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100 Days

29 Jan 2019 - 10:14 by karen.dyson

Questions around the issues for your first 100 days in post are pretty standard interview fare. If you take out leave for Christmas, I reach that milestone today.

In my interview I talked about issues around representation. Macc is often called ‘The Voice of the Sector,’ and it’s not a term we often dispute, because it helps makes sure that the sector has seats at the table when consultations are being carried out and decisions are being made. However, if we’re going to say this, how do we make sure we know what the sector wants us to say?  How do we involve organisations, particularly smaller organisations with less capacity and fewer resources?  How do we make sure it’s not just Macc’s point of view we’re putting across, and how do we find out about organisations that are better placed to speak or represent on particular topics than we are – and indeed, are they already doing this?

As we said in our recent Policy Bulletin, the Policy and Influence Team are planning some research to help us find out about what other organisations are already doing to consult and represent the sector and to be involved in strategic decision making in the city, and how we can support them to do this. As a minimum, we can offer to distribute information and updates via our website, newsletters and social media.  We want to look at whether there’s scope for offering support via other Macc teams as well, such as training or capacity building, and a need to bring representatives together to share views and create support networks. 

One thing that has struck me very strongly during my first 100 days is how hard it is to navigate all the STUFF that’s going on in the city. It’s part of my job to understand the big picture, I’ve got time to do it, and it still feels like it’s taking me too long to understand the different structures through which services are delivered, the changes that devolution is bringing, the opportunities that are available to the sector, the best sources of information and the best people to talk to. Fortunately there’s a great deal of expertise and knowledge in Macc that I can draw on, but I want to look at ways we can make this easier, particularly for small organisations that just want to ‘dip in’ to the things they see as most relevant to them, and whose opportunities to influence may depend on being in the right place at the right time. 

I’ve spoken to several other cities’ CVSs and voluntary sector support organisations where they support representation by having a series of regular group meetings, whether that’s arranged by theme or geography. There are some pluses to this, as it creates clear structures and mechanisms, particularly where the council and health bodies etc, are also willing to recognise and use those structures to involve the sector. However, they also said it’s very resource-intensive, both for the CVSs to book rooms, organise papers and make sure actions are followed up, and the sector organisations that send reps to attend, particularly where their work crosses themes.  Several CVSs are carrying out similar work to Macc, to look at alternative ways of consulting and representing their sectors. 

So you can expect contact from us soon. We’ll be sending out a survey, phoning and meeting organisations we know or think are involved in representation work, and discussing it at meetings we do attend such as Community Explorers. If you’d like to talk to us about your work, and how we can work smarter and better in these areas, please do get in touch.

Policy and Influence Team Manager

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