THE LOCAL LINk has produced its Annual Report (in draft format until approved by its membership) describing its activities over the last 12 months.
It spent nearly £32,000 over the year and has a membership of 405 consisting of 370 individuals and 35 voluntary and community organisations.
The organisation has 18 people playing the role of representative on a range of East Riding strategic partnerships and groups which provide an opportunity for community views to be fed into the decision-making process. The process of securing these representative positions and agreeing formal working relationships with partners has been continuous throughout the year.
The vast bulk of its work in holding health and social care providers to account was carried out by the 21 volunteers who sit as members of the LINk Lead Group and sub-groups. The work of the sub-groups is outlined in the Annual Report.
One hint of controversy in the Annual Report was the perceived “lack of meaningful support” from those at a regional and national level who are paid to offer this support.
Ruth Marsden, the LINk Chair, expresses the following view in the report:
…the lack of meaningful support, regionally and nationally, from staff designated and paid to provide this is most disappointing. It is galling to volunteers, giving of their considerable expertise and experience for free with only expenses defrayed, to see money used in this way. ERYLINk is not alone in feeling that it could make better use of such funds within its own workplan. The lack of ownership and lack of continuity in this so-called ‘support’ demands immediate attention. The very ‘connectivity’ at the heart of the LINks’ model as envisaged by the Department of Health has failed to be manifest from the Department of Health itself.”
The ERY LINk is supported locally in the East Riding by the Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council which is a respected voluntary sector organisation. There is no suggestion in the Annual Report of any criticism of this local support.
For the LINk to really work it needs to have ‘clout’ at a local level to effectively influence health and social care services. Perhaps more formal support from Government at a regional and national level would have eased and speeded up the process of partnership building and community representation at the local level?
See a Scribd copy of the ERY LINk Annual Report (Draft) below: