Recently, the Queens Nursing Institute Scotland and VHS agreed there was potential for a networking group of policy officers based in health. Working in smaller organisations can be difficult, in terms of limited capacity to keep up to date with the latest developments.
A network would provide the opportunity for members to keep up to date and encourage information sharing. A network might also provide the opportunity for joint working on areas of shared interest, eliminating duplication of work. It could be a forum for discussion of upcoming Government policy and consultations but most importantly, all will be in a welcoming and supportive peer environment. There would be the potential to arrange for speakers and to hold meetings on specific topics.
With the Health and Sport Committee recently outlining their priority inquiries, we thought we’d use that as the focus of an inaugural meeting. So on 3rd August QNIS and VHS brought together as many health policy officers as we could at short notice, for an informal meeting to explore the merits of a network and consider the various inquiries.
We all agreed a network could be really useful, and without further ado we agreed a remit for the group.
Remit for the group:
- Providing members with an overview of general health policy
- Sharing information about upcoming strategies, papers, plans
- Learning about Parliamentary Process
- Bringing civil servants, politicians, committee clerks, other speakers for one-off sessions
- Feeding back from CPGs that members are involved with, investigating areas where CPGs might be able to work together
- Opportunity to share responses to consultations, joint letters. Joint responses with a number of organisations providing backing has more potential than individual letters. I’m happy to act as secretariat for the group, keep the definitive list of members and such. However, all members should feel free to send emails to the whole group – it is the easiest and best way to share intelligence in the first instance. We can always discuss how this works at the next meeting.
I volunteered to be the secretary for the group, to keep the membership list organised. If any health and social care policy officers out there are interested in joining, feel free to get in touch.
The group’s first major action is to set up a meeting with Neil Findlay, the Convenor of the Health and Sport Committee, so he can hear the discussions from our first meeting.
We plan to organise a second network meeting for a date in November.
Rob Mackie is Policy and Communications Manager at QNIS.
Contact Rob at: firstname.lastname@example.org