By Denise Horn, Senior Development Officer – Strategic Partnerships, EVOC
During the last few weeks I have been out with colleagues discussing locality working in the four Edinburgh localities, trying to demystify the whole thing, making sure people are up to speed with developments, and gathering your opinions on this new model.
The events grew in intensity, with the last being a very lively discussion for the North East locality. There are still so many things to be fully decided and while that may leave some feeling frustrated, others see it as an opportunity to shape the way things are done.
Feeding in to events like this is hard work, frustrating and time consuming but we hope that you also feel it’s worth it. Representing third sector interests at citywide meetings can be challenging. It would be so much easier for everyone if the third sector would become more organised and easy to deal with…but we just aren’t like that – thank goodness. The myriad of charities and community groups has evolved over time and from communities’ needs. There is no overarching command and control: just discussion, common sense and, where possible, consensus of opinion with people serving the interests of those with whom they are working.
Prevention is often talked about, and I do hope that this becomes an increased focus in localities. The outlook is promising and as ever the third sector is heralded as being expert in prevention, so hopefully this will be fully recognised as we go into locality working.
As I said, it can be slow going to effect change when representing third sector interests, and we know that our sector colleagues can feel impatient with us reps when we don’t get the hoped for changes quick enough. As an old boss of mine used to say we are talking about turning round a tanker here…..it is neither nimble nor quick (unlike the qualities of our own sector). However, being able to hear first-hand the opinions of those we represent makes a huge difference, so thanks to all who attended these events. We do emerge feeling stronger and with a greater voice. We heard a lot that was familiar, and much we have already expressed quite forcefully at meetings. We know that our role is to represent the sector, we are listening to your views and try our best to act as a conduit expressing things that public sector bodies perhaps don’t like to hear, as well as what they are keen to embrace.
Locality working: we are sceptical and optimistic in equal measure, but we are embracing it and hope that it works for the benefit of our sector and local communities.
Read the report from these Thinkspaces here Report from four Locality Think Space Events.