VSI (Voluntary Sector Infrastructure) Alliance provide infrastructure support to the voluntary and community sector (VCS) including not for profit.
Within the delivery plan, one of the key objectives;
Theme 3: Voice, Representation & Influence
VCS Groups who already sit at Partnership Board
Many groups sit at partnerships within their own right, due to their expertise in the field they practice. They do not have a duty to share with wider VCS partners, although as a matter of good practice many do.
Encouragement of Wider VCS to become Representatives
There is not often a request or the opportunity to source new representatives. If a gap is identified then the opportunity is advertised and recommendations made as to whom to approach. Boards and partnership are lean in membership and there are not as many as there has been in the past. Currently there are no vacant seats.
Barriers to finding new representatives;
As across all sectors there is less capacity to release staff to attend meetings. When there was a Local Strategic Partnership in place some partnerships were able to offer back fill funding, which supported groups to release staff to attend. This is no longer the case.
There is a feeling among many smaller VCS groups that if infrastructure staff are paid to provide representation and feedback then they are the best placed to provide it.
Collecting Evidence on Representation
Mapping of the partnerships has been undertaken yearly. It is then shared with partners and VCS colleagues. VCS colleagues are encouraged to say if they are interested in becoming the representative in any particular area. At each VCS Forum a set agenda item is representation feedback from meetings.
Support to Existing Representatives
Training has been offered for new and existing representatives although no one has taken this up. Many existing representatives hold seats in their own right and so they are experienced in handling their role and have no duty to report wider.
Stakeholder Groups – Task & Finish Group
Statutory Commissioners tend to pull together stakeholder or task and finish groups that are outside the formal structures. Generally VSI Alliance are invited but other VCS groups are also included for their expertise.
Mechanisms in place to share information
Volunteer Manager Partnership; meetings take place bi-monthly. Feedback from strategic meetings, good practice, networking and learning opportunities are facilitated.
Safeguarding; meetings held quarterly. Representatives from Children & Adult’s safeguarding boards attend and give, receive feedback, look at consultations and raise issues that affect the sector.
Chief Officers; meetings are held quarterly. Representatives from Community Safety Executive and Partnership, Health & Wellbeing Board and Informal Assembly, Children & Young People’s Partnership Executive attend. The group is in its’ early stages of development. It offers an opportunity to broker partnerships, share good practise and influence strategic direction within the sector.
Young Lives; meetings are held quarterly. They bring together groups who provide a service to Children, Young People and their families. Representatives from CYPPE, CSCB and the Youth Strategy Group share feedback. It is an opportunity for networking, information and resource sharing and exploring consortia working.
A dedicated feedback section will be available on this website soon.
Feedback is included on a regular basis within the weekly bulletin updates. The bulletin is issued to individuals who have registered their details to receive information from VSI Alliance and partner organisations.