A new look for Southwark Voice

A new look for Southwark Voice

We are proposing to change the way in which Southwark Voice works.

If you are unfamilar with Southwark Voice, its purpose has been to bring together the representatives from the Southwark voluntary and community sector to speak authoritatively on behalf of the whole sector and lobby for change. It has provided a coordinating and steering role and meets with local government representatives to identify creative solutions.

Southwark Voice, in its current format, has existed for four years and now is the right time for reform. Significant changes have and continue to take place in local Government and in other structures. Looking to the future, it’s important that Southwark Voice responds to the changing environment to retain and build on its effectiveness with the local community and decision makers. 

Over the course of the last year Community Southwark, in partnership with local voluntary and community organisations, has established a number of provider led groups and networks around specific themes and interests. This has provided a useful platform for organisations of all sizes to network, share ideas and hear and influence policy. The majority of the groups have a chair or lead and it seems logical to use their knowledge and expertise to have a wider positive impact. The proposal, therefore, is that the chairs or lead from each of the groups or networks is allocated a seat on the reformed Southwark Voice. We recognise that the groups and networks do not cover all aspects of the diverse nature of the voluntary sector and wider non formal community interests. Our solution to ensure that Southwark Voice is inclusive of the whole sector is to have elected representatives to speak up for other interests. The table below shows how this will work in practice. Each area of interest will have at least one reserved elected seat match those allocated to the established groups or networks.

We will request representative nominations from the whole sector. In doing this we will ask potential nominees to outline their knowledge and expertise and what one issue they will champion for their respective sector (a manifesto if you like). We will want to make it very clear in the application process that those who apply will need to demonstrate that they are part of a structure or network that allows them to take on board the views of constituents as well as provide feedback on their learning.

Community Southwark will then administer the election (if demand exceeds the number of available places) and provide secretariat for Southwark Voice.

We hope to be in a position to announce the members of the new look Southwark Voice later in the summer.  As with any reform we will monitor and review the effectiveness of the new Voice and suggest any changes to the model that might become necessary.

We believe that this reform of Southwark Voice will better represent the interests of a wider range of local residents and we hope that you will endorse this proposal. We are interested in taking into account any views that you have about how we can improve on the proposed structure. If you have any questions or have any views please call 020 7358 7017 or email Steve by 9th June 2017.