VHS’s Chief Executive Claire Stevens writes:
Today, 2nd May 2022, I am delighted to launch VHS’s new Three Year Strategy 2022-25. Delayed for a year by the pandemic, our new strategy reaffirms the purpose we serve as national intermediary and network to Scotland’s health charities and other voluntary health organisations. It aims to reflect the shared goals and values we have with our members as we work to help create a healthier, fairer Scotland served by a thriving voluntary health sector. And in a year where there are no less than two independent inquiries into Scotland’s health inequalities (and 27 months into a pandemic that has significantly exacerbated health inequalities), you will not be surprised to see that health inequalities are at the forefront of the VHS strategy.
The new strategy is clear, to the point, and accessible (we hope). It sets out four key aims, four core health themes and five priorities for development and delivery. Our Board and staff team are excited by it. It means we will continue our work to amplify the voice and influence of our sector and to promote strong and equal partnerships between the voluntary and statutory health sectors. It means working even harder to influence the evidence base for health policy and practice, and to improve legislation, policy and systems so that they deliver better solutions for Scotland’s health challenges.
The new strategy is the outcome of a sustained process that included a series of interactive, consultative workshops and interviews held online and facilitated by Dr Kevin Page. These were undertaken in 2021 with a cohort of our member organisations and with our Board of Trustees and staff. We are very appreciative of those members and Trustees who made the time to engage with this process, as the resulting strategy has been significantly informed by their inputs.
To support implementation of the strategy, during March and April 2022 VHS conducted a linked piece of work, designed to strengthen our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion. We held two Kitchen Table discussions on this topic, with a total of twenty member organisations, and their inputs are proving invaluable as we shape our next steps.
As Chief Executive, I genuinely welcome feedback on the new strategy, our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, and indeed our work in general. This is the third strategy that I have helped shape and will help lead and implement, and it feels right for us – it will inspire, guide and stretch us to make the best difference we can. But what do you, our members, think about it? And if you are a health charity that isn’t currently a member, would our strategy persuade you to join us? What are we getting right, and where do we need to improve? The strategy is the framework, now we must put our words into practice – collaborating, sense checking and learning from all our stakeh0lders as we go.
Please get in touch with me if you’d like to comment, explore or challenge – perhaps over a cup of coffee! Now that Covid’-19 precautions have eased back, I particularly welcome the opportunity to meet up with members in person. You can email me here: Claire Stevens