The Think Tanks were established as part of the Supporting Voluntary Action (SVA) programme. Its remit was “to develop a shared vision, purpose and direction for the voluntary sector support infrastructure in Scotland”. There was a ‘Local Infrastructure Think Tank’ and a ‘Better Collaborations Think Tank’. The former was composed of CVS & VC senior staff members and the latter by senior staff from across national specialist intermediaries that are active across Scotland.
There was an Away Day for the wider Third Sector in Hampden Park, Glasgow on the 24th of May 2009 that had approximately 100 participants which allowed them to feed into the discussions that the Think Tanks were undertaking. The Shaping the Future – Summary Report and video clips from the event can be viewed under Think Tanks on our information library.
To this end, the 24 Think Tank participants attended three residential meetings and worked together to produce the final report, “A Framework for the Future” which can be found on our reports page in the information library. This report was launched at the inaugural ‘Inspiring Change’ joint CVS and VC conference on the 7th of October 2009.
The final report is the culmination of a one year long investigation into the challenges that are facing organisations that work across the local and national Third Sector Infrastructure. Whilst the work of the Think Tanks has been completed the “implementation of change needs to be taken up by all involved in the Third Sector support infrastructure in Scotland and supported by the key stakeholders who influence and are involved in it.”
Key elements of the findings from the Think Tanks have been used to inform other areas of the SVA programme. One idea, explained more fully in ‘A Framework for the Future’ proposes a portal which makes communication more effective and efficient between local TSIs and National Intermediary organisations. It was not possible to truly integrate this into the first development phase of Milo, however there is the potential to do this in the future. The Leading in Change project encouraged the emerging interface organisations and arrangements reflect changes in structure and organisation as local groups representing volunteering, voluntary action and a more enterprising sector respond to the government’s challenge to align to provide a single interface with Community Planning Partnerships. These emerging arrangements and organisations were assisted to develop strategic and business planning processes which encourage the development of the key ideas of the Think Tanks at a local level. These ideas were reflected in the first TSI Business Plans to be presented to and approved by Scottish Government.
Currently the national infrastructure organisations such as SCVO, VDS, VAS and the Scottish Coalition for Social Enterprise are all looking at ways of supporting their member organisations to realise the ambitions of the Think Tanks and to making a number of the findings happen.
Ian Hood of Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, a Think Tank participant, has written an article that can be downloaded here.