This year the City & Hackney Anchor Collaborative has been able to achieve a lot together even while responding to the pandemic. Find out about our work with procurement, HR, workforce and employment colleagues.

Anchor network graphic

This year our partners in the City and Hackney Anchor Collaborative found themselves at the centre of the response to the pandemic – sourcing PPE, being redeployed across the health and care system, and coordinating emergency support to vulnerable residents. Out of necessity our work with the anchors was paused in March but as we moved into the summer, the ideas and ambitions of the Collaborative felt even more relevant.

COVID-19 has only heightened pre-existing social and economic inequalities, and the health and care system now has a much sharper focus on its role in tackling these inequalities. The pandemic has also been a catalyst for local collaboration in many places; staff were redeployed across the public sector, procurement teams worked together to source PPE, cross organisational teams were set up to support those who were shielding. This collaboration helps strengthen the foundations of the City and Hackney Anchor Collaborative. When we resumed our work with the anchors, there was a definite sense of being part of a ‘’system’’, which was less pronounced before.

Since the summer the Collaborative has focused on two working groups that bring together people to explore opportunities for collaboration.

The procurement group

This working group has brought together the procurement leads from each anchor organisation. We facilitated a combination of skills sharing and identifying opportunities, which included:

  1. looking at the existing data the anchors have about where their spend goes, and how much is directed into local suppliers;
  2. hearing from different anchors about some of the amazing work they’re doing already to apply the Social Value Act, and support smaller organisations to engage with procurement opportunities;
  3. exploring the pipeline of spending for opportunities to collaborate, and identified catering and concessions as an area to test out some of the aspirations of the group.

You can read more about the work of the Anchor Collaborative procurement working group here

The workforce group

 Bringing together HR, workforce and employment leads across the anchors, this group has been particularly interested in:

  1. exploring how the anchors might recruit to shared apprenticeship roles, and support rotational placements across the anchors;
  2. early conversations about how to engage collectively with higher education partners;
  3. the potential for a collaborative Kickstart bid that brings together organisations across the borough.

Plans for 2021 

While it’s difficult to make sold plans, we’re exploring the potential for a third workstream around assets, which will involve a review of existing public infrastructure and how it can serve communities. As a Collaborative, we look forward to identifying these opportunities with Hackney and City Borough Councils.

We’re also looking at ways to spread and embed successful learning from applying community wealth building thinking to specific opportunities, such as local catering contracts. We’ll also support the anchors to take forward their plans around shared apprenticeships and hope to have a pilot up and running by the Spring. 

We’re excited to see where we can take this collaborative work in 2021. 

If you’d like to keep up to date with our work you can sign up for emails, and follow @Renaisi, @Juliaslay and #CityandHackneyAnchors on Twitter.

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Julia Slay Renaisi Associate