Creating stronger and more sustainable community social services

Our plan for the 2018 Social Policy Forum

The past five months have been busy at The Federation. The NDP government’s focus on social issues like poverty and childcare means there are many opportunities for The Federation to engage with decision makers. And we’ve been doing just that.

In meetings and consultations and committees we have been making very clear the impact that BC’s community social services sector has on the well-being of British Columbians and the important role we can play in helping the government act on its promise to ensure that all British Columbians have access to the services they need.

We’ve been creating dialogue about the key issues affecting our sector and we’ve been acting on opportunities to address decades of severe underfunding.

Another such opportunity will be The Federation’s annual Social Policy Forum. This year, we’re bringing together Federation members, sector partners, and the government to create a plan for improving the strength and sustainability of BC’s community social services sector. This event will bring together stakeholders, create space for learning and dialogue, and model the type of collaborative approaches that are needed to address the issues we’re facing.

Learning, Dialogue, Action

Following a short—but important—General Meeting for Federation members, Day One of the Social Policy Forum will be dedicated to learning and networking. We’re lining up a speakers list of subject matter experts, politicians, and thought leaders. Their presentations will both inform the work that will take place on Day Two and give you ideas and inspiration to take back to your communities.

Day Two will bring everyone back together for a day of dialogue, design, and problem-solving. Facilitators will guide working groups as they create plans for addressing some of the most pressing issues our sector is facing: coordination, supervision, training, attraction, retention, and inclusivity.

We’re excited to confirm that Finance Minister Carole James and Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson will join us and take part in the planning and dialogue. (And we’re waiting for confirmation from other government leaders who have been invited to participate.)

With so much at stake, we want to take advantage of this opportunity. That’s why participants should be prepared to do some thinking (and working) ahead of time. When you register for the Social Policy Forum, you’ll be asked to select a working group for Day Two.

Each group will be dedicated to one of four issues affecting the sector (see the image above). The Federation staff team and our group of facilitators (made up of Leadership 2020 alumni) will provide each group with resources and information to help you prepare.

After the event, those resources will be combined with the notes and ideas from each group and turned into a summary report which will be shared with participants and used by The Federation’s Board of Directors to determine next steps.

Altogether better

We’re focusing on issues that we believe are important to each of you, regardless of the services you provide. And we’re hoping for a diverse range perspectives and experiences in each group. As such, I encourage you to share this invite with anyone in your network who would want to be (or should be) a part of this work.

Our goal is to create a vision for the future and a plan that is thoughtful and nuanced and reflective of the diversity and complexity inherent in our sector. This is an opportunity for government, allies, and community organizations to come together and begin the work of following through on that promise of improving service delivery in BC.

More details, registration, and accommodation info can be found on our website. I encourage you to register soon and look forward to seeing you in Victoria.

Rick FitzZaland
Federation Executive Director