I had a great day today at the 10th Anniversary of The Gathering in SECC. This is an annual event for people who work in, with (or have an interest in working with) the Third Sector.

I took part in a day long discussion facilitated by the Alliance and SCVO – titled “And now for something completely different. “

The morning began with a keynote from Paul Gray, Director General of Health and Social Care, Scottish Government. He talked about public services and the third sector finding ways to work better together – learning from each other and relying on each other. In this way we create a model for our communities of how to overcome fragmentation and lack of connectedness, and build social capital.

With plenary panel sessions and table discussions involving a broad range of people from statutory services and the third sector, some interesting themes emerged focused on how to build effective partnerships to improve outcomes for the people of Scotland. As Ian Welsh, Chief Executive of the Alliance said, “Sustainable, harmonious, cooperative partnerships are hard.”

The open space programme in the afternoon allowed us to explore some specific topics in detail that are always high on the Snook agenda.

Coproduction – how do we do this effectively in practice?

Collaborative working – how do we create enabling environments to facilitate this?

We agreed that both of these worked best when we established trust relationships with other organisations, and that it is always the human connections that enable us to make the links, identify the synergies and work effectively together.

The Joint Improvement Team assured us that the new Joint Strategic Commissioning framework will provide an enabling environment, promoting collaborative working in localities, through mutually beneficial supply chains. This will be done by encouraging the public sector to commission work from local organisations who can fulfil contract requirements while also building social capital through employing and engaging local people in service provision.

From a Snook point of view any new developments encouraging coproduction and collaborative working are always good. Connections and discussions from today will all certainly support our continued work on the implementation of our re- design proposals for the Care Information Scotland service. And any positive changes in commissioning frameworks, including proposals in Scottish Government’s Procurement Reform Bill are something we have been pushing for a long time

P.S Thanks to Lisa Whittaker for sharing this picture showing Carr Gomm’s signage from today – Carr Gomm is an organisation we are looking forward to collaborating with over the next few months.