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02.11.18

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Kent In Brief - 30th October

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Code of Conduct

Third Sector involvement in service development

National Government guidance to statutory agencies over recent years has emphasised the need to include the third-sector in policy making and planning. It can be time consuming and difficult to ensure the representatives on statutory groups have the reach within the sector and provide relevant input and feedback to the group.  The third sector does, however, has a great deal to offer in terms of identifying local need, helping to design solutions to meet those needs, providing a channel of communication and means of consulting with disadvantaged and more vulnerable people. 

In Kent, through the Stronger Kent Communities programme, the ‘Providing Perspective’ initiative operated by KentCAN provides an independent and structured approach for representation requests to be made and for individuals to volunteer for, and get involved with, representation opportunities.  There are numerous benefits to the parties involved:

  • It ensures that awareness is raised of the work and capabilities of the third sector relevant to the initiative and then advocated and promoted where appropriate.
  • It enables seldom heard groups to have their case stated through a representative.
  • The statutory and third sectors has an efficient process for facilitating opportunities to give third sector perspective on service development and delivery.
  • Learning can be shared back into organisations and services involved.
  • The statutory sector hears a high-quality voice on behalf of the sector and utilizes the feedback they receive when making decisions.
  • There is better decision making in relation to community support and services to the benefit of all organisations, through more effective and targeted working, and ultimately the communities they serve.
  • Third sector organisations are provided with development opportunities for their volunteers and staff and provide insight to them in their own strategic decision making.

The Providing Perspective initiative provides a process through which requests for representation can be made and individuals can volunteer to become representatives. Matches are then made between volunteer representatives and requesting organisations, boards, panels or committees so that representation can commence.

Once matches are made and representation commences, it is proposed that all parties involved follow the guidelines in this Code of Conduct to ensure the relationship is effective, conflicts are minimised and maximum benefit is achieved from this two-way representation process.

 

Requestor: 

  • Explains clearly the intended purpose of the organisation, board, panel or committee requesting representation including why it was set up and what it is designed to achieve.
    • Is responsible, along with other statutory sector colleagues involved, for any decisions taken on the basis of discussions with and input from any representative who will not be held liable for their contribution(s).
    • Provide timely information regarding the date, time and locations of meetings and activities which representatives as expected to attend.
    • Identifies and draws attention to any potential conflicts of interest that may arise.
      • Will not offer paid-for services to any volunteer representative or his/her organisation without going through any necessary open procurement process.
  • Recognises that the representatives time, energy and contribution are voluntary and precious and should be used wisely and with respect.
  • Appreciates the financial value of the contribution being made if it were delivered by a consultant.
  • Is prepared to challenge the representative constructively, listen to the representatives views.

 

Volunteer Representative: 

  • Strives to attend all meetings, sending apologies in good time to the chair or other representation contact for necessary absences.
  • Endeavours to arrange a substitute representative if pre-agreed, appropriate and available.
  • Prepares for any representation meeting by reading previous minutes and correspondence.
  • Checks in advance that the proposed agenda is understood and whether or not there is a specific slot for representation to be made or whether some other specific input or contribution is required, and prepares accordingly.
  • Talks to the meeting chair or other relevant person prior to a meeting if clarification or advice is needed.
  • Arrives early to prepare for meetings and stays until the end of each meeting unless specifically excused.
  • Participates fully. Representation is being made on behalf of seldom heard voices and contributions needs to be vital and constructive.
  • Listens to what others have to say, remains calm and is concise in contributions.
  • Helps others concentrate on the meeting, discourages side or tangent conversations and does not using mobile phones or laptops during meetings.
  • Has the best interests of the voluntary sector in mind at all times and does not let personal opinion interfere with objective judgement.
  • Fulfils any responsibilities assigned at meeting and prepares to report on progress at subsequent meetings.
  • Is prepared to attend any best practice or network events about representation, which will help refine knowledge and skill.
    • Completes meeting and progress feedback reports and return them to KentCAN at regular intervals as appropriate.
    • Identifies and draw attention to any potential conflicts of interest that may arise.
    • Does not canvas for paid work with any individual or organisation involved in the working group.