developed by representatives of the VCSE sector - including Community Action Norfolk, Community Action Suffolk, Voluntary Norfolk and Momentum - working together with NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Norfolk County Council.  As Chair, Emma will now lead the next stage of the work to develop an effective VCSE Assembly which can build stronger and more equitable partnerships between our large, diverse and vibrant voluntary sector and NHS and social care organisations.

Emma was appointed from a wide field of excellent candidates, following a rigorous recruitment process, involving a stakeholder panel of over 30 representatives from across Norfolk and Waveney. She has worked with local charity, Access Community Trust, since 2008 and been their chief executive since 2012, growing the organisation and providing support to people in some of our most disadvantaged communities.  Emma was made an MBE in 2019 for services to the community.

Emma will provide leadership and direction to the VCSE Assembly to enable the Assembly to effectively function as a mechanism to hear the views of the VCSE and collaborate and connect with a wide and diverse range of partners and stakeholders, on key issues and the wider ICS ambitions. She will also represent the VCSE Assembly on the ICS.

Patricia Hewitt, Independent Chair of Norfolk and Waveney’s Integrated Care System, said: “I am delighted to announce Emma’s appointment, following a very stringent and inclusive interview process. Her experience, passion, and commitment to the VCSE sector and the people they serve will be an invaluable addition to our partnership. We are fortunate to have over 10,000 voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations in Norfolk and Waveney. This vibrant, diverse and innovative sector is a vital partner within the emerging Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System. As Chair of the VCSE Assembly, Emma will have a crucial role in ensuring that the needs, skills and scope of the sector are effectively represented in local decision-making.”

Emma Ratzer said “I’m delighted and proud to be welcomed as Chair of the VCSE Assembly and I look forward to developing the unique and ambitious partnership of a Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System. The VCSE sector continues to deliver incredible benefits to our communities and our statutory partners, particularly around financial models and social value impact. Support for all statutory and non-statutory sectors during the pandemic has been tremendous, but I fear the full effects of the last year are yet to present themselves. We have a real opportunity and responsibility to drive and commit to a collective ambition and shared vision that will actively steer future change in service provision, working collaboratively to positively address the growing inequalities within our communities with compassion, care, and attention to detail. I am looking forward to being a part of a sustaining, empowering and influencing Assembly designed to foster strategic imagination that moves us from conversation to action”.

Led by a cross-sector working group the recruitment design was carefully considered and managed to ensure we had a successful appointment. The inclusion of the VCSE sector in both the design and at each stage of assessment and decision making allowed for testing, challenge, and exploration of the key qualities of the candidates, via shortlisting, an inclusive and transparent stakeholder panel with VCSE and wider ICS representation, and a final appointments panel. The approach adopted also demonstrated our shared commitment to ICS partnership working by including partner representation at each stage of the selection process, but with the final decision making process weighted in favour of the VCSE sector. Members of

the stakeholder panel included 18 VCSE partners and 6 colleagues from statutory organisations, who met all shortlisted candidates and received a presentation from each followed by an open discussion. Independent feedback via an online tool was received from each panel members, and was shared with the appointment panel who also met all shortlisted candidates. Three VCSE representatives from the stakeholder panel also joined the final appointment panel, and represented the diversity and breadth of the sector.

Dan Skipper, Chief Executive Officer, Age UK Norwich, a member of both the stakeholder panel and final appointment panel, made the following comments after the recruitment process: “The appointment of Emma as the VCSE Assembly Chair is a big step in strengthening the partnership between health and social care and the VCSE sector. Emma’s role to develop the VCSE Assembly as part of the ICS will embolden the role of the VCSE and the fantastic diversity of support we provide to people and communities, and how this can complement and enhance statutory services.  This collaboration was clearly demonstrated throughout the recruitment for the Chair, which included a wide variety of VCSE organisations, as well as health leaders and commissioners, to select the best candidate for this important role. “

Dan Mobbs, Elected Chair of the VCSE Forum for Children and Young People, who was also a member of both the stakeholder panel and final appointment panel said “I’m delighted that Emma has been appointed as chair of the assembly. As a passionate and principled charity leader I believe she will provide the facilitation we need to ensure we work together with our public sector colleagues to support our communities to the best of our shared strengths”.

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