Who are we?
The 800 Group is a consortium of 7 charities all of which have their headquarters in the Merseyside area.
The 800 Group partners are:
- Age Concern Liverpool – Older People
- Bradbury Fields – Visually Impaired People
- Henshaws Society for Blind People – Visually Impaired People
- Imagine – Mental Health Charity
- Merseyside Society for Deaf People – Hard of Hearing\Deaf People
- Nugent Care – Generic Social Care
- PSS – Generic Social Care
More details of each partner can be accessed via http://www.800group.org/ which provides links to each agency’s own website.
The name 800 Group derives from the fact that the 7 organisations cumulatively have over 800 years of history of charitable service and work in the social care sector in Merseyside.
The 800 group operates under an Agreement of Understanding which states that we will
- Commit resources and creativity to develop the relationship.
- Communicate effectively and consistently internally and externally.
- Share responsibility
- Be sensitive to the commercial needs of each another
- And act as a beacon to other VCF organisations, sharing knowledge, experience and resources to build sector capacity.
This final bullet point demonstrates that the 800 Group is not a threat to other organisations but a potential source of support for others in the voluntary, community, faith and social care sectors.
As a result of this desire to work positively with other organisations of all sizes, we have attracted a number of associate members (Irish Community Care, Asylum Link,
Mary Seacole House and the Merseyside Chinese Association) who benefit from some of the activities of the 800 Group (such as tender alerts and opportunities to participate in tenders with the core 800 Group partners to provide social care services) but do not participate in the management and governance arrangements of the consortium.
What does the 800 Group do?
The 800 Group was formed to provide a platform where the partners could:
- Share opportunities and risk
- Provide a foundation for joint work
- Maximise efficiency opportunities
- Identify and develop new markets
- increase market share & trading capacity
- Raise profile & capacity to influence
- Pool resources & expertise
In pursuing these high level objectives, the 800 Group has provided a number of tangible benefits to its members.
- Successful joint tenders for public sector contracts
- Aggregated purchasing which saved the members over £250,000 on purchases last year
- Opportunities for staff with common interests (e.g. HR, Training, Fund-raising etc.) to share knowledge, expertise and good practice as well as resources so as not to reinvent the wheel
- Shared training opportunities which reduce costs and mix staff from different agencies to broaden perspectives
- A very successful personalisation brokerage pilot which ran in Sefton with the support of Sefton Borough Council
- Fund raising events e.g. the BBC Radio Merseyside Carol Concert at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral
- The development of this recruitment website
Can we join the 800 Group?
We are often asked if the 800 Group will accept new members either as full members or associates. The answer is yes; but the organisation must be a not-for-profit organisation and we will always want to know why the organisation wants to join the 800 Group and what it believes it would contribute to the group. Certainly to be a core member, an organisation would need to demonstrate that not only is it in sympathy with the aims of the 800 Group, but it also adds something which will substantially help us to further our objectives.
Why did you launch this website?
The members of the 800 Group were concerned by the amount we paid as individual charities for recruitment advertising for both staff and volunteers. We thought that it was too expensive to attract high calibre staff and volunteers and we wanted an alternative mechanism, both for us and other social care\third sector organisations, which is both effective and represents good value for money.
In addition we were all aware that the profile of the social care sector (particularly as a career choice) has traditionally been relatively low despite the importance of the sector both in terms of its economic contribution and the impact it has on the lives of local people. We therefore wanted to promote the sector as a great place to work and volunteer in and to raise its profile across the North-West.
With more and more people using the internet for job hunting, it seemed natural that we should set up an online recruitment website. The advantages are that it is open for business 24/7/365; it is flexible, it is accessible from wherever people are via modern technology rather than being sited in one geographic location and it is cost effective so the price of advertising can be kept to a minimum for organisations wishing to place recruitment adverts.
We believe that this website is the best place to recruit staff and volunteers and that it will rapidly become the first choice for people looking for entry into or career moves within the social care and third sectors.