At the start of the month we were back in the office, for part of the week at least - the first time for almost six months. It was good to back and to be able to discuss issues face to face with colleagues, but strange to be in an environment with social distancing tape, lots of hand sanitiser and wipes, but they gave confidence that the space was safe and secure.
The month started off with online meetings of the Assembly Executive and the VCS Liaison Group. The Executive meeting focused on discussing the Commission objectives for the Assembly for the next six months and the Assembly Manifesto. A final draft of the Manifesto has been sent to Assembly members to agree the principles and make any final comments. An action plan is currently being put together for the Assembly and this will be on the website as soon as it is finalised.
The VCS Liaison Group had a large agenda which was too much to get through in the time allowed, hence only the first couple of topics gave room for discussion. This is very unsatisfactory and makes taking forward issues very difficult. Fortunately I was presenting information on the impact of COVID-19 on the VCS in the early part of the agenda where there was time for discussion, and members appreciated the difficulties facing the sector but also praised the way they had stepped up to continue providing services during the pandemic.
Part of the Commission objectives includes a review of the VCS Liaison Group and therefore we will be making sure our views are aired and that we move to a more effective group that can work together to deliver and influence more effectively.
I’m starting to organise area based on-line network meetings to provide the opportunity for groups to come together and share what they have been doing during lockdown. Topic based on-line discussion network meetings are also being arranged on areas of particular interest to organisations at the current time. Understanding the issues, concerns and support needs of the sector helps us to identify where we can provide support and where appropriate to raise with statutory partners. Meetings also provide opportunities for organisations to share good practice and learn from one another so do join us. Details of all these meetings will be in the fortnightly e-bulletin.
Take care and stay safe.
Assembly Development Officer