Local Vision Learning Network – October 2016

Oct 28, 2016

Last month, Local Vision places came together from across the country to attend the Local Vision Learning Network meeting in London. This latest meeting looked into the theme of ‘new relationships between the public sector, third sector, patients and service users’. The main focus of the day was on looking at what real co-production, and connection with citizens, entailed in practice.

The meeting began giving participants the chance to reconnect with one another, taking time to work in small groups looking at their own experiences of building these relationships and co-producing outcomes with the third sector and local communities. The majority response was that real change happens on the ground but organisational barriers can get in the way of this, raising the question of how we create change that has more than a token impact.

We were then delighted to welcome speakers from community groups, who shared their thoughts and views on how best to build and support community capacity and relationships. In the process, they also challenged Network members on their own thinking and practice.

London community worker Stafford Scott talked the group about the need to understand the communities they were working with, emphasising the need for public services to better understand the circumstances of those they serve.

Chief Executive of MAC UK Sinem Cakir then talked about working with people with mental health issues in Camden. One of the major challenges they identified was that those with un-met needs were not attending the services set up to help them. MAC UK responded to this, running 4 community grassroots projects to reach 500 people who had not used the services. They then went on to develop the integrate programme, encouraging young people to bring their own experiences into discussions to help public services create relationships with their communities. Sinem challenged the group to think about language in this context: are people ‘hard to reach’ or are we just not using the right channels to reach them?

Finally, Tina Favier & John Holstrom from the Adur and Worthing Local Vision Project spoke about their work with third sector and community partners addressing homelessness in Adur and Worthing. Local services were aware that there were people falling through the cracks between them, because partnerships weren’t secure or sufficiently well-established, and that it wasn’t enough to work at a superficial level: you needed to work alongside people experiencing the services.

To end the meeting, the group had the opportunity to co-consult with one another, looking at the importance of relationships in the systems we’re part of and how these can drive change rather than the push towards targets and quantitative descriptions of our work.

The findings from the day were collated and fed into the next Learning Network meeting in January 2017, which explored asset-based approaches to community development. Read about that meeting here.

You can find out more about the Systems Leadership work the Leadership Centre is involved with here, as well as learning more about national Systems Leadership initiatives on the Systems Leadership Hub.

If you have any questions regarding the work, or would like to be involved in the Learning Network, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.


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