Department for Education Overarching Strategic Partnership programme

Department for Education 2011-2013

Contact Tracey Bignall

The Department for Education (DfE) Overarching Strategic Partnership programme aims to support the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector serving children, young people and families by sharing best practice, learning, and advice. The Race Equality Foundation are partners in a coalition including Community Matters, NVCYS, NAVCA, and the Social Enterprise Coalition and led by Children England.

Partnership activities will include :

  • disseminating information, expertise and resources
  • delivering a wide range of training and learning opportunities
  • gathering the perspectives of thousands of organisations and community interest groups to feed back to the Department.

The concerns of the sector will be shared with the DfE throughout the course of the two year programme. The resources and work programmes will equip organisations to maximise their sustainability and growth through diverse funding mechanisms, public sector commissioning, consortium building, and learning from and supporting each other.

As part of the programme of work the Race Equality Foundation will lead the promotion of diversity to the sector.  We will also evaluate the impact of the programme on organisations working with children, young people and families.

Policy briefings

The Partnership has produced a number of policy briefings on issues relating to children and families.

Please note, the Foundation is not responsible for content on external websites.

Legislative/policy changes

Social work


Overarching Strategic Partnership Programme

Sources of funding

Young people

Perfect Storm: Market analysis of risks facing the voluntary and community centre


The Department for Education Strategic Partners carried out a series of free training events for organisations working with children and young people.  The training sessions covered a variety of issues including business planning, community asset management and provision of equal and responsive services.


NAVCA have launched a new e learning programme, Creating Successful Business Plans.  The programme has eight learning sections and an optional end test and it is estimated that to complete the programme learners need to allocate between 10-12 hours of active learning. The learning activities are mixed and each learner is supplied with a development log to record progress, this also contains links to a wide range of web based resources to support learners to better understand business planning.

The programme covers a wide range of topics including:

  • Being business-like
  • Preparing to write a business plan
  • Financial planning

DfE standing panel

The Race Equality Foundation led the recruitment of voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations to a ‘virtual standing panel’ for the Department for Education Overarching Strategic Partner (OSP) programme.  It is anticipated that the panel included organisations providing services to children, young people and families and gave a greater voice to the sector through a series of online consultations.

Free IT support helpdesk

As part of the Department for Education’s Overarching Strategic Partnership, i-trust (part of the Cover Group), in association with Children England, ran a free IT helpdesk for voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations that work with children, young people and families. The helpdesk gave advice and guidance on IT/ICT matters as well as 1st Tier IT support including:

  • Confirming general hardware set-up
  • Initial information gathering – including details of the reported issue and what happened just before the problem presented itself
  • Resolving basic user issues
  • General software support and advice
  • Verification of correct hardware/software set up and configuration
  • Assistance with general navigation and usage of core software applications
  • Sign-posting to further sources of advice and support including remote support and onsite technical assistance