Working with Government
Effective policy development is needed in order to ensure that the needs of the community as a whole, and of particular groups of islanders, are met now and in future. The voluntary sector has a lot of valuable insight and expertise to offer, and should be an equal partner with government and the business sector at an early stage of needs assessment and policy planning. The voluntary sector can also be an ideal provider of services to the community, often without the stigma that accompanies government-run services. The Foundation supports initiatives that promote the value of the voluntary sector in meeting the island’s needs.
Building Stronger Partnerships – workshop series
Kerstin Neason, Barnardo’s
The Foundation held a joint workshop with HSSD in summer 2015, with representatives of over 50 voluntary organisations attending, to explore how the Department and the sector could build a stronger relationship and improve the health, wellbeing and social care services provided to islanders.
The second event in this series was held in March 2016. A seminar led by the Chief Minister and Chief Executive explored the changes to the States that would take place after the next Election, and what this would mean for the voluntary sector. This was followed by a workshop on effective commissioning, led by Kerstin Neason of Barnardos UK, which gave participants the chance to start designing what a good commissioning relationship would look like in practice.
Social Policy Internships
The Foundation sponsored two six-month internships with the States of Guernsey during 2015, for new graduates with an interest in social policy. These interns were focused on policy work which reflected the Foundation’s priorities, including: looking at the States’ relationship with the voluntary sector through the Social Compact, and developing proposals for the measurement and monitoring of poverty in Guernsey – which led to the introduction of new measures by the States in early 2016. This was a great opportunity to engage more young people in community-oriented work, at the interface between the government and the voluntary sector.
Social Compact and Third Sector Liaison Group
The Foundation supports the Social Compact, which has been signed by the States and the Association of Guernsey Charities on behalf of all local charities, which sets out a framework for the relationship between the States and the voluntary sector. We are members of the States-run Third Sector Liaison Group, which seeks to monitor the effectiveness of the Social Compact and identify ways in which the States and the voluntary sector can work together more closely.
Social Policy Partnership Forum
One of the key themes of the States Social Policy Plan is working with the Third Sector. The debate on the Personal Tax, Benefits and Pensions Review demonstrated, however, that social issues cannot be looked at separately from fiscal and economic issues. As the Social Policy Plan states:
‘… Fiscal Policy and Social Policy need to be considered in tandem and not in isolation, in order that the impacts of any policy measures can be understood fully prior to their promotion and implementation.’
Following discussions within the Social Policy Group and also the Third Sector Liaison Group, the then Policy Council agreed to establish a Social Policy Partnership Forum intended to bring together the Third Sector and the business community more effectively in the shaping of social policy. The first meeting of the new Forum was held on 28 June with representation from the States, voluntary sector and business leaders. The Forum will champion social policy within the Island community, act as a catalyst for creative thinking and solutions and act as a consultation and discussion forum between the States, the voluntary sector and business organisations in relation to matters of social policy.