Contribute beyond organisational boundaries says chair of disability services infrastructure body

Steve Scown the chair of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) has called on the sector to contribute beyond its organisational boundaries. Steve Scown makes the call at the group’s annual conference today.

Steve Scown said:

“We know parts of the system are gearing up for reform – progress in Manchester and other areas in devolving power to regions – the development of the long-term NHS plan – continuing debates about integration and how much it may or may not be part of a funding solution. These are all part of our emergent landscape.

And on top of these we have, perhaps someday soon, a Green Paper which now it seems will include working age adults outlining this government’s thinking on the future of social care. And of course we have Brexit – just over 27 weeks away – looming ever large on our horizon.

Today is an important meeting of minds on some policy issues but also, and arguably more importantly, on how we can work together to improve the lives of people with disabilities. As organisations we have a responsibility to challenge and improve our own organisations, but as leaders I believe our responsibility stretches further into our sector and, beyond, into society.

I describe this as contributing beyond our organisational boundaries and I see this as fundamentally what distinguishes VODG and its members, from the noisy crowd. If we in the voluntary sector do not set ourselves the challenge of raising the bar, if we do not constructively challenge bad policy and point towards better ways of working then who will? The transatlantic owners of the big private providers?”

VODG members are joining this year’s annual conference with a key aim of harnessing sector leadership and further improving collaboration across the group. The conference will examine how voluntary sector organisations can improve their social impact. It will also explore how to enable people who use services to have a greater voice and to exercise their leadership through lived experience.

There will also be a focus on contributing to key policy areas such as the development of the NHS long-term plan and the sector’s preparedness ahead of the country’s exit of the EU.

As VODG finalises its submission to the Autumn Budget there will also be focus on how the sector can secure a sustainable funding settlement.

Throughout the conference VODG will be building on its earlier contribution to Civil Society Futures, the national conversation about the future of the voluntary sector, as well as continuing to support Social Care Future which is seeking to disrupt and create positive change.