How you will benefit from being a Representative
- Be in a position to influence change for the people of Tameside and the group/ organisation that you work with.
- Gain experience and skills in strategic planning.
- Help other partners to have a better understanding of the voluntary, community and faith sector (VCF) - and the contribution that we make.
- Receive first hand information from policy makers.
- Help small groups and organisations to understand Tameside’s priorities.
- Build relationships with senior members of partner organisations.
- Network with other groups/organisations in the VCF sector, including other strategic representatives, so that you can share skills and support each other.
- Promote your organisation through the commitment that you show to representation.
- Develop an understanding of governance and leadership – both in the VCF sector – and across partnerships.
- Use this experience as part of your professional development – whether that is on your curriculum vitae, or by being able to ask for a reference regarding your role.
Your role is to speak on behalf of the network that elected you, represent the views and perspectives of the VCF sector and ensure that recommendations which benefit the sector and your service users are included in discussions and the work of the partnership. You act as an advocate for the VCF sector and in the interests of the common good, as opposed to narrow self interest.
This role is voluntary so this is not a contract, but we hope that you will fulfill the following expectations of your role and responsibilities as a representative.
You have the authority and permission to take on the responsibility of speaking for Voice, because you feed through Voice structures (through your network’s activities) and because you have been elected by Voice members (either directly or through your network).
You are accountable to the members of your network, so you must take this seriously and ensure that you undertake the role and its associated responsibilities with due commitment. Treat this role as an extension of your work, as it will enhance what you are already doing.
The Process of Representation
Your role is to:
- Promote what the VCF sector is doing and be positive about the sector and its contribution to work with partner organisations.
- Work as part of your partnership, contributing to strategic decision-making processes on behalf of the VCF sector, bringing solutions to challenges faced by the sector. In this way you ensure a balance of positive and more critical input and will be perceived as a critical and professional friend.
- Promote joint working across the VCF sector and with partner organisations (e.g. the council).
- Keep lines of communication open and feed back to Voice and/or your network. With the support of T3SC, you will let others know about decisions that have been made and items discussed at meetings you attend. This ensures that there is information sharing between Voice, the networks and the partnership.
- Recognise and engage in the learning and development journey of representation (supported by T3SC), including: taking part in training to share experiences with other reps; understanding your networks’ field of interest and gaining the ability to talk about the needs of the VCF sector; becoming familiar with key policy information relating to Voice, including TSP information, related partner documentation and national policy-regarding engagement with the VCF sector and the ‘duty to involve’ and sometimes attending relevant conferences.
Your specific responsibilities are to:
- Commit to act as a representative of Voice and the VCF sector collectively rather than your own particular group/organisation or area of expertise.
- Ensure you have the capacity to undertake the role so that you can commit the time necessary before nominating yourself for election or accepting the position, including: preparation time; briefing meetings; attending all the partnership meetings; debriefing meetings and network meetings to feed back and gather input for the next meeting.
- Tell your network officer at least two weeks (unless in extreme circumstances) before the partnership meeting if you will be unable to attend so that we can find a suitable replacement.
- Read and endeavour to understand the papers for the partnership meeting (you will be supported to do so by your network officer).
- Attend a briefing before the partnership meeting.
- Adhere to the terms of reference of the partnership meeting.
- Listen to the discussions in meetings and actively participate in the discussions relating to the sector and your expertise.
- Collect relevant papers given at the meeting for your records and that of Voice/the network.
- Take suitable notes to feedback to your network and Voice so that there is evidence that you take your accountability seriously.
- Make it known either to the Chair, or your network Officer, if you do not understand and would like clarity in the partnership meeting.
- Attend and contribute to debriefing after the partnership meeting.
- Listen to advice from your network officer and give advice should they require it (this is a partnership and we are all here to learn).
- Represent yourself or the views of your group/organisation in isolation or use this position as a forum for forging political alliances for your own or your group’s/organisation’s interests.
- Feel that you must be an expert on everything. At every partnership, T3SC holds a place to represent the wider sector and you will work within the range of your knowledge and the scope of your network.
1 The National and Legislative Framework
1.1 The Compact
1.2 The duty to involve
2 How decisions are made in the local area
2.1 Local Strategic Partnerships
2.2 Thematic Partnerships
2.3 Other strategic and cross cutting groups
2.4 Sustainable Community Strategy
2.5 Local Area Agreements
2.6 Inspections – the Comprehensive Area Assessment
3 Voice and VCF networks
3.1 What is voice?
3.2 The History of Voice
3.3 Voice successes
3.4 Voice benefits
2.5 The Networks that make up Voice
4 Being a Representative
4.1 Opportunities – how you will benefit from being a representative
4.2 Roles and Responsibilities of Representatives
4.3 How you will be supported
4.4 The election process
4.5 The Representative Agreement
4.6 Briefing and Debriefing for meetings
4.7 The representatives reporting form
4.8 What if there is a problem?
4.9 Leaving the Role