Supporting the Community Sector


There are Councils for Voluntary Services (CVS) usually based in each district, borough or city across the country. CVSs are sometimes called local infrastructure organisations and exist to support, develop and deliver services to front line voluntary and community organisations.

Each CVS works behind the scenes in their locality to ensure that local voluntary sector groups and organisations get the support they need. They provide their members, and the local voluntary and community sector, with a range of services and development support in a number of ways:

  • Identifying gaps in services and developing new initiatives to meet unmet need.
  • Raising standards by promoting the Compact
  • Enabling communication and collaboration through newsletters, bulletins and network meetings
  • Providing a voice for the sector through consultations and policy development
  • Promoting strategic involvement of the sector at strategic partnership meetings
  • Delivering direct services for organisations such as funding advice, accommodation, training, finance and volunteering

Each CVS in Essex is part of a network that is in touch with over 164,000 local charities, voluntary and community groups across the country.  For more information about local support and development agencies visit the NAVCA website here.


Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Services (ECVYS) is a member-led umbrella organisation, providing representation, training, grants, sign-posting and networking for Voluntary Youth Organisations throughout Essex. Collectively, ECVYS is the independent voice of over 107,000 thousand young people and over 15,000 volunteers!
Have a look at our website  you will find updates on ECVYS activities, meetings, events, training and grants.

Healthwatch Essex

Healthwatch Essex is an independent charity which aims to capture the Lived Experience of the people of Essex around Health & Social care. The charity does this in various ways including academic research, high quality engagement and our telephone information and signposting service.  The charity uses this information to add insight to commissioning, design and delivery of services across Essex. The charity uses this Insight to raise the debate around ongoing issues and to ensure that the Lived Experience of the residents of Essex are heard at the strategic level of decision making.

Essex Compact

The Essex Compact is a written understanding between the Statutory, Voluntary and Community Sectors as to how they will work together. In the development and delivery of public policy and services, statutory organisations and the voluntary and community sector have distinct but complementary roles. All members signed up to the Essex Compact pledge to strive to work with partners to make services excellent.

All members accept the need to communicate with and listen to other partners. Statutory organisations and the voluntary and community sector have different forms of accountability and are answerable to different stakeholders, but common to both is a commitment to integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership and inclusivity. Each organisation which signs up to the Compact is required to appoint one or more Compact Champions whose task is to promote the Compact within their organisation.

The Essex Compact Steering Group offers a Compact Mediation Service to resolve disagreements and complaints between the voluntary and community sectors and the statutory sector which compromise the stated commitments and undermine the spirit of the Essex Compact.

To sign up to the Essex Compact and seek further information please contact the Chairman of the Compact Forum and Steering Group, Canon John D Brown at [email protected]