Vice Chair Leslie Welin Reports –
“We want a province where every individual and every community can achieve to their highest potential.” With those words, Board Voice chair, Michael Davis, launched the board into a two day session to plan how Board Voice will move forward to help create this future. This is the only time in the year when the board meets face to face outside of the conference and we relish the opportunity to work closely together for a time.
We began by envisioning five years into the future after the introduction of a Social Policy Framework in B.C., where the Auditor General delivers the first report based on the Framework and the Social Determinants of Health, tying in economic indicators. We saw a future where horizontal leadership across government ministries is expected, measured and rewarded. e imagined that community engagement and collaboration would be the norm and that mechanisms and systems would be in place at both the community and provincial levels to integrate data, resources and effort. We conceived of a future where social, economic and health indicators have improved and the child poverty rate has been cut in half.
As we moved to specifics, there was no pretence that there would be money to meet all of the demands of a modern and evolving society. But we do believe that we can do better with existing resources, that we can develop a more coherent path forward and that we should continue to press for a provincial consultation process to prepare the ground for a social policy framework.
We outlined the process we will take from now until September when we expect that the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) will consider a motion of support for this initiative. We will be introducing the completed study on the topic undertaken by five Masters students of public policy at Simon Fraser University. We also considered how the business sector might be brought closer into this endeavour and decided that the theme of our next conference would explore the important relationship between social and economic development.
The board looked at the interesting outcomes from the Community Boards in Action projects in ten communities across the province and were very pleased with what has evolved. We will continue to look for funding to keep the momentum going. We see a future with a Board Voice Lead in every community helping to mobilize the voice of the passionate volunteer.
The board will continue to pursue the strategic objective of improving governance, through technology and through initiatives like the one organized recently through Board Voice in Ft. St. John, where boards from around the region were brought together for a workshop presented by Vantage Point and Board Voice on cutting edge governance and local community organizing. Funds for this workshop were sourced locally by one of our member agencies. (The linkages between economic development and social development are very clear in Ft. St. John.)
Our board hopes to create more capacity at all levels through attracting more members to our cause and we will call on all current members to help us in this. We have decided to develop a new category called Friends of Board Voice through which organizations and individuals who share the vision of Board Voice, but are not eligible to join, can show support and be connected to our work.
We see Board Voice as continuing to be a decentralized, grass roots organization, where our work and our initiatives evolve organically as local leaders emerge and with support, find ways to engage other community partners. Provincially, Board Voice will continue to advocate with government on key issues as they arise and will continue to press for improvements to service development and funding.
This was a high energy two days for the board. Considering a better future for B.C. is something we can all get behind. The work of all of us in Board Voice now is to bring our dreams into reality.