Last update 15th. May 2004
I have been reflecting on last Thursday's meeting with the Commssion, trying to understand why it was so unsatisfactory. One of the conclusions that I've come to is that the Commission has a very top down practice and little or no idea of how or why we might collaborate and the benefits of that. I know that there will be other views but I found no vision, little strategy but a control freak practice on display from them.
My thoughts centre on how Forums work together:
Getting local bases - no doubt, there will be different views in different Boroughs but I would have thought that the Borough PCT Forum is the natural organising point for Forums to come together and sort out what the best solution is. It is a very practical task but there is a danger discussion will go round and round unless there is some clear resposibility for taking matters forward.
Relations with the FSO - in my view, discussion got sidetracked into whether the meeting would be with or without the FSO. We need one meeting where representatives of all the Forums serviced by CIDA for example can discuss shared issues and seek common ground in then making representations to both CIDA and the Commission. This meeting could be tied into the next meeting with the Commission.
Contacts across London - it is hard to believe that some of the same difficulties and problems are not being experienced elsewhere in London. Does any Forum members on this list have contact with Forum members in other parts of London?
Meeting the Commission - these meetings should be genuinely two way rather than controlled by the Commission. An important step would be for them to be independently facilitated. There should be a clear cycle of meetings between the Commission and Forums announced well in advances at times and venues that are accessible to all. An important step would be to establish a Steering Group of Forum representatives to plan these meetings. The Steering Group could work by phone or email if need be.
The CHC experience - I understand that Forums are not CHCs but there may be things within the CHC experience that we actually want to learn from. The Commission Chief Executive referred on Thursday to there being no national structure before. My understanding is that there was a National Association of CHCs but I don't know much about its track record. She said also that there was no regional body. Is this true? It would be helpful to know more about cooperation between CHCs from those directly involved.
Development Fund - the practical need to cooperate seems to me to be a reasonable claim on the Development Fund but this obviously needs the agreement of several Forums. I am concerned that Forums have no say in what the Development Fund is used for.
These are some thoughts on which I would welcome your responses. Happy for you to share this email with Forum colleagues who are not on email and/or to discuss in Forum meetings.
All the best
Camden PCT Forum