As someone involved in too many partnerships to list I really hope so!! Because if not we are all wasting our time.
It was this question that the South Cambs Local Health Partnership was trying to answer when it looked at what solutions and actions we could take to make a real difference to the revised priorities they have developed.
A long and animated discussion led to a number of completed pages of flipchart followed by the rest of the agenda.
If all that happens is that the flipchart gets either
- A) rolled up and put away or
- B) written up, rolled up and put away
Then I say let’s make this the last meeting of this group and we can all use our extra time to do something useful on our own.
HOWEVER if we can start to make links and join projects together; if we can share vital knowledge across networks that improves services; if we can complement the work of one partner with the work of others and provide a more joined up service - then let’s get on with it!
What this can not be is simply a South Cambs District Council responsibility, and as such for once I have come away from this meeting with an action, rather than simply attending, reminding people how great the voluntary and community sector is and how unrecognised the work they do is, and then coming back to the office.
My argument was that we do not know how much the sector does to address the priorities that have been set. As the recognition that prevention is cheaper than cure (see my blog prevention, prevention, prevention) gains traction I believe that the sector has to be recognised and funded for the work it does – even if this takes away from the shiny acute health sector and all their big hospitals and bigger budgets.
My problem is that I do not know what impact the sector has on the priorities, or any other priorities to be fair. I know what great work many groups do, but I know that only a fraction have links with CCVS. I know that many groups provide a service but that this may not be linked directly to a priority even if it addresses it. I know that I have to start putting more flesh to the bones of my belief in the work of the sector. CCVS does this through its annual survey as well as picking up on informal feedback but now I have a small project. I am going to look at one South Cambs village; I am going to look at listing the work of the sector in that village and then mapping that against the LHP priorities. I hope it will show me a healthy and vibrant community as I have picked the village I know the best, I also hope it will help me demonstrate the impact that small community organisations have and why they should be at the forefront of preventative services.
I will post an update once I have done some work :)