At the recent voluntary sector meeting with the Minister and Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, the Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething, commented that the sector was ‘hugely important’ in the coronavirus crisis as service deliverers, adding that he expects this to continue through and beyond the recovery period.
The group had met to discuss the sector’s role in strategic planning during the recovery cycle. The sector noted that while it was understandable that there had been a move during the crisis from engagement with people about their services to a simple ‘doing to’ model, it was important to move back to engagement processes as time passes to ensure people have a voice. The group expressed concerns about mental health in adults and children, and noted that the voluntary sector had been in conversation with officials at all levels about innovative services to complement the statutory sector.
The meeting also talked about the Connected Communities Strategy, expressing concern that it appears to measure success simply by the number of social prescribing referrals from statutory services into the voluntary sector. The sector argued that success should only be measured by tracking people’s positive experiences, even though this may be time consuming and challenging. The group noted that grassroots organisations will need further resourcing and support to make this a success.
The Deputy Minister commented that Welsh Government have attempted to implement this model of measurement with the use of the Measuring the Mountain project to evaluate the Social Services and Wellbeing Act. The Minister asked that the sector and Welsh Government have further conversations with each other about these issues.
Organisations and networks represented at the meeting besides WCVA included Children in Wales, Mind Cymru, Fair Treatment For The Women Of Wales, Welsh Sports Association, Cardiff Third Sector Council and the All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers.
The Minister and Deputy Minister are due to meet with the sector again in early 2021.