Voluntary Action Scotland welcomes the publication of the recent research report Evaluation of Scotland’s Third Sector Interface Network Model & Voluntary Action Scotland. The research demonstrates a varied picture across Scotland that reflects the diversity of local circumstances and the delivery of local infrastructure within those circumstances.
The last five years have seen a period of austerity, reduced local funding for the third sector and substantial changes to how public services are organised and delivered. Throughout this period TSIs across Scotland have:
- Successfully supported their sector effectively in some of the most challenging circumstances ever faced by the third sector
- Championed changes in public service delivery and local solutions to local problems
- Championed Scottish Government policies and strategies in terms of community development, co-production and Self Directed Support
- Undertaken a major change management process themselves - re-inventing themselves in many instances
- Succeeded in shaping and defining our role in response to local circumstances so that we are able to have a more strategic role in the future.
The research demonstrates the reasons behind the varied experience of the TSI network from key partners. In 2017 we look forward to building on the successes of local infrastructure to support people and communities to maximise the contribution of the sector to public life in Scotland. We recognise that there can be no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Instead we will focus on approaches that are tailored and responsive to localised needs, relationships and priorities.
The report also highlights areas for development for both national and local third sector infrastructure. The TSI network, Voluntary Action Scotland and other infrastructure bodies have been developing closer links during 2016 and we will continue working with our national infrastructure colleagues and other stakeholders in 2017 on further developing those to strengthen communities across Scotland.
The research doesn’t always highlight the improvements that VAS and the network has progressed over the last few years. From the stakeholder engagement process planned for 2017 and further TSI network developments, we anticipate building upon our improvements and shaping a local third sector infrastructure that best meets the ambitions of people, communities and their local organisations.
The TSI network and VAS exists to support people, communities, and the organisations they work through to support volunteering, voluntary organisations and social enterprise to generate the social action and social capital needed for a fairer Scotland. We look to 2017 as a year where we can continue to strengthen our support to the local third sector to achieve a fairer and more inclusive Scotland. A key part of this will be our active support of the engagement and stakeholder events planned during the first half of the year.
Derek Marshall – Convenor, Voluntary Action Scotland
Allan Johnstone – Acting Chief Executive, Voluntary Action Scotland