It has been an exciting summer beginning with the appointment of our new executive coordinator Christine Thomas on June 1. Former EC Doug Hayman, has continued to assist the board over the transition period and is coordinating what we think will be a great conference this year. Thank you Doug.
We submitted a funding proposal to the Vancouver Foundation which would allow BV to coordinate province-wide community conversations on what a more integrated approach to social policy and service delivery might mean for communities. This proposal was supported by the BC Association of Social Workers, the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, Family Services of Greater Vancouver, the Surrey Board of Trade and the Victoria Community Social Planning Council. We were asked to submit a more detailed proposal for the 2nd round of the funding process and hope to be able to bring this conversation alive in your communities next year.
I presented the concept of a Social Policy Framework to the Policy and Advocacy Committee of the Public Health Association of BC and were well received. The PHABC may become an important new ally in this advocacy effort, which will only succeed though the combined efforts of many like organizations, including all our members.
BV Vice-Chair Leslie Welin and corporate secretary Rick Marshall met with the ADM of Health for Population and Public Health to discuss joint interests. She was enthusiastic about a social policy framework and spoke of setting up a meeting of the cross-ministries ADMs committee to present on the concept. We are following up with her this month.
I also presented to Vancouver City Council on the Healthy City Strategy and the need for cohesive, effective provincial support. I had a follow up meeting with Vancouver’s Chief Social Planner Mary Clare Zack to discuss how we can work together to encourage a provincial social policy framework.
In June, we introduced the concept of the BC Social Reports to provide an annual focal point for a province-wide discussion on social issues and policy. We held a meeting of the working group on June 18 to draft goals, and selection criteria for the measures we would cover in the first report. A survey is now available for comment and input on draft documents here.
The next steps are to produce a mock up website, develop a selection criteria matrix and present to the working group and interested parties for input. We are aiming for a launch of the first BC Social Report in the second quarter of 2016.
Following a discussion about the BC Social Reports concept with Tim Beachy, I was invited to attend an initial meeting to discuss an open data strategy for BC’s non-profit sector. This is a very exciting, big-picture concept. We will see if there is the interest and energy to move it forward and how Board Voice might play a role in this development.
In July, we looked at the mandate letters that are sent to the BC Ministers from Premier Christy Clark. These letters, along with BC Liberal Party policy, throne speeches and budgets lay out the implicit social agenda of this government and raise many interesting questions.
We are once again partnering with the SFU School of Public Policy on a research project to examine some of those questions:
- What is the overall social policy direction implied by the letters?
- What thematic statements and principles might ascribe to the goals and threads as laid out? Can we describe aspects of an implicit framework?
- Have citizens had any opportunity to inform that social direction?
- Have the goals of the first two sets of mandate letters been met?
- Have they been reported out?
- Is it possible to understand progress related to the letters by reading the Ministries’ Plans and Annual reports?
- In many of these letters, specific inter-ministerial initiatives are mentioned. Were these initiatives undertaken? Are there any reports available describing the outcomes of these initiatives?
- Could a more cohesive and structured approach like a SPF deliver better value to the taxpayer—and better outcomes for those in need of assistance?
We have also been exploring the interesting concept of ‘Social Procurement’ and its potential ramifications on community benefit organizations. Sandra Hamilton has many interesting things to say on Social Procurement.
ALERT! We are well into developing the program for the Board Voice 2015 Annual Conference. Save the dates: November 27 & 28. The conference this year will be in downtown Vancouver at the Coast Plaza Hotel on Denman. Some of the confirmed speakers include Dave Hancock, the former Interim Premier of Alberta and the political champion of the Alberta Social Policy Framework, Dr. Trevor Hancock from the School of Public Health and Social Policy at University of Victoria and Mark Sieben, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Exciting workshops on governance and Aboriginal relations are also on tap. So Save the date and stay tuned. Registration material will be out to you within the next few weeks.
See you in November!